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  1. Bel
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    Bel New Member

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    Genre - love to read vs able to write??

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Bel, Nov 28, 2014.

    Hi, I am new here, and seeking some advice.

    There is a story that has been forming in my sub-concious for years now and it is now starting to crystalise in my concious and I keep getting drawn to write it.

    The problem is my favourite genre to read is fantasy... the books that engage me and capture me into their world almost exclusively have vampires, fairies, angels or magic with lots of conflicts and drama etc.

    However the book that is forming in my head is a young adult coming of age book, examining our attitudes in society to life, death and illness. Definitely not in the fantasy genre.

    So does anyone else write in a different genre to what they prefer to read? Is this normal? I feel so torn.
    The story in my head seems like an ok story, but ironically not one that I would normally enjoy reading. I suspect that this situation has occurred because my mind wants to write what is already in my head, and my desire to read fantasy is to escape what is in my mind. Anyone else written a story that is outside their preferred reading genre? Can it work?

    Thank you so much for any insight that people can give!!!
     
  2. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Bel,

    One way to look at it is that a good solid novel or story has much the same foundation and structure, just like a house. You need that firm foundation and solid walls, including load baring ones. Windows and a roof and a door and some of the basics for room. There's also how you lay it out...how many bedrooms and bathrooms, single or two story, etc. Some make more sense, some are a bit unconventional.

    But when it comes to decorating the interior and exterior, the paint, roofing (tin or shingle), shutters? Shag carpet or hardwood floors, type of furniture etc. That's where the genre comes in. And that's what often attracts someone to one house over another, or how they choose to decorate it upon moving in.

    So, even if you enjoy reading fantasy, and you have the desire to write a more coming of age novel, the basics are still the same--good storytelling is good story telling, I think it'll work out okay. You might consider reading a few novels similar to what you want to attempt. Sort of walking though a home similar to one you hope to construct, so that you might see what works and what interests people, and maybe avoid a few potential pitfalls where things might clash.

    Hope it works out for you and you press through and finish that novel that's been yearning to be written.
     
  3. mad_hatter
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    mad_hatter Active Member

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    This may not be the best advice, as you should write the story as should be written, but... Could your story not be applied to a more fantastical setting? Perhaps this is the coming of age story of an elf? Essentially, you can transplant any story into any genre, within reason. Set your story on a distant planet, suddenly it's Sci-Fi.

    Again, not the best advice. And quite possibly the absolute wrong thing to do. But still, perhaps something to consider.
     
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  4. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Mad Hatter beat me to it. I love literary type stories but I often find they can be a little dull so I try to put some literary ideas or themes in fantasy realms. Even though I don't read a lot of fantasy or sci-fi stories - none of this decade anyway - I love their freedom, whimsy and freshness.

    The bonus of having your story set in a fantasy realm is it can give your themes a fresh twist. Imagine if the Fault in our Stars had taken place on another planet with two teenagers who contracted some allergy to the new planet and were doomed to die - it takes the issues of health and disease and their outcast state to new levels. But the core of the 'message'/theme is still there.
     
  5. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    I see this happening to me right now. I started a love story, only to get some practice writing scenes of relationship dynamics that would be nothing more than small subplots in my other ideas. But I am now very much attached to this new idea and find myself going back to it.
     
  6. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have a similar problem in that I really often prefer to read non-fiction over fiction. But a lot of non-fiction I read is narrative non-fiction or creative non-fiction, or memoir/biography, which all have elements that are similar to that in fiction.

    There are some authors who write in wildly different genres. Publishers often don't like it -- they like to have a single genre to sell, but it's definitely been done.
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I just wrote about a similar thought in my blog, yesterday. I hope that as long as I don't drop in a link, it's OK to just paste the whole post in here, since I think it's relevant to the thread:

    I’ve been trying to spend more time writing fiction, and less time reading and posting on forums.

    I’ve been unsuccessful. So far. But the process made me open to the realization that there’s a difference between what I want to write (or want to have written) and what I have to say. My fiction efforts have been focused on what I want to have written. My forum posts are what I have to say. And that’s why I keep pouring out the forum posts.

    This is a new realization; my hair is still damp from the bubble bath in which I realized it. But it’s one of those realizations that is so obvious, once seen, that it’s impossible to remember what I was thinking before I realized it. How could I ever not realize that my fiction writing has to be about whatever it is that I have to say?

    I suppose it's partly that I don’t like stories with conscious morals or themes. Or any intent to teach something. When that intent is detectable, I go “bleah.” When I think of fiction, I think of form and plot and characters, but not theme. I want whimsical, intricate worlds and characters, like my favorite children’s books. And I was under the mistaken impression that I could create that without actually having something to say.

    But I was confusing myself. Rumer Godden’s work, for example, doesn’t have tidy little lessons. But all the same, every one of her stories speaks to me about the longing for a place in the world. I don’t think that she sat down and decided that she was going to present us with her opinions on that subject. I think it’s just that that subject was in her, and wanted to get out.

    Even when the thoughts that drive a work aren’t thoughts that interest me, I suspect that they give the work a strength that it wouldn’t otherwise have. For example, the religious themes of The Chronicles of Narnia don’t speak to me at all, but all the same, the stories do.

    So can I write whimsical, intricate stories about dysfunction and self-delusion and betrayal? Well, I suppose that description is not entirely a mismatch to The Princess and The Caffeine and Caveat Emptor. Maybe I can.

    At least I have a clearer view to a goal.
     
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  8. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    In my opinion, you should be familiar with books in the genre you want to write in. A coming-of-age novel can certainly have fantastical elements in it, but the coming-of-age "genre" primarily focuses on the growth of a character. If you can find a way to make this a fantasy novel, great. But if you look at literary tradition, most coming-of-age novels are categorized as general fiction. I would highly recommend reading some coming-of-age stories/novels. There are many of them out there.
     
  9. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I write and publish romance and YA and NA. I didn't read any of those genres before I started writing them, and had to do a lot of reading 'homework' to learn the standards. I still read and enjoy some romance and YA, but not generally of the sort I write. (I write mostly contemporary romance, read mostly historical; write mostly romantic YA, read more 'serious' type). And I struggle to find any NA I want to read.

    Most of my reading is either literary fiction or book-club type books, plus epic fantasy. But I haven't even tried to write any of that stuff.Maybe I will someday.

    The books I produce aren't setting the world on fire, but they're selling, so... I don't think you should write a book you absolutely don't believe in (like, I'm not going to write NA with a stalker boyfriend). But I don't think there's anything wrong with writing what seems to suit your talent, and what you know you can sell.
     
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  10. Bel
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    Bel New Member

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    Thank you so much everyone for your amazing replies! I had very seriously considered giving the protagonist a supernatural bent (I love reading urban fantasy) but it just didn't fit. It just isn't going to work that way, it doesn't fit this story.

    I did read a few coming of age books a few decades ago, but nothing recently.... I think maybe I should read a few more again, but I might get a rough draft done first, so that any additional reading I do will be looking for ways to polish rather than influence the core themes too much.

    I had a long chat today with one of my best friends who is a head librarian, and she had some really good insight too, and agrees that trying to put fantasy elements into this story just isn't going to work.

    I love reading everyone's take on this and so glad I am not the only one ;0
     

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