Netflix Knows Me Better Than I Know Myself

When I started my first novel, I didn't give much thought to what genre fit my me or my voice. I just had an idea for a story and started writing. So what did I end up with? Well, on the surface, I ended up with a young adult paranormal romance. But if you dug a little further, the story had a mix of a lot of ingredients: comedy, teen drama, romance, dark/borderline horror elements, fantasy (gods/goddesses), and even a hint of commentary on religion.

Whoa. Yeah, tried to do a bit much there. And it showed. Of course, I'm not saying that a book can't do ten different things at once, but probably not the best idea for me to go for all of that in a first novel attempt. What was I thinking?

Well, after signing into my Netflix account this weekend, I found the answer. For those of you who don't have Netflix, when you go to your homepage, Netflix offers lists of movies it thinks you will like based on how you rated other movies. And the categories they list are often very specific. I always get a kick out of them.

So when I saw what came up for me, I realized what had happened in my first book. I had tried to shove everything I'm interested in into one story. And apparently my interests are a bit schizophrenic. Here is what I learned about myself based on the genres Netflix assigned to me:

I like the dark side...
  • Suspenseful Psychological Horror Movies
  • Scary Ghost-Story Thrillers
  • Dark Dramas based on Contemporary Literature
  • Scary Serial Killer Thrillers
I'm a hopeless romantic...
  • Romantic Dramas based on Bestsellers
  • Romantic and Suspenseful Fantasy from the 1980s
I love to laugh...
  • Goofy Opposites Attract Movies
  • Raunchy Teen High School Comedies
  • Slapstick Comedies
I'm oh-so-mature...
  • Romantic High School Movies from 1980s
  • Raunchy Teen High School Comedies
I like to pretend I'm smart...
  • Political Documentaries
  • Mind-Bending Movies
I enjoy a screwed-up backstory...
  • Dysfunctional Family TV Shows
And chicks that kick ass...
  • Movies Featuring a Strong Female Lead

Sounds right to me. Looks like Netflix knows more about me than I realized. So if you're unsure what kind of story you want to write, first evaluate what you like to watch and read. That doesn't necessarily mean your voice and writing strengths will play to all of your interests. For instance, I don't think I'd be very good at writing a political book. But it's somewhere to start.

So for those of you who have Netflix, what genres does it pick for you? And if you don't have it, what do you think would come up? Have you ever tried to do too much with one story? Of all your interests, how did you know what genre would fit your voice and writing strengths best?

**Today's Theme Song**
"Everything To Everyone" - Everclear
(player in sidebar if you'd like a listen)