Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn’t think you’d be comfortable in??
****This is quite rambly and doesn’t really have a conclusive point, so if you skip it, I’ll understand.****
I’m a bit of a slacker when it comes to writing. I’ve written about it ad nauseum on this blog – I don’t have a plan, outline the plan, write to the outline and then edit as needed. I’ve tried. I’ve failed miserably every time.
I think I’ve mentioned this, once or twice.
In fiction writing, up until 6 years ago, I always thought of myself as a one-trick pony – I write fantasy. Ta-da. Ever since middle school, that was what I was good at. Third person, multiple POV’s, big ol’ honkin’ swords and sorcery, dragons and elves, multi-generational saga fantasy.
Science fiction and I don’t get along so well. I like character driven SF, but I tend to slack on the sciencey part, so while the concepts have potential, they just don’t have enough “oomph” to really snag the reader. Or me, for that matter. Historical Fiction? I can tell you that I totally respect Turtledove because the man does some serious research, but I don’t really enjoy it (despite enjoying non-fictional history). Romance? No. Just no. Westerns? Nope. Murder-mystery? Meh (unless it’s about a REAL case, because those go in directions that just blow your mind). Horror? Perhaps it’s just me, but it’s either too much or it’s formulaic and boring.
There are probably several genres I’ve left out, just because I can’t think of them a the moment, but the point is: They say you should write what you know or at least what you like to read. Why would I look around for anything other than what I enjoy doing and feel that I do well?
Then I had a dream. Where I had, the conditions, the people around me, the dew point, temperature, blahblahblah, is unimportant.
I know the dream was partly spawned by some wicked conversation or other during the camping event I’d recently attended. With 20-30 tents and about 45-60 people in attendance, most of them adults, well… everyone has a naughty story that is by turns funny and impressive and usually begins with “No shit, there I was…”
The dream snippet stuck with me in that way that DEMANDS I at least sketch it out and save off the file, if for no other reason than to get it out of my head. THOU SHALT DOCUMENT THIS.
6 weeks later I’m told by friends that I have a passable rough draft of a contemporary romance novel written in first person, evenly divided between 2 POV’s. Some say it’s just fine as-is. Others say it needs more smut. But generally, everyone agrees that it does have potential. A little editing, some polishing, a halfway decent cover and it could certainly pass muster as a romance novel.
Understand, I don’t read romance novels. I’ve tried. They irritate me.
Now, I’ve got ideas for 3, possibly 4 ideas for others in the same neighborhood as the first one.
What the hell? I don’t write Romance. I don’t read Romance. I’ve tried since I’ve written the first rough draft and they all irritate me. I do NOT enjoy reading romance. And yet, I seem to have written one that I think is pretty good (which may be indicative that it is doomed to fail in sales, but that is a different post regarding targeting demographics and so forth).
A similar thing happened that got me into writing a steampunk-type novel. It was supposed to be a short “let’s write this idea down, save off the file and then we’ll see what happens” sort of thing.
6 weeks later, The idea has turned into a trilogy, plus one, plus a novella type thing AND at least 2 stories that happen 25 years later.
I don’t know ANYTHING about steampunk beyond the rough historical time period it’s supposed to be set in. And yet, a friend of mine and his wife (both of whom play in the live-action Steampunk events) think the stories have great potential (and both of these people have told me that they don’t really enjoy my fantasy stories, so there you go for honesty).
Again: What the hell? Is this a normal thing?
But the Romance and the Stemapunk won’t go away. They want to exist right alongside their Fantasy brother (or sister? Older sibling?).
AND I CAN’T LET THEM GO.
Now I have to take dance classes, because that’s a centerpiece in one of the Romance novels. Now I have to research the Victorian/Edwardian era, so at least I know where and what and how I want to deviate from the historical record. Now I have to get in shape so I can take classes at a trapeze school for the 25 years later SP plot. And coffee – Holy Shit I can’t taste the difference between one kind and the next but now I’ve got to at least learn the basics so I can pretend like I know what I’m talking about for a custom blend called “Bitch Slap.”
Check out the Insecure Writer’s Support Group to see more writers dish about their concerns, their solutions to various problems, or just genera anemophobia.