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View Full Version : Did you choose your genre or did it choose you?



Rachael7
08-09-2011, 08:41 PM
Did you suddenly wake up one morning and say "Hey, I've got a great idea for a (insert genre here) novel!". Or did you start writing that genre because it's what you like to read? Or are you like me - you put the pen to the paper and started writing, and when it was finished, you had to scramble all over the internet to figure out what genre you had written? ;)

Chris P
08-09-2011, 08:47 PM
For novels I more or less choose the genre, and so far all have been contemporary because that's what I like to read, and also because many of my ideas come from "I wonder what would have happened if . . ."

My shorts are all over the place. Most are contemporary, some are sci-fi, and one is historical.

amyashley
08-09-2011, 09:00 PM
What I write is sort of a cousin of what I read. It's considered the same genre, but it's different stuff. I read a variety of literature, but truly love all fantasy and sci-fi. I knew when I began writing that I wanted to do what I could to push those genres in new directions in different ways and try some original things. I'm not so extreme that my work is unrecognizable, but it's different enough that it isn't comparable to anything I pick out at the book store.

If someone had asked me before I began writing I wouldn't have said this was what would have happened.

If someone had asked a person who knew me well, they probably would have known. They also would have predicted I'd write comedy. This surprised me, but everyone else took it in stride.

quicklime
08-09-2011, 09:00 PM
little of both. When I was younger and totally certain that I posessed an almost unfair amount of sheer awesomeness, I was also certain I was going to be a horror writer.....part because I read horror mostly, and part because the only thing I had more of in me than awesomeness was sheer badassery. (oh yeah, and humility).

Now I write what interests me, and mostly that seems to be people trying to become more than the fuckups they are, and either succeeding or failing and dragging everyone within reach down with them. Now some of that is actually framed within horror, some thriller, and some, God help me, mainstream love story even. I'm finding I write what comes to me, and it usually starts as a theme and then sprouts enough plot to find a genre.

firedrake
08-09-2011, 09:01 PM
I started off writing historical.

The story that's getting published is erotica. It was an accident, honest!

quicklime
08-09-2011, 09:02 PM
I started off writing historical.

The story that's getting published is erotica. It was an accident, honest!


the first hint should have been that you typed the entire thing one-handed.... :tongue

Anne Lyle
08-09-2011, 09:04 PM
I write the kind of books I'd like to read, simple as. And having read a lot of different kinds of fantasy and SF, and several non-fiction books on the genre, it was obvious to me where mine fits in.

firedrake
08-09-2011, 09:05 PM
the first hint should have been that you typed the entire thing one-handed.... :tongue

You dirty-minded bugger. :D

quicklime
08-09-2011, 09:09 PM
never


*searches for "angel" emote, gets bored, surfs pron instead

gothicangel
08-09-2011, 11:45 PM
For eight years I tried to write a crime novel.

It took one trip to the cinema in March to switch to historical thrillers.:tongue

dgiharris
08-10-2011, 01:03 AM
One experiment I did was to write one short story for each genre.

Turns out that I have a talent for a genre that isn't my primary genre.

I recommend everyone try their hand at writing a short in each genre (to include erotica :) ).

Trust me, you'll be surprised at the results

Mel...

backslashbaby
08-10-2011, 01:44 AM
Most of my stuff naturally falls into the edges of a couple of genres. I would read more stuff like that, but there's not a lot of it. I do read the main genres, though, definitely. I just like a bit of a twist on them, if the stories can take it.

It's magical realism, for the most part, so it's kind of nice to be able to call it something. I don't know how much the MR label helps, though, because it's far away from the Latino masters' version of that.

ViolettaVane
08-10-2011, 01:50 AM
Chosen for me. I thought if I'd ever be a writer it would be in science fiction or high fantasy, but I've written an urban fantasy m/m romance. I wanted to collaborate with my co-writer on something that would use both our talents, and that's what we ended up meeting together on. She has lots of background in romance, so that makes up for my lack of familiarity with the genre.

DeadlyAccurate
08-10-2011, 02:14 AM
It chose me. I thought I was a fantasy writer. Turns out I'm more inclined toward dystopian SF assassin fiction (it's a genre if I say it's a genre, damn it!)

Harper K
08-10-2011, 02:27 AM
I thought I was a lit fic writer, and I guess that wasn't entirely off-base, as I do still write lit fic short stories.

But for novels, I wanted to write about this one particular set of characters that had been evolving with me for years. I had written and imagined a lot about their high school years, and a little bit about their college years, but I couldn't get them to age into their 20s. I imagined writing literary novels about them as adults, but they just refused to BE adults.

High school was where their stories were. So that's how I started writing YA.

KathleenD
08-10-2011, 02:44 AM
I read and love science fiction and fantasy, and the novel creeping into the light one chapter at a time is SF.

The novellas I seem to have a knack for writing, or at least for finishing, are all erotic romance/super double plus steamy romance.

I didn't actually read any ER/SDPSR until I finished my first novella and realized I needed to figure out how to sell it. (I had a collection of Victorian erotic writing, but that wasn't the same thing.) Now I dig it.

Mutive
08-10-2011, 03:19 AM
I write what I read the most of. Which is science fiction and fantasy.

I can't imagine trying to write in a genre that I didn't adore. (Although I read everything that comes near me, so maybe that doesn't mean much.)

WriteMinded
08-10-2011, 03:32 AM
Did you suddenly wake up one morning and say "Hey, I've got a great idea for a (insert genre here) novel!". Or did you start writing that genre because it's what you like to read? Or are you like me - you put the pen to the paper and started writing, and when it was finished, you had to scramble all over the internet to figure out what genre you had written? ;)
I had a wonderful and unique never-done-before idea for a story. Enthusiastically, I began banging away at my keyboard. 75,000 words later, I learned the truth. My genre was Paranormal Romance. There have been a few published before. :cry:

I see the humor now. Then, not so much.

I never read romance, so I'd never noticed.

Now I'm writing fantasy. The Paranormal Romance is in the offing, waiting for me to get back to it. This time I'll know what to call it.

Jamesaritchie
08-10-2011, 04:06 AM
I chose the genre. I don't believe genres can choose anything. Choice involves a reasoning mind.

I write what I most enjoy reading. Always have. Not knowing the genre before starting to write can make writing a publishable book very, very tough.

Susan Littlefield
08-10-2011, 05:10 AM
I chose to write thrillers because that is what I like to read the most, though I read a lot of horror, supernatural, and literary.

LJD
08-10-2011, 07:16 AM
I found myself being pulled towards romance, though that wasn't my intention when I started to write. Still haven't fully figured out what I want to write though..

Jstwatchin
08-10-2011, 07:48 AM
I have a degree in history, so I chose to write something I already knew a bit about. Now, how exactly did the vampires end up in there...?

Darkshore
08-10-2011, 08:08 AM
It picked me really. I've always been the kind of person that feels like I was born too late and lusted for adventure and crazy shit that could never happen...in this world at least :P.

Rhoda Nightingale
08-10-2011, 08:17 AM
I write in the genres that I prefer to read--YA, fantasy, sci-fi, horror. The story ideas <i>themselves</i>, however, pop up out of nowhere, and there's no telling which of the above-mentioned genres will be "chosen" either by me or by the plot bunnies that continue to munch on my brain.

whimsical rabbit
08-10-2011, 08:44 PM
I've always wanted to write stories about humans and human relationships, and all the stories that come to me are about that. So I guess, whether I call it literary or mainstream contemporary, it did choose me.

The Grump
08-10-2011, 10:02 PM
For years, I wrote short non-fiction. When I started writing fiction, I wrote what I mostly read -- various forms of fantasy.

elmoie
08-12-2011, 03:26 PM
I've always wanted to write a novel, but it took me years to discover what I wanted to write.

When I was in college, I studied for an English degree and while I enjoyed it, I also found that because literary fiction was being pushed down my throat a bit that it wasn't really the kind of genre that I liked.

I discovered Urban Fantasy a few years ago, and being a life long fantasy and horror addict I just knew that this was what I was meant to write. I came up with a few ideas, scrapped most of them until the idea for my current WIP came to me and now I love it!

bearilou
08-12-2011, 04:55 PM
One experiment I did was to write one short story for each genre.

Turns out that I have a talent for a genre that isn't my primary genre.

I recommend everyone try their hand at writing a short in each genre (to include erotica :) ).

Trust me, you'll be surprised at the results

Mel...

This idea is so awesome I am going to try it. :)

Monkey
08-12-2011, 05:35 PM
I choose a genre every time I start a new work.

Shorts can be any genre you get it into your head to write, and even with novels, if what you want to write is diametrically opposed to what you've written in the past, you can use a pen name.

For me, the thing is to love what I'm writing at the moment.

Kweei
08-12-2011, 06:11 PM
It took me a while, but I figured out my genre after looking at what I like to watch/read. It was staring me in the face.

Also, I always tried to be so serious and cerebral when I wrote. Once, I wrote something purely for fun and it had a lot of humor in it. A friend of mine thought it was the best thing I had written.

So my lesson to myself was don't deny the funny! Now I focus mostly on writing stories where I can inject a lot of humor.

toldyouso
08-15-2011, 04:32 PM
I'd wanted to write YA for years, but I guess I was still in a crazy learning curve. Every time I did it on purpose it felt forced and I got bored. Flash forward to now. I spend years devouring YA just because I enjoy reading it, especially queer YA and all that post-apocalyptic stuff. It just sort of happened one day when I sat down and wrote what I thought was a short story. Now it's done and off on query. I also fell into writing MG after doing lots of research and obsessing. I don't know if they chose me or I chose them.

I do read a lot of 'literary' fiction but I have yet to find passion for writing a literary novel. I just find speculative and YA and MG more fun. Same reason why I've never had any luck with writing scripts of any kind. I have such a passion for serialised narrative but I just don't have that spark in me that makes me creative in script form. I just don't think that way. It might need more time to stew in my head. But yes, I suppose it isn't enough to chose it in an idle way, I have to want to do it in my gut.

areteus
08-15-2011, 05:40 PM
I am trying really hard to be a sci fi and/or urban fantasy/horrorish writer. However, my two pending publications so far are cheesy fantasy and paranormal romance (which edges a little into urban fantasy...). I am also apparently becoming an erotica writer... no idea how that happened... :)

texas_girl
08-16-2011, 04:58 PM
When I was a kid I wanted to become a fantasy/sci-fi writer. I even started several books and never finished them. Out of nowhere came this great idea while I was on a road trip (several years later). I wrote it down and now I can't stop! By the way, it's a western.

Margarita Skies
08-17-2011, 09:59 PM
The sci-fi / fantasy genres chose me.


I found myself unable to do so many things in the past, and that inspired me to create characters able to do everything or almost everything. Have amazing supernatural powers to defeat their adversaries. And then I wrote characters with the power to get back up again no matter how badly they're beaten or hurt. What inspired me to do that was the many, many obstacles I had to overcome that almost destroyed me as a person one day of the other. So I gotta love my sci-fi / fantasy. It takes me to worlds where possibilities are endless and there's nothing you can't do. :D I wrote a couple romance novels, like 6 of them, part of 2 different series, but sci-fi and fantasy definitely dominate my writing.

bektamun
08-18-2011, 06:35 AM
To be honest I'm still not sure what genre my work fits into. Is it fantasy, supernatural, paranormal?

My writing all started based on questions I had about vampires that I didn't feel had been adequately answered before. That was the stating point. Define who my vampires were, where they came from, how they live.

From there it has been easy. All my characters are very demanding. They bounce around my head yelling their stories at me. Sometimes it's historical, romantic, adventure, horror, contemporary. But always there are vampires.

Jehhillenberg
08-18-2011, 06:37 AM
I write what I'd like to read. Contemporary is my thing, maybe some romance, definitely psychological, horror.

Rise2theTop
08-18-2011, 03:12 PM
I had my base genre in mind when I started my WIP, but as it evolved I found it sitting on the pointy part of picket fence! OW! It was smack dab in the middle of romance and erotica! To add to the equation, it's M/M to boot. A bit too smexy for mainstream publishers to touch and the smexy in it not graphic enough to be classified as erotica.
So....I had to decide what side of the fence to play on without alienating my current audience. In order to satisfy the publisher the most interested in it, I had to smex it up. Not so much the scenes themselves, there's some major heat in them, but I did it without using graphic body part names, and they didn't like that! They wanted more specific words.... (And no, I didn't use ridiculous prose names to do it either, just suggestive words like length, tip, blah blah...)

Ha! It's amazing to me how many readers want the smexy scene, but don't want to see the common words associated with them! It's like having sex, loving sex, but the word sex is never said out loud! Shhhhhh! Hahaha! I digress...

The biggest problem I faced was I didn't want a raunchy tone added in and the scenes are so close to the edge as it is, I worried that's what would happen if I added them. Basically, the story is a romance first, just so happens these guys, um, yeah...

Dilemma....I KNEW I would lose some of my core readers if I put in the actual words in like c*ck (which to me is no big deal). But if I didn't, I was pretty much told, see ya later.

Then came the problem, if I backed off the depth (meaning how far I went with the scene) and backed off the quantity of those scenes to get it closer to more mainstream romance, all of my beta's felt I would lose the core of my story. Arggggg!

So here I was stuck with a novel that was too smexy for one genre and not smexy 'enough' for the next! So I investigate Romantica--perfect, right? NOPE! Oh, it has a major romance factor and the right heat level, but one pub said too many scenes, another said not enough on TOP of the freakin wordage issue! ARRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!

I swear, put a brain-lock on me something fierce. I couldn't make a decision, couldn't get past it for the life of me. Then one day my editor, who was also at odds as what we should do, said to me, "Ya know, you have the most emotion I have ever read woven into your sex scenes, and that's what draws your readers into your stories, I think you can get away with it. If the pearl clutchers pass because of the occasional C word, the sexier dialog during, to hell with them. If ya take the sex out, we lose half the emotion of the story. Your characters 'talk' with sex... If ya amp the scenes up, your scenes will just jump from burning to scorching! And maybe your 'peek through the fingers' readers will realize what they've been missing!"

And so the story goes...I picked one genre first, then another chose me! After much research, I felt it would fit better in the erotica genre best and in the end, I ramped it up. It's still what I would classify as 'soft' erotica, but finally fits into the category. Whew!

Cav Guy
08-19-2011, 12:02 AM
When I was a kid I wanted to become a fantasy/sci-fi writer. I even started several books and never finished them. Out of nowhere came this great idea while I was on a road trip (several years later). I wrote it down and now I can't stop! By the way, it's a western.

I was similar, except espionage was the genre (curse you, Ian Fleming!). Fiddled with a few other types, and then one day just started writing a Western. Now it's about all I write. Funny thing is, I never read Westerns (and still don't, really). I was always fascinated by the history of the West, but not so much the Western. So my genre found me, I guess you could say.