sci-fi · THE WITCHING HOUR · Writing

Genre-Hopping & Close Encounters

I wrote a blog post back in February about how I was experiencing a bad case of writer’s block which seemed something more akin to a weird apathy towards writing that I didn’t really understand. That apathy has haunted me so much this year, to the point where despite doing a good job of making it look like I’m working on new projects, all I’ve really been doing is creating aesthetics for each new idea in the hope that it might inspire me to write. Because every story must have an aesthetic before you start, right?

giphy

The reality is that I haven’t really been working on new stories at all. Every time I’ve opened a new WIP or notebook, I haven’t been able to think straight to even start writing, let along manage a single paragraph. The longer this has gone on, the more I think I’ve allowed myself to make excuses about why I can’t write eg. okay, maybe I’m done with it, maybe it’s done with me, maybe I’m not really a writer, blah blah blah – you know, all the woe-is-me shite that gets to us all at some point.

At the weekend, however, I had one of those rare epiphanies (I don’t get them that often, trust me): I realised that I’d convinced myself so much that I couldn’t write that I had started to believe it and that, in essence, I was failing myself. What if instead of not being able to write, I had just made myself think I couldn’t do it, thereby allowing myself to give up before I’d even tried?

So, I went back over all my new story ideas and decided I would just pick one and start writing something. Anything. It really didn’t matter what to be honest.

The result? The one I ended up choosing was by no means the story that I ever thought I would write.

Why? Because it’s a genre I’ve never written before.

Now, I know many writers who hop genres. I know writers who hop genres to jump onto an emerging trend or because it’s a more lucrative and popular option. I know writers who hop genres because they’re just bloody good at writing anything they choose to write. I know writers who hop genres because they want to experiment with something different and end up finding they’re in love with writing that new genre. I’ve always looked at those writers with something close to awe, because I’ve tended to stick to the same genre – urban fantasy with a touch of horror or just horror.

I read far more genres than I write, and the older I get, the more genres I discover I like. There are definitely genres I’ve always wished I could write in based on my reading choices. Fantasy is one, thrillers and domestic noir are also genres I love. However, I never thought I would be drawn to writing sci-fi and yet, that’s the one I picked. It was definitely a late-runner in the new story idea stakes and came about mostly from my love for sci-fi films. I’ll be honest here, I don’t read a ton of sci-fi, but I love sci-fi movies, particularly anything alien-related. The Alien movies are some of my all-time faves. I was obsessed with the TV series, Taken. I grew up on a diet of Spielberg and stories of little grey men. I loved anything remotely linked to alien abductions and yes, I loved that cute little alien and his best mate Elliott. DO NOT JUDGE ME!

giphy-1

Of course, I’m not writing about cute little aliens, but I am strangely excited about this new project despite it not being the one I ever thought I would opt for. I started writing at the weekend, making brief starter notes, then managing to get one very short chapter down that I surprisingly felt really good about. I have no idea whether this one will work out and whether it’s the next big project, but, right now, it feels right and it’s given me the kick start I needed to not only write something, but to also feel inspired about writing again.

Are you a writer that swaps genres? Are you a writer that wishes they could write in a different genre? If so, what genre would you like to write in? Are you a reader who’s recently discovered a new genre that you really love?

Drop me a comment and let me know!

 

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Genre-Hopping & Close Encounters

  1. I found your blog post right on time for me today. I just put up my own post about how I don’t typically write genre fiction, but I understand we all have to put things in categories and sub-categories these days.

    My latest book actually has some elements that could land it in something like speculative fiction, particularly because these are aspects like time travel, communing with souls from other eras, etc.

    Now I’m going to have to read some of these genres before I edit my editor! Thanks for your timely post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just read your blog post and I think it makes a lot of sense. Thinking about what themes you want to address at the start, as opposed to what genre it fits into, is perhaps, more important. Although, let’s all just say we write in the Awesome Genre when people ask! I think I prefer that to trying to fit my work into other boxes 😉

      Like

  2. Unfortunately, I´m not a writer so I can´t give any insight on the topic. Fortunately, I´m a reader who swaps genres every now and again to keep the reading experience fresh and alive. As a reader I feel that if I stick to one genre for too long I will begin to develop strong feelings towards said genre. I will become bored and will even start to despise certain tropes. This can affect my reviews. Knowing this I tend to mix genres up a bit to keep my reviews less harmful ( it´s shocking to admit this ). If this happens with a romance I will switch to a fantasy novel and after some time I´ll switch back. I think a genre swap for authors isn´t that bad of an idea. It´s all somehow about balance, you know? Or, to find a healthy balance. If something is weighing you down maybe you should do something ( a genre swap perhaps? 🙂 ) to even things out again. Maybe that´s the key? I know authors who don´t read the genres they write because they think that´s their balance. I´m glad your mojo is slipping back 🙂 And I can´t wait to see what you have in store! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As a reader, I spent many years sticking to the same genres – mostly horror or paranormal, with some crime thrillers and fantasy thrown in for good measure. I never deviated from this and I never EVER read romance. I mean, sure there are some genres I would still never pick up, but I am definitely more open-minded to trying something new than I was years ago. Perhaps it’s not so much the genre itself, but the categories within that genre (for instance, I prefer dark romance and wouldn’t read YA romance) or even my knowledge of the author and their writing. I think genre-swapping when reading is a great idea and healthy to reviewing (i’d hate to be that author who got the bad review because you’d just read 16579379 books in my genre right before mine haha). I think this is particularly important when we see so much duplication of theme/tropes in genre fiction. I mean, how many Christian Gray’s can we have, right? 😉 Thanks for reading and commenting, muchacah ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I tend to Genre Hop for fun and challenge. Mostly I enjoy writing Horror and Science Fiction but I have written a Harry Potter FanFiction – “Harry Potter and the Master of Death (which has more reads than anything else I have on wattpad), Romance (sort of) – “Falling”, Comedy/screenplay – “Cubed” and even a short story with a religious angle “Spaceman”. It’s very exciting to try something new and even more amazing if it comes out well. I hope your story turns out!
    Allan F

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Allan! I think I have naturally tended to write in the genre I grew up reading and loving the most. It was the one that was most familiar and comfortable to me, so trying something new has always felt a bit scary. Personally, I think it’s brilliant that you try out new genres, although I’m not surprised in the least that your HP fanfic has earned the most reads 😉

      Like

  4. I’ve never really felt confined to a particular genre. I’ve just always written whatever ideas cross my mind at any given time. Sometimes it’s just a romance novel, sometimes it’s fantasy or paranormal, mystery, and sometimes even sci-fi or historical fiction. I’m probably better with romance and fantasy than anything else, but that could just be because I’ve had a lot more practice with those. I like to say my stories write themselves. I may have a small, abstract idea of what I want to do at the beginning, but it grows from there. I’ve started with the simple idea of two ex-lovers meeting again as musicians and ended up with a story about learning how to live and love after loss. I don’t really plan out what I’m writing. I just write whatever feels natural to the story, and then I go in and revise the hell out of it when I’m done. I think that contributes to the variety of genres, as sometimes a simple mystery or romance turns into some kind of epic fantasy journey that I hadn’t even thought of at the beginning. I read most genres, and I definitely enjoy writing in them all!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Strangely enough, my next post is going to be about how we plan our stories. My very first full length story was written with no plan in mind at all. I never really went back and edited it, which probably accounts for it being a bit crap 😉

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s