Like so many things in and related to writing, genre is a very slippery. It is necessary for marketing. If anything it should help to describe the category the writing falls in. But it can be a murky description at the same time.
I tend to say my writing is science fiction and urban fantasy. I have to pick at least one genre. Both make me comfortable and I think they give a somewhat good idea of the elements in my stories. I have read quite a bit science fiction over the years. Perhaps not as much fantasy, but it seems to me that is wasn’t as accessible to me. I don’t know why that it is. Perhaps I will make up for it sooner or later…
I do use the standard space ships and other technology in my stories. It’s background and props for the characters to use. The urban fantasy is because of the wide variety of the characters who live in my universe. Yes, there are humans, but they are not the only ones. There are also vampires, were creatures, nymphs, elves, fairies, dragons, merfolks, dragons, centaurs… The list go could on and on if I’m not careful. The setting is in cities and countrysides in different time periods.
I’ve also read lots of Victorian literature, which I tend to refer to as Victorian Romances. Mainly those written by Louisa May Alcott and Jane Austen. Granted those women never got married, but they were observing everyone around them. They have let us see how marriage and romance was viewed in their time period. They focused more on the psychological aspects, but it is still a big part of romance. That does come out in my stories. I find myself making notes on who has children because the genetic lines are important as I am creating a whole universe. People just don’t come out of nowhere. They come from other people. And genes can do funny things. All those different people living in my universe don’t always know they may have were creature genes because they don’t always have another physical form.
Even though there is romance, I don’t want to use the Romance genre because what I write tends to be more psychological rather than graphic physical descriptions. I know there is Magical Realism as a genre. My characters do talk about magic and some of them do use it. They say it’s not an exact science and it may not work the way you think it should. But I may not claim that genre in addition to the ones I typically use. Is two genres enough?
My main focus when I write is on the characters themselves. What they think, feel, and do. Not all of them have romance in their lives. Some have to deal with prejudice hurled at them. Or they are the ones with the prejudice. In some stories, I have two characters that have similar genetics, but different personalities. I’m just using the contrast to make a point.
I try to use genre as a category and not be murky about it. I can’t guarantee there won’t be mystery in my stories. I may not use all the genre rules, but I focus more on the stories. I try to keep them true to themselves. So, if any rules get in the way, they will be broken. Genre can be a tool when I’m drafting a story. But genre is never everything when I’m writing.