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View Full Version : Feeling Something Is Missing Genre/Plot-wise.....



Silver-Midnight
01-05-2012, 08:17 AM
I do like what I write(romance/erotica), but I just feel something is missing sometimes. I want to break out into writing other genres, especially Urban Fantasy (with some romantic elements), but this really breaking out of my comfort zone, writing-wise anyway. So, I, naturally, feel both excited and kind of scared about it. I felt like this before, but I kind of ignored it, mostly because I was kind of afraid to. Has anyone else felt the need to just write something different at one point in time, and did you stick to writing the genre you changed to?

thethinker42
01-05-2012, 08:26 AM
I do like what I write(romance/erotica), but I just feel something is missing sometimes. I want to break out into writing other genres, especially Urban Fantasy (with some romantic elements), but this really breaking out of my comfort zone, writing-wise anyway. So, I, naturally, feel both excited and kind of scared about it. I felt like this before, but I kind of ignored it, mostly because I was kind of afraid to. Has anyone else felt the need to just write something different at one point in time, and did you stick to writing the genre you changed to?

I mostly stick to romance and erotica too, but once in a while, I get that itch to write something completely different. I've got a...I guess mainstream, not really sure...novel as a side project, plus a couple of suspense novels I've been playing around with. Romance/erotica are still my main focus, but if the brain decides to wander into another realm, I'm not going to argue.

Quite honestly, I find it refreshing to mix things up a bit. Even within my genre...I usually write contemporary, but sometimes I get that itch to write steampunk, or paranormal, or a romantic suspense. Keeps things interesting and lets me try new things, but I always end up finding my way back to contemporary romance. Nothing wrong with trying new things, though. :)

Puma
01-05-2012, 08:48 AM
I've written five novels - mainstream, psychological/religious, historical, science based fiction, western plus quite a few short stories going across quite a few genres adding mystery, animals/nature, and sort of paranormal to the mix.

They say you should stick with one genre - but, I'm interested in a lot more than one thing - so why shouldn't I try writing about it? Puma

kuwisdelu
01-05-2012, 08:50 AM
I write in whatever genre I want, and then call it literary fiction.

Seems like a good way to cheat to me.

KSandoval
01-05-2012, 09:13 AM
I definitely feel the need to write outside my usual genre at times. Sometimes, it's enough for me to simply slide sideways to a different sub-genre, going from urban fantasy to high fantasy and playing in a very different sandbox. But there are times when I sit down and something completely unusual sounds tempting.

I think it's good to experiment. However, there are different types of experimenting. There's playing around for the pure joy of it, and there's sincerely trying to make it work. If you want to create something solid and you're leaving the constraints of your usual genre behind, it's a good idea to know the genre you're moving into. I for example, have lately felt tempted to write some romance, a genre I neither write nor read. Indeed, I think the temptation comes because it's so unfamiliar, so difficult for me. I tend to like to try out whatever seems most threatening. But if I do decide to try it, I think I'll need to try reading some romance first, just so I have a handle on the flavor of the genre.

Silver-Midnight
01-05-2012, 09:19 AM
I think it's good to experiment. However, there are different types of experimenting. There's playing around for the pure joy of it, and there's sincerely trying to make it work. If you want to create something solid and you're leaving the constraints of your usual genre behind, it's a good idea to know the genre you're moving into. I for example, have lately felt tempted to write some romance, a genre I neither write nor read. Indeed, I think the temptation comes because it's so unfamiliar, so difficult for me. I tend to like to try out whatever seems most threatening. But if I do decide to try it, I think I'll need to try reading some romance first, just so I have a handle on the flavor of the genre.

Yeah. I'm reading some Laurell K. Hamilton right now to get a feel for it. I'd say I'm almost about half way through it now. I'm hoping to finish it soon.




I'm just glad that I'm not alone. I know that I can't have been the only person who feels that way, but I know that a lot of people like to stick to their respective genre. Nothing's wrong with that or anything, but I guess I just want to write something not having to deal with love, at least as a main premise.

I have a WIP right now that didn't start a UF, but I may change it a bit. I'm early enough that I think I can make a slight change. This will change my outline a bit, of course. However, I'm fine with that.


Does anyone here write in different POVs? Like in some books do you use first person and in other third, or do you use one POV in all of your books?

Drachen Jager
01-05-2012, 10:29 AM
My first was pretty straight up MG contemporary fantasy. My second is a gritty, high-flying YA steampunk. Pretty big change, but I found it wonderfully freeing. There's sex (nothing hard-core) and lots of graphic violence. Also, writing in a new genre it feels like I have lots of room to write without running into other people's ideas. I may go back and finish my MG series (my son loved the first book and I feel like I owe him to finish) but otherwise I'm fully into my new genre and style and don't plan on looking anywhere else.

Anyhow it won me an agent and so far the submissions have been going very well (just doing a re-write per a top editor's requests, hopefully she'll pick it up on the second pass).

JSDR
01-05-2012, 10:43 AM
I did sekrit santa this year, and I wrote a story outside my genre, and different from my POV of choice.

Would I keep doing it? If another story comes to me and it requires me to be outside my comfort zone, then heck yeah. But, fantasy, and 3rd person pov are my favorites for several reasons. That may change.

What's important is to try new things.

gothicangel
01-05-2012, 01:28 PM
My first attempt was at a psychological crime. I slowly came to the realisation, that I didn't like writing crime that much.

I then wrote an historical thriller very quickly [and discovered that the crime novel had taught me some valuable skills.]

Captcha
01-05-2012, 05:44 PM
I think there's two different ways to look at writing - are you doing it mostly for yourself, looking for satisfaction and enjoyment, or are you doing it mostly for others, looking for publication and acclaim (and money!). I know, there's a spectrum of outlooks, but those are the poles, as I see it.

And I think your place on this spectrum has a pretty big influence on whether you should genre-hop. If you're writing mostly for yourself, write whatever you feel like. If you're writing mostly for others, you need to look at the marketing side of things and accept that breaking into a new genre is a new challenge; you may succeed, you may not, but it will definitely take some extra effort and luck and everything else that made you successful in your first genre. So probably the safe thing to do, for someone writing for others, is to stick to your initial genre.

But writing is a creative pursuit, and readers can generally tell when an author has lost interest and is just phoning it in. So at some point, if you're totally done with your initial genre, I guess it's time to switch, challenges be damned.

My own approach? I have my yearly goals in my main genre, and if I'm on track to meet those, then I can spend my 'extra' writing time on other genres and other projects. But my main genre remains my focus. If I have success with the other projects (wouldn't that be fun?) I can reassess then.

Silver-Midnight
01-05-2012, 06:55 PM
I'm definitely writing for myself right now. I'm nowhere near publisher-ready. I'm still trying to learn about publishing and all of that. However, even with writing for yourself, I think the change to writing something else can be difficult because you're so used to another genre of writing. I guess that was the main issue for me. I'm so use to romance being at the main focus of my story, and with Fantasy, unless it's Paranormal Romance, romance can be involved but it's not the main premise. So, it was just kind of daunting to me. However, I felt like I just wanted to try writing something new for a while, you know, to break a habit. I just wanted to see if anyone else had ever felt like they had to do that: change genres just a for a little bit.

thethinker42
01-05-2012, 07:02 PM
Does anyone here write in different POVs? Like in some books do you use first person and in other third, or do you use one POV in all of your books?

I used to write in third, but then started writing in first and haven't been comfortable with third. No idea why, first is just more comfortable, even if I want multiple POVs in a story. (In hindsight, I probably would have torn less of my hair out if I'd tried that with TWO characters the first time instead of three, but hey, live and learn...)

dbmcnicol
01-05-2012, 09:41 PM
What is the worst that can happen if you try to breakout and write something new (outside your comfort zone)?

You'll love it, you'll hate it, you'll submit/publish it, you'll throw it in the trash....regardless, you will have learned something and grown in some way.

Go for it!

Silver-Midnight
01-05-2012, 09:56 PM
I used to write in third, but then started writing in first and haven't been comfortable with third. No idea why, first is just more comfortable, even if I want multiple POVs in a story. (In hindsight, I probably would have torn less of my hair out if I'd tried that with TWO characters the first time instead of three, but hey, live and learn...)
I've tried writing in first, and each time that I tried it only ended badly. Long story short, what I wrote sounded more like me, who I am, rather than my character. That's why I'm kind of weary with first person POV. I mean it would be fun to learn because, well, once again I'd be out of my comfort zone, which is third POV.


What is the worst that can happen if you try to breakout and write something new (outside your comfort zone)?

You'll love it, you'll hate it, you'll submit/publish it, you'll throw it in the trash....regardless, you will have learned something and grown in some way.

Go for it!

That's true.

Captcha
01-05-2012, 10:05 PM
I've tried writing in first, and each time that I tried it only ended badly. Long story short, what I wrote sounded more like me, who I am, rather than my character. That's why I'm kind of weary with first person POV. I mean it would be fun to learn because, well, once again I'd be out of my comfort zone, which is third POV.

That's funny! I usually write in close third, and was thinking about experimenting with first as a way to make me sound more like my character, less like me! ...so, it may not work, is what you're saying?

Silver-Midnight
01-05-2012, 11:25 PM
That's funny! I usually write in close third, and was thinking about experimenting with first as a way to make me sound more like my character, less like me! ...so, it may not work, is what you're saying?

Well, it didn't work for me, but I shouldn't be your example for not trying it. In my experience, I have had a lot of trouble with it. I'm still willing to try to learn to do it though. Mostly because I think learning to use will probably be helpful at some point or another, especially if I feel bored with my writing, not that I do right now or anything. I'm just saying by learning to do first I have the option of using it. I'm kind of going through the forums right now to see if I can learn some things, and it's kind of helpful but I don't really know how feel right now.

Silver-Midnight
03-03-2012, 10:33 AM
Well, right now the genre change is going....okay. I mean it's hard because like I've stated before it's new to me, and a lot of the books I've been reading in the genre are different from the POV I typically use. So, that causes some issue. However, it is different--in a good a way. It does feel good to write something different for a change. The other issue that I've just had is story length more so in the sense that I'm a short fiction writer, and looks like the market for Urban Fantasy typically wants novels. So far, I haven't really seen any real UF short stories, but I have seen novelettes and novellas. So, that's a bit of a plus.

And just a bit of a food for thought question I guess: do you find that the length and complexity of your plot changes with the genre you write in, or does it relatively stay the same?

Unimportant
03-04-2012, 12:42 AM
If I try something new, I tend to write very short, because I'm doing it more as a challenge to myself so I want to create something quickly and then look at it and see if I met my challenge. (I only write short stories, so "very short" generally equates to less than 2000 words). I'm into instant gratification ;-)

Silver-Midnight
03-04-2012, 04:28 AM
If I try something new, I tend to write very short, because I'm doing it more as a challenge to myself so I want to create something quickly and then look at it and see if I met my challenge. (I only write short stories, so "very short" generally equates to less than 2000 words). I'm into instant gratification ;-)

Hey, I know how you feel. I normally write short stories too. Like I said, it's looking like there aren't too many Urban Fantasy short stories--or even people who accept them. I mean there are some publishers that take short stories I think, but they usually have to have some kind of erotic content, which I don't have a problem with but it can be hard to incorporate sometimes. But it seems UF novellas are the short fiction typical length, and while I don't mind writing novellas, I've never really one I think.

EDIT: And I do want to write longer stuff, but it still makes me a little nervous honestly. :)

Silver-Midnight
04-04-2012, 10:33 AM
I didn't say this earlier, but I just wanted to say thanks to all that replied to this. I really appreciated it. I'm still playing around with the Urban Fantasy genre right now, and I am enjoying it. So, I just wanted to say thanks to all of you for helping me get the idea to go ahead and move forward with trying it.

I am curious though. I know some of you said that you try a lot of different themes in your novels, even though they might still fall into the same main genre, like Romance, they fall into a different sub-genre, i,e, contemporary, historical, fantasy, steampunk, etc. I was just curious how often you use a new theme, and why? Is it because you get a little bored of what you're writing, to a certain extent, or you just want to try something new? What makes you go for it?

I'm just curious because I may consider using other themes when I do write romance besides contemporary. That's not to say I have anything against contemporary romance; I do still intend to write it, but I'm still trying to figure out who I am as a writer as well as break out of my comfort zone a bit more. I know that I won't have all of the skills necessary to write every single sub-genre/theme of Romance, but I at least want to have the idea out there I guess. I feel this way I won't always feel like I'm writing the same thing, over and over and over, you know? I know that characters(and their actions) make stories different and all. but still. Sometimes, to me, it can feel the same, not always though.

Silver-Midnight
04-04-2012, 11:46 AM
I just found this article, if anyone is interested. It looked like it had some good advice.

http://writing-world.com/fiction/crossgenre.shtml

Chasing the Horizon
04-05-2012, 09:10 AM
I am curious though. I know some of you said that you try a lot of different themes in your novels, even though they might still fall into the same main genre, like Romance, they fall into a different sub-genre, i,e, contemporary, historical, fantasy, steampunk, etc. I was just curious how often you use a new theme, and why? Is it because you get a little bored of what you're writing, to a certain extent, or you just want to try something new? What makes you go for it?
I think what you're calling 'theme' I call 'setting'. Theme, as I define it, is the question and/or idea driving the novel. I.e. "at what point do the ends cease to justify the means?" "What do you do when you love someone, but every aspect of your world and society decrees that you must not be with them?" etc. Setting is the world in which the story happens, and is what divides sub-genres of romance like contemporary, paranormal, and historical. I would never write the same theme twice (unless I fucked up the first time), but I've written similar settings in all my works to date.

Anyway, I would and have considered writing outside my primary genre (which is epic fantasy). I did drift into the sub-genre of dark fantasy for my latest completed project, but scuttled back to epic fantasy for the new WIP because I was having subplot withdrawal. I also have an idea which won't go away no matter how much I tell it to for a fantasy romance. I hesitate severely on that, though, not so much because I think I couldn't do it well (what are a few more rejections? I have a room to finish wallpapering over here, after all) but because I wonder what would happen if it were published and successful? Then I'd have to tell the publisher I'm actually a fantasy writer who has no intentions of working consistently in any other genre. That would really suck, lol. Of course, I guess I can write it and not query it. But a completed, edited manuscript and a burning desire to get published are a hard combination to resist. :D

I think I just ran head-first into that 'do you write for yourself or for publication?' question . . .

To take a final stab at actually answering your question, my stories don't feel the same to me even when they're in the exact same sub-genre and same world, though. I can pretty contentedly just write fantasy . . . well, if the stupid romance idea goes away.

Silver-Midnight
04-05-2012, 11:27 AM
I think what you're calling 'theme' I call 'setting'. Theme, as I define it, is the question and/or idea driving the novel. I.e. "at what point do the ends cease to justify the means?" "What do you do when you love someone, but every aspect of your world and society decrees that you must not be with them?" etc. Setting is the world in which the story happens, and is what divides sub-genres of romance like contemporary, paranormal, and historical. I would never write the same theme twice (unless I fucked up the first time), but I've written similar settings in all my works to date.

That's an interesting way of looking at.

I do see theme that way, but I also look at theme as far certain elements in the story but it's not enough to make it fall into the genre, for example, romantic themes/elements. That's kind of what I was referring to I think. And I was just wondering how often someone returns to that same element if it's out of their normal or regular genre of writing.

Truthfully, I keep bouncing around, more like between a few really, with what genres I want to write. I'm trying to look a little of everything almost it feel like, and I just keep going back and forth between what I want to do. So, that's kind of a problem for me right now. It's like I say I'll do one thing then decide on another then go back to what I said I was originally going to do. So, part of me is considering getting that "I'll just write the story and decide on the genre" later mentality, but I heard that would be difficult as far publication goes because it might be hard to place an author. Plus some people say that knowing the genre helps know how the story might end, or at least what conventions you should be using in the story. I don't know what to think.

Silver-Midnight
04-06-2012, 11:49 PM
^ I'm still having trouble with the above problem. Long story short, I guess I don't know what all I want to write yet, and I'm still trying to figure that out, applying probably to both story and genre. Then it feels like I feel writing one thing or staying in one genre but end up switching over to something else when it comes to actually writing the story(or maybe coming up an idea).

I don't want to say that I feel like I should be writing Romance/Erotica, but I want to write Romance/Erotica. It's just that since working on Urban Fantasy a little; I can't. I don't think(or rather I hope) it's not from lack of ability; it's more like on a mental level, maybe? I think I might be going through a slight cynical phase or something right now, and I just can't seem to write, as far as original fiction, anything Romantic or Erotic without it sounding bad for one reason or another. But I don't know for sure what's wrong.

Then again, I don't want to give up UF either. I like it a lot, and I want to keep writing it if I can.

On top of all of that, I'm trying incorporate other elements, themes, ideas, etc. into my Romance/Erotica so, if it is a case of boredom or whatever it is, I might be a bit more interested in what I'm writing. However, so far, as I earlier stated, that hasn't been that successful for me.

Could it be I'm just overwhelming myself? I mean I'm only working in two genres--three if you count Romance and Erotica separately. I don't know what's going with me.

(I would really suggest reading this post and the post I made above it to understand full clarity of what I'm saying. I may have worded it in a bad way. Just wanted to say that suggestion.)

James D. Macdonald
04-07-2012, 12:47 AM
Take is a little bit at a time.

First, write a story all the way to the end. Then look at it to see what genre it might be.

thethinker42
04-07-2012, 12:52 AM
Take is a little bit at a time.

First, write a story all the way to the end. Then look at it to see what genre it might be.

What Uncle Jim said.

Write the story however you need to write the story. Don't try to shoehorn it into a genre where it doesn't belong.

Silver-Midnight
04-07-2012, 01:10 AM
Take is a little bit at a time.

First, write a story all the way to the end. Then look at it to see what genre it might be.

Does that also go with if I want the story to have romance or romantic themes(or any other theme/setting/etc.), and it isn't working (or well enough) I should stop trying to use that theme? I know that you suggested, like many others, that I should grin and bear it, and continue until I reach "The End". However, what if that theme is very integral to the plot and it's not working?

hlynn117
04-07-2012, 08:38 AM
Your story is what it is. You DO have to define it when you go to sell it. The good new is, you can change your pitch for different ages. Is it fantasy with a strong woman character? Guess what, you could qualify your book at 'women's fiction' and see if that sticks. I've read books couched under 'literary fiction' containing a fair amount of alternative world and apocalypse fantasy. Speculative fiction and urban fantasy often can slip across genres. With epic fantasy or sci-fi, it's easier to define what genre you're writing, but there is a lot of room in the 'non traditional' fantasy tent.


However, what if that theme is very integral to the plot and it's not working?

You could work the story to 'The End'. That let's you know what you have, and then, you can tackle your problems in the edit. However, it depends how much you have written. If it's still early in the novel, keep writing and see where the story takes you. If you're closer to the end, or stuck in the middle and losing enthusiasm for the project, maybe the story needs to be rethought or abandoned. I had a 70,000 word first draft, couldn't finish it because the main plot wasn't working. I rethought the story, scraped everything but 5,000 words, and restarted the book, doing draft '1.5' in the rewrite. This process? It sucks, and I don't recommend it, but this story is worthy telling, and the retelling came together in a 110,000 word bundle.

Silver-Midnight
04-07-2012, 11:10 AM
Your story is what it is. You DO have to define it when you go to sell it. The good new is, you can change your pitch for different ages. Is it fantasy with a strong woman character? Guess what, you could qualify your book at 'women's fiction' and see if that sticks. I've read books couched under 'literary fiction' containing a fair amount of alternative world and apocalypse fantasy. Speculative fiction and urban fantasy often can slip across genres. With epic fantasy or sci-fi, it's easier to define what genre you're writing, but there is a lot of room in the 'non traditional' fantasy tent.



You could work the story to 'The End'. That let's you know what you have, and then, you can tackle your problems in the edit. However, it depends how much you have written. If it's still early in the novel, keep writing and see where the story takes you. If you're closer to the end, or stuck in the middle and losing enthusiasm for the project, maybe the story needs to be rethought or abandoned. I had a 70,000 word first draft, couldn't finish it because the main plot wasn't working. I rethought the story, scraped everything but 5,000 words, and restarted the book, doing draft '1.5' in the rewrite. This process? It sucks, and I don't recommend it, but this story is worthy telling, and the retelling came together in a 110,000 word bundle.

Thank you for your advice. I'll take that into consideration as well.

jjdebenedictis
04-07-2012, 09:28 PM
I saw this recently and thought I'd leave it here. :)

Where the magic happens...
(http://www.jrbriggs.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/wherethemagichappens.jpg)

Silver-Midnight
04-08-2012, 01:18 AM
I saw this recently and thought I'd leave it here. :)

Where the magic happens...
(http://www.jrbriggs.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/wherethemagichappens.jpg)

Thank you; I needed to see that for some reason. Haha.

Silver-Midnight
04-19-2012, 11:39 AM
EDIT: Nevermind. It's something I should worry about.