Friday, July 24, 2015

Finding Your Genre - Write What You Know

I hear a lot of authors talk about writing in many different genres. Their rationale is often that they do this to really discover what they write best. In reality, you probably don't need to waste all of that time. The answer is probably right in front of your nose.

Look around you. What do you read? The odds are, the genre you will be best at writing is the one that is on your bookshelf (or on your e-reader). Even if you are someone who says you "read everything" there will still be one go to genre. Think of it this way. If you are stuck with only buying one book, what genre would you likely head toward?

The idea behind this is simple. You know and understand that genre. You get (maybe unconsciously) the nuances of the genre. You get the pacing, the tone, the voice, and the unique word choices authors use. You even understand what it takes to make a great read and what it takes to ruin the book. Again, you might not be able to put a name to those characteristics, but you get it!

The other place to look is what you do for a living, or what you do for a hobby. If you are in the medical profession, writing stories in this setting is perfect. Think of the research you DON'T have to do. You know and understand those nuances and it will be easy to create the perfect world for your characters. Jean Love-Cush has her background in the legal system. This is what makes ENDANGERED a great book. The world building is authentic.

Consider also your majors in college. This again is probably going to head you in the direction of the best genre to write. Look, I was a literature major and I loved not only figuring out what makes a book tick - thus the work in publishing, but I also loved the poetry and the verse - thus my poetry writing and the two books (and one in the works).

There are also those people that want to write what is "HOT" now. They have to because their genre is not in vogue at the moment. The key here is "at the moment". This industry is always shifting and turning. Stick to what you know and if the story is good, the editors will take a chance on it. If they don't right now, just wait a week when the market shifts.

Now, I do understand the excuse that some of you use. "I know I would just copy their patterns and it wouldn't be my voice." The fact that you recognize this will keep you from doing it. Where you will run into this problem more is when you try to write in a genre you don't understand. We see this a lot with people who say they want to try writing for a new line at Harlequin. They get out and start "researching" that line and only end up with failed imitations.

So, before you go on a quest for that genre you should write. Start with what you know. You might be amazed the answer is not that far away.

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