fb

Genre Woes

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #95286
    Alaia Ballantyne
    @mckinley

    So… at first, I was convinced I wanted to write mystery. (too many Hardy Boys novels, I guess.). Then it was fantasy.Β Then dystopian.

    I dabbled in each. I got the farthest in dystopian, having actually finished a novel (NaNo. But I never edited it… and it’s pretty awful). I also am in the process of editing a dystopian short story.

    But I don’t want to write dystopian anymore. I’m kinda tired of it. I think I much prefer having more of a solid setting to write my story in… and I’m tired of dodging cliches.

    I have some more ideas for novels that I realllyyyy want to write, but none of them are in the same genre.

    As I’m looking into building a platform, though, I’m learning that if I want to be published (traditionally in particular), staying in one genre is the way to go. *large sigh*

    So, here are my questions:

    1. Is YA fiction a specific enough genre? For example, could I write a mystery and then a contemporary fiction, both geared towards young adults, and still be okay? Or will it be a lot better for me to narrow down my genre into more sub-genres?

    2. What if no genres appeal to me in particular? Any advice? I like the idea of writing a mystery novel, but I also love so many other things. Like adventure novels, horror novels, romance… and contemporary fiction. And I’m sure I could blend those together somewhat… but my want to write something in the victorian era is equal to my want to write something in the present day. I want to do it all.

    ENFP | I should be writing...

    #95292
    Alaia Ballantyne
    @mckinley

    side note: as I research, I’m learning how hard genre-jumping is. It seems to be something that CAN happen… but might be at the expense of being well known and mastering the craft. Those are priorities to me, so I’m okay with ‘confining myself’ to a genre if not doing so means giving them up. But does anyone have ideas of genres I could have some freedom in?

    ENFP | I should be writing...

    #95299
    R.M. Archer
    @r-m-archer

    Disclaimer: I’ve only published a handful of short things and haven’t really jumped into marketing, so this might not be the most helpful advice. πŸ˜›

    I understand the reasoning behind the idea of writing only in one genre. It is, I’m sure, easier to market in only one genre and be able to form a coherent tone and style that your readers can associate with you. However… I don’t think that necessarily means that writing in multiple genres is a bad thing just because it’s difficult. I’ve always written in a bunch of different genres. I love trying different things, and there are very few genres I haven’t/won’t write in, and I’m perfectly comfortable publishing under one pen name in any genre. That said, I think that some limitations can be helpful. For instance, I primarily write in genres that fit under the umbrella of “speculative fiction,” which is anything that doesn’t take place in a completely fact-based world (i.e. pretty much anything but historical fiction and contemporary). I like making things up. I also have a limit to what sort of content I’ll include (clean romance unless the story demands it, and then only hints of anything more; extremely minimal language if any; etc.), and all of my writing is directed to a YA audience. In my inexperienced opinion, this is pretty sufficient, particularly if you write mainly in one or two genres (say, mystery and contemporary) and in others more rarely.

    As far as genre-jumping… I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I can see how it would be helpful to mastering the craft to focus on or two genres and get really good at the skills that are emphasized in those genres. However, I think it’s also helpful to write in multiple genres and practice different writing muscles and different emphasized skills. (Emphasized skills like the worldbuilding in sci-fi or fantasy, or relationship dynamics in contemporary, or description in horror… things like that.) But how much you genre hop would probably depend on your priorities and on what works for you. If you can genre-hop and use that to develop mastery of the craft, and it also helps you to be more well-rounded in your skillset, go with that. If you’re able to master things more easily with a stronger focus on one genre and you want to just write short pieces in other genres to practice various skills, do that. But I think that’s something you’ll really only learn through experimentation.

    Hopefully something in there was helpful and it all made sense. πŸ˜› The older, more experienced authors on here probably have better advice.


    @hope-ann
    @josiah @daeus-lamb @briannastorm

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by R.M. Archer.

    Fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi author. Mythology nerd. ENFP. Singer.

    #95301
    Alaia Ballantyne
    @mckinley

    @r-m-archer

    Thanks so much for that advice! It was really helpful.

    I would definitely stay in the same content level… as you said, clean romance and directed to YA. That’s me too. Really, I just want to write some actually decent books for teens.

    I think I’m going to start out writing one genre… but I’m sure that will change.

    ENFP | I should be writing...

    #95302
    R.M. Archer
    @r-m-archer

    Really, I just want to write some actually decent books for teens.

    Amen. It’s sad how few there are. XP

    Fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi author. Mythology nerd. ENFP. Singer.

    #95303
    Alaia Ballantyne
    @mckinley

    Another side question, for anyone who knows. If I want to write in more of an obscure genre… like nautical fiction (what even is that? well, it’s fiction with it’s setting on or near the sea. So like… ships.) Would writing something less well-known hurt my chances of being published traditionally? Like, would a publisher sooner publish a dystopian, since it’s a popular YA genre right now?

    (I was thinking I could play around the genre, like have it in different settings. I have an idea for a 19th century one right now, but I could also have stories set in the present and future. But is that too… unstable for a publisher? [am I being too… creative…original…? like… is futuristic nautical fiction a little too random?])

    (and, yeah, I understand how insane this all sounds. I’m a writer. crazy ideas are what we do. XD)

    ENFP | I should be writing...

    #95308
    Josiah DeGraaf
    @josiah

    For the record, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with dabbling in different genres early on in your career as a writer. It can be quite helpful, in fact, to get that experimentation down now before you have readers and feel like you have to be committed to a certain genre. So it sounds like you’ve been able to get some valuable experience with what you’ve done so far!

    To your specific question, I do think that YA can work as a standalone genre (there’s a bunch of books published just in the YA genre each year that do quite well). That being said, mystery YA and contemporary YA are two pretty different categories and I don’t know how much crossover you’d get between them (or even how successful the mystery YA genre is by itself).

    If you don’t know yet what genre most engages you, I wouldn’t worry about continuing to experiment for the time being. While an agent or publisher may eventually want you to narrow down on one, you don’t have any breathing down your back right now, so I wouldn’t feel the pressure to make any decisions now. πŸ™‚

    Lit fanatic. Eclectic reader. Theology nerd. Writing fantasy at https://josiahdegraaf.com

    #95309
    Princess Foo
    @princess-foo

    @mckinley Speaking as someone who has never been published or close to published and is not an expert on this in any way, I have an opinion.

    I don’t think it would necessarily hurt you to work across multiple genres, but I think it will be harder to build your reputation as an author, as others are saying. It’s like multi-classing in a roleplaying game. Sure, you could be a level 1 Rouge and level 1 Barbarian and level 1 Wizard and you would get a benefit from that, but you also could have been a level 3 Wizard and fighting bigger monsters by now. If I read a fantasy book and wanted to look at your other books, I would look at your list and go “Oh… she wrote romance and mystery. I am not interested in those. I won’t read it.” It will be harder to get your readers to read your other books, which is a big part of how you succeed as an author.

    Hypothetically, you might find it easier to get your dystopian novel published than a nautical book published, but I wouldn’t count that into your thinking. It’s not like nautical fiction is THAT rare. (At least in the fantasy genre, which is what I read, and there was that movie about being lost at sea recently.) Things may change by the time you finish and edit your book to perfection.

    Futuristic nautical fiction? So like, sci-fi sailing? That sounds like an untapped story well, actually.

    The cake is a lie. acaylor.com

    #95316
    Alaia Ballantyne
    @mckinley

    @josiah @princess-foo

    Thanks so much. I’ll keep writing what I’m writing for now… and if that changes I’ll work with it. πŸ™‚

     

    ENFP | I should be writing...

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Pin It on Pinterest