In a super secret hideaway…
Known only to the IWSG leaders, they ponder and debate on how can they challenge those wordsmiths. A suggestion is made, “Hey, Why don’t we ask insecure writers to write about what they can’t write about and get them to do that in public?” A resounding cheer goes about the room while echoes of “Sounds like a plan!” and “Let’s do it!” bounce off the 6-foot protective concrete. And thus, we have our September 2022, IWSG blog challenge question.
What genre would be the worst one for you to tackle and why?
It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it is the posting day for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!
When I started writing my novel, I knew it was in the genre of murder mystery detective and did not give much thought to any other genres. The story was in my head and just flowing onto the page. It was just there and wanting to get out. To be perfectly honest, it is the genre that my wife likes to read and I thought it would be a kick to write something for her to enjoy. I was between jobs and had the time to sit and write every day without interruption and was having a ton of fun doing it.
Fifteen years and three or so contracts later and I’ve decided to get back to that story and finish it. Not only that but to write another and another and another and keep doing that until I type my very final The End. With that commitment, and with the belief that I can do that, I have given thought to genres.
Is murder mystery the genre I want to write in forever?
While doing my self-paced training, growing my craft and skills, and learning about what it takes to be a published writer that, well, makes some money for writing, the topic of the genre is discussed. Not so much as to which genre, but potentially as a writer getting boxed into a genre. If a writer gains popularity in one genre and builds up a following and then writes in another genre, will they turn readers off and will they lose their audience?
With this scary thought in mind, I have burned out numerous gray cells that will never come back, wondering if murder mystery is the genre that I would want to get boxed into. And to the heart of the IWSG question, what other genres would I even want to write in? And which genres should I not write for?
How about Non-Fiction?
Non-fiction writing I can do. Technical, marketing, marketing of technical, strategy, and so on. I do this today, but for a limited audience that just happens to have me on a retainer to write on demand. A job. I could write non-fiction for publication, but that, I think would just be more like work and not as much fun as fiction. (CYA note for those that know me at my day job: This is not to say that I don’t have fun doing what I do, but it is not the same kind of fun that writing fiction is).
In exploring other genres, I’ve not been able to nail those down for myself either. But this IWSG question is reversing the perspective. Instead of thinking about what I could write in, what genres would I avoid? Or should I avoid?
This is about where common sense writer logic gets tossed out the window and gut feelings and emotion begin to kick in. One of the books on writing describes writing as the process of putting familiar people and their relationships in nonfamiliar settings that generate conflict. Very paraphrased for my purpose here, but if that is true, then the genre is part and parcel of the setting. If, as I believe in myself, I can write well-rounded characters that interact in interesting ways, then the setting should be mostly mechanical to write, right?
Ok, so Science Fiction and Fantasy then…
Sci-Fi and fantasy should be easy then. Put a well-rounded character into a pointy hat and give him a laser and we are good to go. Well, that one sentence there should tell you that I should not write fantasy or science fiction. While I certainly enjoy the genre, I cannot picture myself having the creative juices to create those fantastic worlds. I would get so caught up in creating their universe, that I would not give the attention where it needs to be. The people, the relationships, the story.
My current novel has some science fiction in it, but that is only because it is slightly in the future and there is a need for some technologies to have evolved, but it is not by definition science fiction.
I think that I could write romance and paranormal, maybe even a story about vampires and werewolves competing for the affection of a regular human. That could work as a story. Nah, no one would buy it.
Just write. Tell the story.
I’ve considered many other genres, but none of them stand out to me one way or another and I would think if a story strikes me that happens to fit into or turn into another genre, I would just write the story and see where it takes me. Let the story itself fall into a genre of its own accord and not start out writing for a specific genre. That said, I think I can safely and firmly believe that none of them will ever truly be fantasy or science fiction; which is good for the readers.
As for alienating audiences by writing in different genres. I’ll just have to see how that turns out. At the end of the day, I write for my enjoyment and I sincerely hope that others will enjoy what I’ve written. Maybe there will be some remuneration along the way, at least enough to pay for the services that I will need, editors, cover artists, website, and so on.
I am looking forward to hopping through the blogs this time. Especially interested in reading what accomplished and published writers have to share.
Am I caught up in the fantasy of being a writer? Will the world come along at some point and slap me upside the head with a different dose of reality?
Time will tell.
Feel free to comment below and please take a few minutes to visit the other brave IWSG members as they step up for this month’s devious question.
Good point. I’ve never made a list of pros or cons on choosing a genre. One day it occurred to me that I’m ready to write a children’s book. Having grandchildren might have had something to do with that. But mostly I’m a suspense writer. It’s such a contrast to my simple quiet life. Here’s to hoping reality doesn’t sneak in. Hi Douglas. I’m #81 on your list.
Hi, Douglas! I, too write for my own enjoyment, and I go where the story takes me. I don’t like to get boxed into a genre. I write a lot of nonfiction, and yours is the first post where I’ve seen it mentioned as a genre. Romance, closely followed by horror are the hardest for me to write, which means I don’t write them. Have a good IWSG Day!
Hi Myrtle, Thanks for dropping in. I was hoping to pop into your blog but I’m not finding a link to it.
I guess I just lumped anything non-fiction together into one category; I’ll claim efficiency and stick with that as my excuse.
A romance novel from me, I feel, would be ultra corny and unrealistic and probably turn into a horror to read.
I write for my own enjoyment, mostly, but I have been occasionally asked to try new things, and when I do, it’s often more fun than I expected it to be. Most of what I write, though, is for my own enjoyment. I tried poetry because a teacher encouraged me to give it my all when I was dragging my feet, and I found out I loved it. I have been making up songs since… well, since I could talk. I have been imagining fantasy and science fiction worlds for almost as long because one of my first books was full of fairy tales and I was exposed to science fiction early, so imagining space flight, rocket boots, or flying to Neverland has been a part of the stories I tell myself since age 4 or 5.
I get what you mean, though. I have a hard time with certain genres. I’m pretty sure I will not likely write any thrillers or true crime, or erotica. I’m 95% certain those are out, but will I feel that way ten years from now?
Because I used to be an IWSG volunteer admin, I found your description of that meeting especially funny. 🙂