I stormed into the throne room, my head high. A fiction writer who would not be cowed by the power around me. I would not bow to the wishes of the King of Genre. All the important people in the world of publishing met within these walls. Agents, editors, copywriters, pub boards, marketers. The people with the knowledge and experience to declare my stories acceptable. . .or not. My gaze traveled across the glittering crowd milling around the royal couple’s thrones.
The king beckoned me forward. “I have decreed that no author shall change genre.”
His regal queen nodded agreement and the loyal subjects expressed their approval.
My voice rose above the growing noise. “The publishing world has changed dramatically since your reign began. Everything is different now, including the genre rule.”
His forehead creased beneath his golden crown. “I still hold the power. If I say you must not, it shall be so.” He raised an arm and swept it in a wide arc. “Bow to me or none of my subjects will consider your work.”
“Others will, though.” Faith kept my shoulders straight.
“Who would dare?”
The king leaned back and laughed. His subjects echoed the false merriment, either fearful of or obedient to his whims. But there were gaps in the sound. Were some of them beginning to break free? Did I have allies inside the castle? Not likely.
I might be the only one but I had to persevere. “I wrote in the original genre because I was writing to the market. Your orders, your rules. I enjoyed the act of creating characters and scenes. But something was missing. After I finished each book and sent it to become part of the world, I felt empty.”
“It matters not.” The queen interrupted my explanation, a sneer distorting her full lips. “You are the writer. Your job is to supply this court according to our demands.”
I ignored her words, determined to explain my position. “I enjoy more than one genre, and I believe most readers feel the same way.”
The king and queen exchanged a glance I couldn’t interpret before he answered my statement. “Other writers will fill their needs.”
“I want to join those other writers and I don’t care what it takes. I’m willing to risk everything.”
Derisive taunts filled the air, rising until the king banged his scepter on the stone floor. When silence descended once more, he returned his attention to me. “You are banished from this kingdom. My subjects will no longer consider your work.”
“I’ll seek new avenues.” I turned my back and ignored the disdainful faces around me as I moved toward the exit.
“You will fail.” A hint of desperation sounded in the king’s voice.
I shrugged but continued moving away from him. “At least I will have tried.”