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 🙂
- Genre Love. 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 first 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. “Just call me Agatha Christie!” you cry out to loved ones, as you skip over to Writing Corner. Sigh!
- Denial. As you start work on your second (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!” 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…
- Turmoil. 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* On your blog you enjoy writing light-hearted romance stories so why in Writing Corner are you forcing yourself to write serious thrillers? *Sharp intake of breath* 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*
- Sign. There is a development on the writing front. At first you don’t see it as a sign but it is! 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! 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.
- Hope. 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!