Admitting You Are Writing In The Wrong Genre #SundayBlogShare #writers

 

When you start out as a writer you don’t get assigned a literary genre. It is not like Harry Potter where an enchanted hat is placed on your head and decides which literary genre team you should be in.

Finding the genre that you are most comfortable with is just one of the many crazy fun things you go through when you become a writer. My goodness there is so much to find out about yourself with this writing lark!

I believe every writer has a genre that feels like home to them. It is the one that they feel most comfortable writing in. Yes they may write stuff from other genres but their go-to genre is the one that holds a special place in their writer heart and is the one they are naturally drawn to.

Sometimes we start our literary journey thinking we have found our go-to genre and then our feelings start to change…

There are 5 stages to admitting you are writing in the wrong genre:

For noting I have based my analysis on someone I know very well πŸ™‚

  1. Genre Love.Β You have much love for your chosen literary genre – (serious) thriller. When people ask you about the stuff you write you can’t help but gush about how you write thrillers, how you adore writing (serious) stories where the reader is kept on the edge of their seats and how you are big on stimulating reader feelings of suspense and terror. It’s all honky dory for you as you start your second (serious) thriller. The firstΒ thriller story that you wrote didn’t work out and that painful episode of your life has been buried at the back of your mind. As you think about your second project you get a rush of literary joy.Β “Just call me Agatha Christie!” you cry out to loved ones, as you skip over to Writing Corner. Sigh!
  2. Denial.Β As you start work on your secondΒ (serious) psychological thriller you quickly enter into the denial phase. This shows itself in a number of ways. Whilst you are supposedly working on your thriller you find yourself daydreaming and thinking about stories from another genre. You quickly reassure yourself, this is nothing to worry about and is just a sign that you have a busy mind. After a strong word with your creative self you get back to writing your thriller. As you write you find yourself saying things like “this dark scene needs brightening up with some humour” and “that character is desperate for a love interest…let me spend a couple of chapters developing this!” Β Once again you have to reassure yourself. All serious thrillers have a light sprinkling of comedy and there are some that are based entirely around two characters falling in love….yes…none spring to mind..ok… quickly move on…
  3. Turmoil.Β  You have written a quarter of your psychological thriller and your ideas have dried up. Time spent in Writing Corner is no longer enjoyable. Even telling people you write (serious) thrillers has lost its appeal. You feel like you are hiding something from yourself but you don’t know what it is. After an emotional breakdown (whilst washing up), a hug from your loved one, a couple of emails to some long-suffering writer friends you finally sit down to work out what is going on inside your head. Yes – you label yourself as a thriller writer but is that where your writer heart really is? *Gasp* Β On your blog you enjoy writing light-hearted romance stories so why in Writing Corner are you forcing yourself to write serious thrillers? Β *Sharp intake of breath* Β Why did your first thriller fail? Oh yes – it didn’t work out because you started to hate it and did not pay it enough attention because you were busy writing a romantic comedy blog series. *reach for slab of chocolate*
  4. Sign.Β There is a development on the writing front. At first you don’t see it as a sign but it is! Β Your romantic comedy story is given some recognition on a writing platform. This development sends you into a fluster and the penny drops! You have been hiding something from yourself – your go-to genre is not thriller! Β Your go-to genre is….romantic comedy / ChickLit. Yes! Cue your squeal and celebratory forward roll in the living room! Loved ones take a sharp intake of breath as you knock over a few ornaments.
  5. Hope.Β  There is hope. You start writing a new story from your go-to genre. All the problems that you experienced with your (serious) thrillers disappear. You are focused, your characters are not doing odd things, you are happy and there is no shortage of ideas. You don’t feel like you are hiding anything from yourself anymore. Maybe in the future you will go back to writing thrillers but for the time being you are feel like you have found your true home.

I am not the only writer to go through this. Check out this article where Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train, talks about how she went through something similar. Click here.

I would be keen to hear any of your experiences so please share if you have been through anything similar.

Have a fabulous day!

 

Photo: Unsplash

 

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I am a blonde writer of romantic comedy fiction.

91 thoughts on “Admitting You Are Writing In The Wrong Genre #SundayBlogShare #writers

  1. So true! I started out thinking I wanted to write literary novels, then suspense. Not until I wrote my first YA novel did I discover my true writing “home”–that was a great way to put it.

      1. I’m toying with children’s books, chuck (pea curry) lit, rom com…. then I get told I write write thriller well, though I’m not into it!
        One day I’ll find my home!!!

  2. No matter what I start to write it comes back to one man, one woman, and perhaps another on the side. Romantic comedy/chick-lit seems to me your thing Lucy, you are damn good at it!

  3. I’m undecided, I thought about a racy storyline for a book that I began to write, but all those fears reared their heads. Who would want to read that? Will they think it’s about me etc… So meanwhile I kept writing poetry and nonsense. That is my current genre. Poetry and Nonsense. It may change later into something else, who knows.

  4. Thanks so much for writing this, Sasha and getting me thinking. I fiddle round with a numberv of genres. I’ve been writing poetry since high school fairly intensely as well as journals. I put quite a lot of effort into writing kids books but they really require minimal text and I’ve since switched to writing for adults. I am working towards writing adult motivational memoirs. Not the sugar-coated version but something grappling with the hard questions etc. At the same time, I also write a bit of humour/comedy…and food writing. I guess I’m still finding my voice. Or, that I just love writing about everything. That could very well be the case.
    xx Rowena

  5. I enjoy writing and researching about social issues. I wrote it into literary fiction…which nobody wants to read anymore. I’m trying to write it into crime romps…which I enjoy reading We’ll see how this goes. For me, the problem is how fiction is sold. Genre fiction sells.

  6. I love religious or supernatural thrillers, I read lots of horror and I have a lot of love for detective stories set in Victorian London…but my writing falls into Gothic horror short stories, Westerns or dark fantasy!! It’s kind of annoying when you don’t write what you read. I’m like a Ravenclaw put in Gryffindor.

  7. This is so me, only I love writing my first mystery. It wasn’t until I started querying the first mystery while writing its sequel that things started to fall apart. I knew I was struggling. I was playing around with other ideas, started writing a romance which was a million times easier to write. I jumped from that straight to a YA idea that once again for as challenging as it could be sometimes, I loved figuring out. I cared about the characters and the story.

    But I didn’t know how bad the mystery writing was for me until I got an offer from an agent. I panicked and couldn’t explain why. Not to my mystery writing friends at least. Luckily the agent totally understood, which she doesn’t represent YA, but she was so supportive of me writing what I wanted to write and not what I thought I should. And the change has been everything.

  8. “Hi, I’m Lucy and I write romcom.”
    “Hi, I’m Tracey and I can’t write fiction longer than 1000 words.”
    I feel like you could write this scene, complete with an intervention, into your writer’s club.
    Just as long as we don’t have to give up chocolate and wine too. *sigh
    Cheers

  9. This post opened my eyes in a number of ways. I enjoy reading and watching thrillers and have written several short stories of that genre. Unfortunately, I’ve half-written several more, eventually setting each aside “to focus on other things.” I don’t usually read or watch stories of the paranormal but I’ve enjoyed a few, and on the relatively rare occasion where a story idea of that genre came to mind the whole story quickly flowed out of me. They often involved love though I don’t think they are primarily romance. Writing them felt pleasurable and natural, and it just occurred to me that I’ve never left any of them half-written. In the last few days I’d begun to have a gnawing empty feeling regarding writing and your post is the catalyst that just led me to the decision to begin to focus on writing paranormal stories that often involve love.

    Thank you for helping me to change boats for the next part of my adventure navigating the Creative River. I can’t wait to see what is around the next bend!

    I’m re-blogging your post so others may also be able to gain from reading it.

    Russ

  10. Reblogged this on A Grateful Man and commented:
    This post opened my eyes in a number of ways. I enjoy reading and watching thrillers and have written several short stories of that genre. Unfortunately, I’ve half-written several more, eventually setting each aside “to focus on other things.” I don’t usually read or watch stories of the paranormal but I’ve enjoyed a few, and on the relatively rare occasion where a story idea of that genre came to mind the whole story quickly flowed out of me. They often involved love though I don’t think they are primarily romance. Writing them felt pleasurable and natural, and it just occurred to me that I’ve never left any of them half-written. In the last few days I’d begun to have a gnawing empty feeling regarding writing and your post is the catalyst that just led me to the decision to begin to focus on writing paranormal stories that often involve love.

    I’m changing boats for the next part of my adventure navigating the Creative River. I can’t wait to see what is around the next bend!

    With love,
    Russ

  11. Yes, we had this conversation at the Bash! I think I know which writer you’re referring to… πŸ˜‰ As you know, I’m pretty much stuck in fantasy land, but I do dance around the sub genres, dabbling in vampires and the like. However – a historical novel is building in my head, so that will be interesting to see how that goes, stepping out of genre.

  12. I felt like this when I started writing. In college, I had all these ideas for stories. I wanted to do a Christian piece because I started getting involved with a church group in college. I tried it, but learned it didn’t fit me. I also tried my hand at romance, but that didn’t work either. I gave up on it because I got more negative than positive feedback. So, I decided to try literary fiction. I discovered I was good at it. So, that’s my go-to genre. But lately, with all this talk of trying other genres, I’m thinking about trying a new one just to see if it suits me. But if it doesn’t, I won’t look at it as a complete failure.

  13. I think writers grow sideways and progress all the time. I do know what you mean by this – I found, when I tried to write a ‘light summer read’ that even my ‘light’ novels are too serious for, say, the readers of light romance and chick lit. I just can’t help going into deep psychological exploration. I found in my last but one that I’m getting darker all the time – and in my WIP I discovered I was enjoying writing the suspense filled criminal bits the best. I think that perhaps, after 11 published novels and 8 unpublished, I’m just kinda done with family/love relationships πŸ˜‰ You could ask me about this in forthcoming interview, ha ha!!!

    Something else I’ve noticed when reading/reviewing is writers taking a story that would be better as, for instance, more serious fiction and trying to shoe-horn it into chick lit; writing it more superficially than it deserves. Maybe because that genre sells better, I dunno!

  14. I too have grappled with the genre issue, starting with chippy chic-lit but finding myself much more at home when I darkened my story and took it down a psychological suspense road. It’s all part of the learning experience, I guess – and also important to remember that we don’t need to pigeon-hole ourselves. This writing stuff is supposed to be… FUN… after all! πŸ™‚

  15. Oh yes, I’m still trying to figure out which genre I’m good at. I seem to range from fantasy, dark, to comedy.
    What will your new romance-comedy novel be about? I’m excited to read it. πŸ™‚

  16. I don’t know what genre is truly my home. I’m still trying on labels, but none of them quite fit. I know it’s important to be able to categorize my work for ease of sale, and I’d be glad to find the right one. I think I need a genre intervention!

  17. I’ve been writing in dark fantasy and horror for a couple of years, and I recently finished my first science fiction adventure. It was a valuable learning experience, but it was painful to finish and I swore never to venture outside my genre of choice again.
    Then I had an idea for the sequel. *SIGH* If this becomes my new genre of choice, I hope to hell it gets easier to write.

  18. See my comment from last year lol! I still love my Chick Pea curry lit but I have realised that I could stretch out into other genres if I wanted!!!

  19. Now I really wish we did have a Sorting Hat for genres. I can just picture it: “Let me see, yes you’re definitely a contemporary-fiction-writing-Hufflepuff!” Then over to your table where everyone ignores the Hogwarts feast as they’re too busy jotting down story ideas.

  20. The 4 novels in my head (that I didn’t write yet) are non-genre at the moment! I’m still an infant at this malarky πŸ˜‚. But having great fun learning from everyone in the blogosphere!

  21. This is interesting (and funny) as someone who is about to approach writing her first book, I’m still not sure what my genre is. I’m hoping it will come to me as I write! I’m sure I’ll go through these stages!

  22. I’m a thought-provoking blogger writing stuff we are all thinking about and trying to figure out. However, I’ve been asked to write full length articles lately. At times, I struggle with expanding my neat little blogs without losing the poignancy of the point I was making in the shorter version. I also find myself writing memoirs and people are loving the stories so I’m trying to expand on that. So, who am I, what do I enjoy writing about, is the audience response my driving force or is it my voice that matters most? Stuff I think about……. always a work in progress!! Thank you for this post. It helped put some of this in perspective for me. Diane

  23. It’s a hard thing to admit when the genre you thought you were writing in isn’t working for your story. The story I’m working on right now has evolved so much and it started out as kind of a crime thriller and has changed to something deeper and more meaningful. I’m not sure what genre it is, but when I’m done I feel it’ll speak for itself. πŸ™‚ If that makes any sense! LOL! πŸ™‚

  24. I feel like the odd person out… eek. I have the reverse issue. I write what I like writing and then look at it after thinking what genre is this? Often it crosses genres, but since I’m not really into labelling per se; that doesn’t really bother me too much. Or didn’t until that publishing thing cropped up. Kinda important to know what your flipping genre is yes?

    On the flip side I did chuckle reading this as I recall starting trying to “fit” a genre way back and ended up stuck as it kept flipping out into other ones until I said “Stuff this” just write!!!

      1. In my humble opinion, based on how I write of course, genre crossing is part of the creativity. I hate boundaries and “rules” as such. If my characters want to walk in a direction I don’t want a mental wall blocking their path. When I was overthinking genre fitting I hit a brick wall and was way to conscious of wandering. It caused me to falter badly so I shelved “convention” and started pantzing; that’s where my voice suddenly got stronger. I know everyone has their own methods, but this one worked for me judging by comments on my blog at least πŸ™‚

  25. Love this, saving this, need this.

    Also, I totally pictured you wearing a purple coat and top hat while doing your celebratory forward roll, Willy Wonka style. Which meant that, out of necessity, that my brain rewrote the previous bit so that you were stumbling about, hunched and weak.

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