1. loomingtale
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    loomingtale Member

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    How do you know which genre is suitable for you?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by loomingtale, May 13, 2012.

    I am clueless! I have tried writing short stories and essays, but for some reason I don't feel comfortable writing them. I want to write I just don't know what and in which genre! :confused: Did anyone of you have this problem? Any suggestions?

    Also,
    Can anyone recommend me a grammar book. I don't need the "best" one out there, I just need a simple, standard book that would silence my inner critic. I have this inferiority complex about my grammar(am I the only one who's self-conscious about grammar?) Preferably, a book for writers.

    Thanks
     
  2. C.B Harrington
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    C.B Harrington Member

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    My suggestion is to not try and define your writing as a new writer. Get comfortable with expressing ideas through characters. Don't worry about lots of description or internal monologues, just write it.

    Do a few writing exercises just for fun, see where they take you. For instance, start with a single simple sentence in the third person omniscient.

    John enjoys walking through the park.

    Then take that sentence and add to it little by little.

    John enjoys walking through the park on Sunday afternoons.
    John enjoys walking through the park on Sunday afternoons; when the sun is shining and the birds are chirping.
    John enjoys walking through the park on Sunday afternoons; when the sun is shining and the birds are chirping. It always reminded him of the time he spent with his wife.


    Just keep going and see where the story of John in the park takes you. Always write the sentence again from the beginning, don't just copy and paste it. This allows your mind to think about what happens next without you knowing it, and will develop your ability to free write.
     
  3. erik martin
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    erik martin Contributing Member

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    I like Rules for Writers by Diana Hacker. As for your first issue, practice is the best thing you can do to become comfortable writing. I suggest reading a lot to get a feel for how things are written. Also, joining a group or taking a class where you are doing writing exercises can be helpful. I used to like to take something ordinary, like the empty water bottle sitting next to me, and write two or three pages describing it. Writing a blog can be a good way to practice as well.
     
  4. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    don't worry about genre. write what you feel like writing. i am also a first time writer. my first attempt at a novel is and horror adventure political mystery romance, so yeah. just do what you feel like writing.
     
  5. J. Coffison
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    J. Coffison New Member

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    Most of the better stories tend to be a mash up of various genres- thats how the term 'Dramedy' was born in movie land. It's best not to write something in an attempt to fit it into a specific genre, but the other way around. At least, I think so- anyway.
     
  6. Lazy
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    Lazy Banned

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    I don't want to sound too negative but if you're not comfortable writing, you're probably not a writer. But if you need somewhere to start, look at the stories that you enjoy most, see what they have in common, and try to emulate that (put your own spin on it though, of course).

    As for a grammar book, you don't need it. If a sentence sounds good, it is good. The technicalities are for linguists, not writers.
     
  7. John Eff
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    John Eff Member

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    What genre do you read/enjoy? If a large cross-section, what genre do you read/enjoy most?
     
  8. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    Just write the ideas that come into your head, and see what genres they turn out to be.

    Regarding grammar, if you're a fluent English speaker, you'll probably have a pretty strong intuitive sense of proper English grammar. Real grammar isn't taught in school - it's what we're learning when we say 'haded' and then eventually figure out that it's 'had'. Mostly all you need to know about grammar, you've figured out by the time you enter kindergarten.

    Now, spelling and punctuation are more tricky.
     
  9. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I'd agree with John. Write what you know as they say. And what you know is the stuff that you read, the stuff that you enjoy. So if you like reading it, you should like writing it, and that makes the whole thing a whole lot easier.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  10. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I'd agree with John. Write what you know as they say. And what you know is the stuff that you read, the stuff that you enjoy. So if you like reading it, you should like writing it, and that makes the whole thing a whole lot easier.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  11. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    You'll never find out until you start writing. So, start writing whatever you have in mind right now, start reading stories in different genre in here, review them, and then one day, lightning will flash (or, may be not :)) and you will know what you want to write.
     
  12. Batgoat
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    Batgoat Senior Member

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    Just write. And let the people who put your published work on the shelf in the store, or at the library decide how to categorise your work.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Also, do experiment with other genres. You may learn you have a knack and an interest you never suspected. At the very least, it will expose you to different styles of writing, and that can only enrich your writing.
     
  14. Dryriver
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    Dryriver Senior Member

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    My advice would be to steer away from "Genre" writing altogether. Genre will lock you into a box that makes you emulate other "Genre-written" examples.

    Don't do that. Be original in your plot. Be original in your characters. Be original in your settings and actions. Be original in your writing style.

    And you will likely win as a result.

    You can think about what "Genre" your book falls into - if any - after you have completed it.

    Good luck,

    Dryriver
     
  15. MissRis
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    MissRis Contributing Member

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    What do you like to read? I would never write crime/mystery fiction -- it's not my preferred genre to read. My shelves (of my non-school books) are filled with YA paranormal/fantasy type books. They're fun and some are really well written (Divergent - Veronica Roth, bothe of Cassandra Clare's series, etc.) I've read a lot of different genres, but when I'm looking for something fun I always go back to YA -- so that's what I decided to write.
     
  16. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Several people have already suggested, "Write what you read." That's basically good advice. Some people, however, love to read - mysteries, let's say. But they cannot write them, however their minds are always running with questions about other worlds and "what ifs" of space men and mystery planets. They are certainly better suited to writing sci fi than basic mysteries even though their reading preference is for the latter.

    I never think about the genre in which I am writing. I just take the basic idea running around in my head and write the story. It quickly decides for itself (or I do subconsciously) into what genre it is going to fall. That, of course, means I write in a variety of genres depending on my mood, mindset, and the basic story premise on which I am working at any given time.

    Also, some people simply are not well-suited to writing one particular form or another. Your mind, for instance, simply may not work in the context of short stories but it is simply flowing with concepts and full-blown ideas for novels. Or perhaps you are more suited to screenplay format. Play with different forms and genres and find your niche, if you have one.

    As far as grammar is concerned, as others have also already pointed out, if you have a good grasp of English/American language, you are probably not going to have too many problems with the language. There are some hiccups, of course, such as C.B's sample sentence, above.

    In this case, C.B has used a semi-colon to join an independant and a dependant clause. (A semi-colon is used to join two independant clauses and, in this case, he should have used a comma.) [Sorry to single you out, C.B, but your sentence was an available and immediate reference.] These are things which seem to be common problems and are always going to crop up here and there.

    There is no single grammar book to "cure" this problem. And, unfortunately, the inner critic is also an incurable disease. It's sort of like tinnitus, there is little you can do to silence the bugger. You just have to learn to live with it and ignore it as much as possible. There are some books which, imo, no writer's library should be without. Starting with CMS and Strunk & White's Elements of Style. For me, a good, dead tree copy of a high level dictionary is also indispensable. Yes, I know you can check it all online but sometimes I just like the feel of a hard copy book in my hands. (I have six, actually, but half of them are in second languages.)

    Finally, give yourself brownie points for spelling "grammar" correctly [as opposed to "gramm-e-r", which I see too often (Sorry, folks. It's the grammar Nazi in me.]. Based on the structure and presentation of your OP, I'm guessing you don't really have too many problems with your writing. Your 'inner critic' is mostly an idiot which you can safely ignore 90 percent of the time.

    As to which 10 percent you need to heed? You're on your own on that one. I'm still trying to figure that part out for myself!
     
  17. loomingtale
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    loomingtale Member

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    Thanks a bunch!

    @All:
    Thank you all! This community is very welcoming. I was worried about genre because I had read in 'The Forest for the Trees' that most writers write in one or two genres. I wanted to pin them down :p

    I read fiction (only character driven fiction, classics mostly), psychological and philosophical non-fiction (Alain de Botton), anything Malcolm Gladwell-ish and essays all the way.

    @Killbill:
    I think you have a point. I write sporadically and this one time when I wrote an essay with focus and my god did I enjoy it!

    @Lazy:
    I had these doubts that I am not a writer. Trust me, this is the only thing right in my life. Writing, no matter how hard, more than breaks even with the fun I get from it.

    @Cog:
    That's what I have decided to do. Thanks :) (Has anyone told you look like Tony Robbins?)


    @Thewordsmith:
    Thanks for that lovely reply. I am keeping my mind open. I didn't want to experiment with a lot genres, but I guess I'll have to do this if I am to go anywhere in my writing.

    I own almost every essential book for writers: Strunk & White, CMS, APA, Fowler and a few grammar books. I have completely switched to Merriam-Webster's and I have to say it is the best dictionary out there.

    Actually, my insecurity lead me to scurry through punctuation books and other texts. I didn't learn the craft and I suspect I haven't done the most critical part: Writing :(
     
  18. JonSpear360
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    JonSpear360 Member

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    I agree with most of the posts, just start writing! It doesn't matter. Which ever story you write will be the genre it was supposed to be. Unless you are a professional writer whose audience expects a certain style, play with it! My first was paranormal/suspense, my second was romance, and my third was sci-fi/crime. Just write and you'll figure it out. GOOD LUCK! :)
     

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