1. inkdreams

    inkdreams New Member

    Apr 18, 2019
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    Choosing A Genre To Write?

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by inkdreams, Apr 22, 2019.

    I need advice and help because this is kind of stressing me out. I have no idea what fiction genre to write.

    • I don't want to write romance because I have no experience with this in real life.
    • I don't want to write realistic fiction because it gets boring to me
    • I don't know anything about sci-fi it doesn't interest me
    • Fantasy is too much wordbuilding for me
    • I thought I might write horror or paranormal fiction but I'm really unsure. my sister told me I shouldn't write it because I'm a Christian. And I'm feeling conflicted.
    • Historical fiction. I am not interested in history and it has to be accurate

    How did you choose a genre to write personally? Any tips or advice for me?

    I enjoy reading realistic and fantasy books and manga. But I don't want to write fantasy or realistic.

    Does anyone else have this problem?
    Alan Aspie likes this.
  2. MusingWordsmith

    MusingWordsmith Shenanigan Master Contributor

    Oct 13, 2016
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    Somewhere Over the Rainbow

    Hello! Fellow Christian here! I have also had that same problem of 'I want to write this but I don't feel like I should, as a Christian'. My solution was to pray about it, and say 'if I shouldn't write it, take the desire to write it away, if not, I'm going to assume it's okay'. From my POV, what you should/shouldn't do is between you and the Lord, and it's not your sister's place to say things like that.

    Some more general advice: Maybe not worry about genre so much for right now? What story do you want to tell? Just tell that and if you wanna throw in a little magic, or sci-fi, or w/e, go for it! Don't get hung up on making the first draft 'right'-- the first draft I completed, I looked back and realized I didn't actually like the story. Second draft is so vastly different to the point of basically being a second first draft, but that's all right! I've learned some stuff about my process.
  3. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Jul 7, 2016
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    It seems like the horror genre is the only one really calling you. I say go for it. I bet you can find a way to do it without feeling like it's conflicting with your values and beliefs. It's fiction and not meant to compete with religion. I doubt anything you write will turn people away from God. Or toward God, for that manner. I've played around with some horror and none of my stories have even introduced religion or spirituality. They're just stories. Of course, you've got to be comfortable with what you write, but I don't think any God would be mad at someone for writing a slasher or zombie story. Because you believe in God, I'm guessing you see writing as a gift. Well, use that gift. Also, it's pretty easy to write something and delete it or take things in another direction.
    frigocc likes this.
  4. Matt E

    Matt E Ruler of the planet Omicron Persei 8 Contributor

    Sep 7, 2014
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    Write about what interests you. Don’t think about the genres, that’s just the bookshelf you put your work on once it’s finished. You don’t have to fit into anyone else’s box. Make your own. And if people don’t want to buy the book then just bank that experience then rinse & repeat until you have something that works.

    Morals are important. Don’t write anything that feels wrong to you. But also don’t let others define what you believe in, just based on the things that they personally don’t like
  5. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

    Jul 29, 2013
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    How about Christian horror/paranormal?
  6. Selbbin

    Selbbin The Moderating Cat Staff Contributor

    Oct 16, 2012
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    Genre's are for those selling the books, not writing them.

    Write the book, and then figure out what genre it fits into.
  7. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Jul 17, 2008
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    I agree with Selbbin. The hardest part of writing (in my opinion) is actually finishing a piece. Even if you have a particular genre in mind while writing, a publisher may decide to change that, so don't worry about that now.
    Shenanigator likes this.
  8. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

    Aug 8, 2015
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    In the real world, being Christian doesn't save anyone from the horrors of life. All it does is color how they think about and react the things that happen. You can write horror compliant with the Christian worldview by writing characters who act and think in a Christian way.

    If you include supernatural elements, just base it on what is permitted in Catholicism and Pentecostalism, because it is pretty wide open. If God or angels show up to save the day, that's whatever. If they don't, then it's still whatever because the MC was being tested and they can just go to heaven. Good doesn't have to respond, in this life, to evil--even supernatural evil.

    I think there is a market for harsh horror / thrillers with blood and death and sex and cussing, but with sympathetic Christian characters who act Christian. A lot of the time, books with Christian characters are either deconstructing the futile nature of reality, or an Aesop about how avoiding sin makes your life better, but stories that have mainstream or high concept plots, that also include an honest and sympathetic Christian person, are a little more rare.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
    GB reader, Alan Aspie and Partridge like this.
  9. Partridge

    Partridge Senior Member

    May 30, 2017
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    Cambridgeshire, UK
    Let your genre find you.
    What you makes you angry? What makes you passionate? What interests you? What people interest you?
    Write the book you want to write. If this is a first novel, a first toe dip in the water, take the pressure of yourself. Loosen up and just enjoy writing for writing's sake.

    That was how I ended up writing noir/dark humor. I just let my keyboard go wild, and a year later, I had a genre.

    Deciding if you should write because of your faith, however? Only you can answer that. My only advice is to follow your gut instinct.
  10. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Banned Contributor

    Jul 31, 2018
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    1. The story starts to develop. First there is less than fistful of seeds. Ideas about characters, storyworld, plot..

    I write those down in single "paper” which I call idea paper. I let them sprout in that paper and in my mind.

    Some of the seeds die. Some of them start to push new green growth. Those I take apart. I plant them to they own pots. I call those pots papers. Character papers. Storyworld paper. Plot papers / beat sheets... At this point I make those papers their own file.

    I might get new seeds. I do the same to them. I write them down and let them sprout.

    When / if I start to seriously write that story, I do all this to other seeds. I keep up rotation.

    Just now my farm looks like this:

    - WIP: Sh. Story has 56 600+ words. Background material is 147 pages.
    - Stress writing: 71 200+ words.
    - AP: FSD 195 pages + 12 papers
    - 18 book/movie/tv-series files
    - Bunch of smaller ideas/developmental work.
    (I write in Finnish. If you multiply word counts with 1.3 you find out how many words in English it would be.)


    An old scifi/fantasia manuscript from 90's. It visited 7 publishing houses. Two took it to the final stage but did not publish. And that was the right decision. But this is still in the farm because there is a possibility of rewriting it as an ebook.

    So... My way is to pregrow so much things that feed my imagination, that I can choose what to write.

    I don't think I'm writing a book. I think I'm writing a writing life, a career, a way of living.

    2. Tips?

    - Let your characters lead you.
    - Let your imagination lead you.
    - Let your interests lead you.
    - Let your emotions lead you.
    - Let your feelings lead you.
    - Let your own character flaws & need to grow lead you.
    - Let your research and background work lead you.
    - Let your reading lead you.
    - Let your life lead you.
    - Let different kind of inspirational incidents lead you.
    - Let your creativity lead you.
    - Write what you know emotionally.


    LoaDyron and Zombie Among Us like this.
  11. Mr Novelist

    Mr Novelist Banned

    Jan 28, 2019
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    Just write whatever genre works for you. No need to fret about it.
    LoaDyron and Alan Aspie like this.
  12. mihaiwords

    mihaiwords New Member

    Apr 17, 2019
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    Mystery, comedy, maybe? I'd suggest a brainstorm session, just write whatever comes in mind, or at hand, and see where the flow takes you. Premade things are not always a good solution. Plus, write with your heart, first and foremost.
    LoaDyron and Alan Aspie like this.
  13. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

    Sep 6, 2014
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    I disagree with the suggestions to just write and figure the genre out later, if your main goal is to write something that will sell. But there are lots of other goals you might have with your writing - exploration and learning, self-expression, etc. - and for those goals I agree that it makes sense to just get something down on the page and see where it takes you.

    Since it sounds like you're in the early stages of writing and are therefore unlikely to write anything sellable right away anyhow, why don't you just explore? I don't think there's anything intrinsically incompatible between horror and Christianity - I suppose it's the supernatural element of horror you're trying to avoid, but non supernatural horror is definitely possible (Cujo, Misery, Blood Meridian, Red Dragon, etc.). Or are you trying to avoid something else in the name of Christianity? I'm not clear on that part.
    deadrats likes this.
  14. Radrook

    Radrook Banned Contributor

    Aug 14, 2010
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    Christians are advised to keep a distance from the paranormal because it is associated with the demonic.
  15. LoaDyron

    LoaDyron Contributor Contributor

    Oct 27, 2018
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    Hello, friend.:superhello:

    I know what is like to be a Christian and be conflicted with stuff that was merely a curiosity or that I liked at that time. However, only you know what in the end you will decide. But let me give this as advice. The reason for you writing about paranormal that's what will not put yourself in trouble. You are doing something that you enjoy, and you shouldn't make private yourself from that.

    Try to find some balance, and comfort in what you are interested in writing. Knowledge is good for you to have your horizons open and keep yourself to be Christian at the same time. You will have to search for whatever you will write, and eventually, you will find stuff that will make you uncomfortable. And that's good, why? Because every time you comfort yourself with material that will make you scared, in the future, you will be a better and strong person. Don't read this last part as an attempt for you to lose your faith; on the contrary, keep your it.

    However, if you still think that will make your situation even worse than writing romance. Yes, you don't have experience but if you know someone that does, why not investigate? Ask your mother, your father, sister maybe? Or even friends. Or how about comedy? Surely Christians can do that? Just don't limit yourself because it will create stress in you, and that's not healthy in many levels even spiritual levels.

    I hope this helps. Don't give up! :superagree:
  16. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Contributor

    Jan 25, 2016
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    For me finding a genre was easy. I have always loved fantasy and writing it is fun for me. That said, I stink at world building, and that's okay; not every fantasy book has a bunch of world building in it. What I need to add into it I can add after the first draft, when my alpha and beta readers say, "This needs more info."

    If you are interested in writing fantasy, don't let world building intimidate you. "Fantasy" isn't a synonym for "extensive world-building;" you can have one without the other, and if all else fails, you can always set it in the real world and just add a fantastical twist (I did this in my short story).

    As for your interest in horror and paranormal, that's between you and God to decide if it's okay. Personally I don't think He'd have a problem with it--depending on what you actually write, of course, but that goes for all genres. In both of my completed stories there's a dragon, and in fact my WIP is all about a dragon main character. In my completed short story there's a character girl who has horns on her head. She's not a demon or an evil menace, but a lot of Christians are against good-guy humanoid characters having horns, and some believe that dragons are inherently bad/evil and shouldn't be in stories unless they're villains.

    And that's okay. They believe what they feel God placed on their hearts, which is exactly what I'm doing. There's a reason the girl in my short story has horns and I've never believed that dragons are evil and there's nothing in the Bible that says they are. I'm doing what I think is okay to write without compromising my Christian beliefs.

    The most important thing in all of this is to write something that won't compromise your relationship with God. Even if He doesn't mind you writing something, if that something brings guilt and shame to you and causes you to turn away and hide from Him, you shouldn't write it. He will help you find something you're comfortable with.

    If you do decide to write horror/paranormal please do not be surprised or upset if your sister doesn't read your stories. She, too, has to do what's right in her eyes, and something that doesn't bother your relationship with God might distress hers.
    MusingWordsmith likes this.
  17. Ledbetter

    Ledbetter New Member

    May 25, 2019
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    Hey there. New member here but I've been writing for years. To me it's kind of like Harry Potters wand. You don't choose the wand...it chooses you. I didn't realize I absolutely love hard thrillers until I completed my first Thriller screenplay. I always thought comedy would be my strong suit. But man, when I got deep into the thriller genre, I could write for hours in an almost stream of conscious state. It wasn't work.
    Alan Aspie likes this.
  18. cosmic lights

    cosmic lights Contributor Contributor

    Aug 30, 2018
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    Norwich, UK
    My advice would be write what you want not what someone tells you to or not to.

    You could write Supernatural fiction/thriller. Have you even seen the movies "Bless the Child"? It's a thriller movie all about crime and religion god vs the devil. If you're old enough, take a look at it. Very good film.
    Horror is an option
    Alan Aspie likes this.
  19. Bluedango

    Bluedango Member

    May 5, 2019
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    Reading suggested titles is more of a chore than inspiration if you ask me, especially if they do not interest me, to begin with. Why not start with something you are interested in right now? I meself started with shite what-if scenarios on video games I played back in college, then it devolved into obsessive fanfics posts on Gamefaqs. I just pointed out their limitations and things I find stupidly inconsistent with the games and some weeks later I thought to meself, "I wasted my time here complaining about stuff, so why not write a good one I can be happy with?" And that's how I ended up writing.
  20. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

    Nov 30, 2006
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    Ohio, USA
    Write mysteries or action/adventure, or techno-thrillers.

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