As an unpublished writer, I have the luxury of experimenting with what I write and how I write it. Recently one morning I woke up with an idea for a story title. I thought it sounded good – if I wrote in that particular genre. And therein lay the problem. Was my subconscious mind trying to tell me something?
For years I have struggled with this. No, I do not write romance, simply because I do not always like to see a happy ending. And right there are two important words – not always. So, sometimes I do like to see happy ever afters. In my teenage years I devoured Sweet Dreams Romance books, was introduced by a friend to Mills & Boon and enjoyed reading Jane Austen so much, back then I wanted to write just like her (yes, seriously). And just for balance I also read a lot of Stephen King (can you see my dilemma now?) 😉 This is why I believed my writing would be more suitable to women’s fiction, and my longest short story so far reflects that as there is no happy ending.
After I left High School, I wrote to Mills & Boon and received submission guidelines and a tape on how to write for them. Try as I might, I just couldn’t do it. I believed I could not write a romance, but perhaps the real problem for me was that they were too formulaic.
Perhaps, also, my greatest resistance to writing a romance is because I always looked at it in terms of the novel. As I enjoy writing in the shorter form and thanks to self-publishing, lately I have some ideas for romances of short story/novella length. It is a starting point to stepping out of my comfort zone and experimenting at the same time. Who knows if it will lead to something or not, but clearly such thoughts have remained repressed for some time. It just needed a little push. 😉
Do you write in different genres? Have you resisted writing a particular genre or are you happy to experiment? Has your subconscious told you something about your own writing and have you acted upon it?
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3 thoughts on “Writing In a Different Genre.”
Offhand I try to let ideas come to me, and not worry too much about what genre they might fall into. That said, I find that I tend to meander between fantasy, realistic fiction, and sometimes a little into suspenseful/thriller horror.
On some level I like to think that if a story is strong, and well executed, genre becomes little more than the garnish, rather than the heart of what makes the story strong. I often think back to how Shakespearean plays have been adapted to children’s stories, high school dramas, corporate dramas, and even a few scifi.
I admit, I definitely prefer stories that feature a world very unlike our own, but at their core the characters are still struggling with the same types of issues, but in the absence of a familiar concrete dilemma, it’s often easier to be objective.
Hi Adam. I’ve often struggled with this issue because in order to be published, authors tend to get ‘pigeon-holed’ and like you, I’ve always just wanted to write whatever idea comes to mind and work such details out later (I guess my mind is going in a slightly different direction of late). I agree that the characters are the heart of the story, no matter the setting. It took me a long time to watch Firefly, for example, because I didn’t like the idea of a ‘space western’, but after watching it, like many others, was completely devastated it was cut so short!
I guess then there’s the question of whether an author can write the stories they want, and then adapt them to the genre(s) that they have credence in? Or appeal to the fans of the genre in which their story is naturally strong? It is very much a question of strategy vs creativity, but that is one of the choices we all face.
Still, I like to think that if the writing is quality, audiences will embrace it, though publishers may not. But, again, I would like to think that a proven author would be trusted, even in an unknown genre. Though that may be naive.
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