Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by Boger, Feb 14, 2016.
I have my limitations, to me it seems romance isn't working, while I do get an idea ocassionally
Every time I sit down to write it always comes out fantasy + whatever genre I'm actually TRYING to write. I just find fantasy so fun and exciting that other genres get rather boring for me.
I usually do stuff with heavy character drama elements, often thrillers as well. I really like gritty, realistic stuff, but I also like sci-fantasy concepts as well. I always do a romantic subplot or three somewhere, almost already established couples. I have a questionably good sense of humour, but I'm getting better at writing humour, so I do spice up my stuff with laughs, and I have a few lighter hearted things which aren't quite as intense.
A year or so ago I shared with my girlfriend a fear that I was, to a greater or lesser extent, just writing the exact same book over and over again. There's certainly some truth to that, at least if you look from a certain direction. I like complex, internally conflicted characters in stressful situations of their own creation which tends to push me in a certain direction. I've never intended to write a romance but every book I've written has ended up with one in it because people who share extreme stress tend to form close bonds very quickly and need someone who understands their vulnerability. From a writers perspective that also gives up beats to punctuate the blackness and a chance for them to actually come to terms with their problems. So there's common features, certainly; damaged, lonely, unhappy people struggling to do the best they can.
I wouldn't say I find it hard to write other things. In my professional life I write voiceovers for corporate videos and that's something I do pretty well no matter how boring it is; but it's not something that engages me and I feel the same about really pushing myself to write other kinds of fiction. I'm happy to write other genres, absolutely, but it'll always have my fingerprints over it. I probably could write more traditional stuff but it doesn't really interest me.
I suppose that's where it all really lands - Yes, I think I'm quite a versatile writer. I think I can find the right voice for lots of different situations within my work; happy stuff, sad stuff, funny stuff (my first book was actually a comedy) but only really within the context of my work. I'm not versatile in the sense that I could follow someone else's story plan and really do it justice.
would you say that you enjoy writing romance so much?
I am very curious of your work because of your inspiring insights in romance. do you have a showcase?
I didn't set out to be a romance writer but I discovered I love it, and I intend to stick with the genre for novels.
I can very easily slip into other genres for short stories or when I'm asked to write something - everyone at work seems to come to me when they need something written for whatever reason.
The only two genres I'd never write in are fantasy and historical fiction. Fantasy because I find most of it incredible dull to read, and as a writer I need boundaries. The idea that I can make up anything and be all "well that's how it is in my world" doesn't appeal to me at all. Historical because I'd have to make sure every small detail was historically accurate, and I'd never get the damn thing written.
I'm not sure I could write chick-lit without a romantic plot. Well, I think I COULD write it because I love writing humor, but I don't think I'd enjoy it.
maybe not the right moment for recommendations, but Irvin D. Yalom is in my eyes a master of historical (non)fiction. made a lasting impression to me.
Oh I READ a lot of historical fiction and non-fiction. Certain periods of history fascinate me. But I know I'd never be able to write it
Fantasy and sci-fi.
Fantasy doesn't have to be wild in it's logic, you can just make your own logic. Take the Inheritance Cycle, which actually makes a coherent, believable set of rules for magic. It doesn't explain it's origin, but hey, things not being know is actually realistic anyway.
As in ones you write or ones that are hard for you?
That's exactly what I don't like about it - the ability to make my own logic. I need boundaries.
But if you make your own logic, you can use it to create boundaries. And there is almost never a denial of the our reality's rules altogether. Usually, it's just that magic allows you to break some rules when it is relevant. Again, there are plenty of somewhat realistic fantasy that follow real-world rules and have good ones for the magic stuff.
It doesn't appeal to me to do that. I'd never write a story with any kind of magic.
I definitely enjoy writing a certain kind of romance - Sort of semi-dysfunction, co-dependent, last chance, no-one else would have me, us against the world kind of romance, typically replete with hidden pockets of shame and lies that they want to come clean about but can't quite do it. Especially with the characters I like to write who are all damaged and unhappy and in pain; they sort of need someone else to help them accept themselves and find something approaching normality. Lots of crying together, lots of worrying and not talking about it until something blows up.
That stuff absolutely makes me feel great about writing stories with romance in them. I love that I can write romantic stuff that genuinely makes me cry and really does drop down into the darkest pits of anguish. I'm a firm believer in hurting my characters and the romance stuff just runs with that. Romance with real weight; where it feels genuinely life ending if it screws up. I think when I started I never imagined that romance could really do that. Like a lot of people I probably came in with a pretty low opinion of romance books, but when I (almost accidentally) started writing it, treating the relationships exactly like any other high importance plot element I found something quite different.
The thing with romance is that all the factors effecting it come from inside the characters, so it hits the characters much harder to screw up and feel rejected. It's suddenly personal. Failing at other stuff is still high stakes of course, but romance makes you incredibly vulnerable and when it doesn't go right it can (at least for my characters) cut very deep for them. It's incredibly fulfilling for me to pilot these two people together through a minefield of heartbreaks into something quite heartwarming.
Like I've said (somewhat glibly) before; I like writing because I can actually fix my characters problems. And that's very true here. I can make people who are very familiar to me and ensure they end up happy, no matter the baggage or problems they brought it. It's certainly never going to be smooth sailing but I find it very life affirming to write something where two lost people (who are of course nothing like me ) find each other. It gives us all hope.
So yeah, there's a bunch of reasons I like it. All the chance to explore characters, to push them to the brink, to make them hurt then bring them out the other side stronger. All of this stuff that I always want from anything I'm writing, and just applying that to romance make it into something that I think is so much more engaging than I ever thought it could be.
If you want to read any of my stuff send me a PM here and I'll hook you up with some stuff.
You really know how to pitch yourself! PM coming.
The ones that are hard for me.
I definitely have weaknesses. My humor's probably not very broad appeal (I mean, I make my friends laugh, so that's pretty good) and I've realized semi-recently that some of my favorite horror concepts probably wouldn't land with most people either. Unfortunately, I love horror, and I really want to write it, but I'm not easily unsettled personally and have no idea how to make something seem scary if I don't find it that way.
But I'm confident in my ability to write various types of sci-fi, strangely I've gotten positive comments on my romancey exploits (not a romantic person but apparently my character interactions in general are pretty good, so), I have a lot of fun with some types of fantasy even if I'm not the greatest, and at least some of my horror stuff hits home. The best review on that front I think I've gotten was from my equally difficult-to-rustle brother being like "yknow, it didn't bother me, but I can see how it would" - I'll take it, hahah.
I doubt anyone's going to excel at everything, but it's comforting to know that you can pick this stuff up. I literally did not understand how humor worked until a few years ago but after putting in some research and more actively paying attention to what I personally found funny, I started to feel like I had a hold on it. I'm still not great, but I'm better than I was. Study and practice'll always do it for ya.
I seem to gravitate toward fantasy (and then break that down into high fantasy, urban fantasy, Steampunk, etc; whichever fits my mood at the time) with strong elements of romance. Even when I write non-fantasy, there needs to be a romance in it. I never thought I'd love writing romance so much, especially since I feel like I'm a total potato when it comes to romance in real life!
The hardest for me to write is mystery. I just never feel like I could pull it off and make it mysterious enough.
Not really. No matter if I do drama, thriller, sci-fi or fantasy all of my stuff comes out with a strange twist. But I'm hopeful that this will just turn out to be my style rather than a limitation.
I think my lack of versatility comes from my own thinking. If I create a dark situation I tend to move about in the irony of it rather than the dark side of it. I like to temper things with humor, irony or pathos.
And for that - a by the books romance probably won't be in my future. Though I do like reading them. If I did attempt one I would probably turn the heroine into a 6 foot hulk who wants to be seen as dainty and be recused by the hero while the hero would be a five foot four shrimp who struggles to live up to her expectations. Or something like that.
I have never tried humor, I think it would be abyssal bad
And I think I wouldn't be able to write a peachy pink story. No matter how hard I try, there is always a kind of dark in or behind it. I just love contrasting light events with the immediate preceeding scene depicting the menace about to pounce! Or the other way round
With all due respect, but - this is a compliment - by the looks of it you seem versatile as a writer by any means.
And if you mean that your tone tends to be ironic when you intend to create a dark atmosphere, remember that irony can be a very effective tool to create just that.
Thank you, Boger!
I've come to be okay with the irony creeping in. It used to annoy me in the late 90s. And I attempted to do a few straightforward novels but they just didn't work out.
I'm new as a person who writes, but I have always been someone who is a natural story teller, so I've been told. I was encouraged from all my co-workers, family and friends to follow my dreams and tell stories. A guy a work said to me one day "you make a trip to the grocery store sound like a Metallica concert, fully and completely entertaining from begging to end!" So for me I realized, for myself, that subject matter was not nearly as important to the reader or the audience then the story itself and how it is being told. So if the genre of the story is unfamiliar to me it just means more work on my part getting the little things correct. If that makes any sense, and that's just how it is for me, I know other people write and see things different.
I've been told to become a comedian, but I just made fun of the idea.
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