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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

I'm in one of those places I don't like being in, trying to decide what to do next. That is, what to work on next. I've decided to shelve my two WIPs for now. I've worked on them so much, I'm too close to them and, frankly, kind of tired of them. I want to move on to something new. But what?

I'm looking into some kind of genre writing. Serious fiction just doesn't sell. While I write for more reasons than to try to make money--I do enjoy writing for it's own sake--I also want to see my work published and read by a decent number of people. It's a lonely occupation. Having a book purchased and read by more than one or two people, I mean, maybe by thousands or hundreds of thousands of people is a kind of group hug. I'm sure it gives a writer a warm feeling knowing people enjoy his work and respect it enough to keep up with his publications. It's a warm feeling if even one person does, so it must be exponentially warming if more people do.

Of course, a writer has to earn it. There's no easy way that I know of. It only looks easy. It ain't. Not for me, at least.

So, what to do next? I'm reading books on writing in different genres. I'm trying to apply some stories I've already thought about to the genres they seem to belong to, and see if I can come up with something. It's a tough assignment. My previous plots don't fall easily into any specific genre. I may have to try to create something brand new (from my point of view). I've been reading about plotting from fairy tales, Bible stories, mythology, and other subjects trying to discover what interests me. I've hit on a couple of things, but not strongly enough to wrap me up, at this point.

Perhaps solving this dilemma is one of the reasons writing is such a challenge, and so rewarding. Hitting upon something that works is exciting.

Is this something you struggle with? If you already have your genre chosen, how does it feel, and how do you come up with new plots, characters, etc.?

16 comments:

Michael Offutt, Speculative Fiction Author said...

I have various outlets for my writing. I presently have two kinds of stories going. One is my sci-fi one that I am publishing through a small press. The other is a fantasy one that I'm just throwing up on a free online site. And I get more fanmail from my free fantasy offering than from the other one. And I'm going to publish a short story again once I finish it. I've given myself the deadline for the short story to be completed by October of 2013. That gives me plenty of time to polish it.

What I recommend is to explore all of your options. Not everything needs to be represented by an agent and published by the Big 5. The sooner you start getting stuff out there, the sooner you can answer questions about what you want from your writing.

Richard said...

Michael, thank you for the advice. I definitely need to look at more options than just the one way I've been stuck on doing things. Experimentation may be in order.
Thanks again.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I write science fiction - space opera, and outside of fantasy, I wouldn't know what else to write. They are my favorite genres to read, which made writing them easy.

Lydia Kang said...

I love writing YA, but within YA I enjoy historical, sci-fi, and urban fantasy. I also write nonfiction and poetry. Lots of outlets!

Lea said...

I love to write but I must admit I don't write stories. I just do regular blogging. I agree when you said hitting upon something that work is exciting. I experienced it when doing experiments in the laboratory, when optimizing protocols. It applies to all. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Lea said...

I love to write but I must admit I don't write stories. I just do regular blogging. I agree when you said hitting upon something that work is exciting. I experienced it when doing experiments in the laboratory, when optimizing protocols. It applies to all. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Rachna Chhabria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachna Chhabria said...

I write Middle Grade (ages 8 to 14). Last month I wrote few Picture books (stories for younger kids within 600 words).

Try writing a few short stories to break the monotony.

Lynda R Young said...

I maintain a book of ideas. When I have an idea pop in from outa the blue, I'll write it down. When I'm ready to start a new project, I refer to my notebook. :)

Good luck with finding your next story idea.

Julia Hones said...

My inspiration to write comes mainly from reading authors that I enjoy. So that is what I do. I read what I love and I write accordingly. Good luck with your new ideas!

Jeff Hargett said...

I would love to see you take on something based in mythology. I have a feeling you would do that sort of tale justice and from a unique point of view.

For me, if it's novel length then it's fantasy. Period. If it's short then everything's fair game.

Tanya Reimer said...

I kinda get an idea and wait until I can't hold it in anymore. Who knows what genre will come out?

Elise Fallson said...

For me it started with one scene that would not let me go until I wrote it down. Then I just kept adding to it. I didn't think about genre I just had to get the scene down and go with it. Have you tired some flash fiction? Sometimes that helps generate ideas and may help narrow things down for you. Good luck, Richard!

Donna K. Weaver said...

Good luck. Follow what you love to do. It will show up in the end product.

Valentina Hepburn said...

I get so many ideas and potential titles hurling themselves at me I don't have enough time to explore them all. I don't worry about genres - the story and characters are the most important thing for me.
I can get an idea from any situation and I include many of them in the manuscript I'm working on at the time. Go with your gut!

Richard said...

It sounds like many of you are not limiting yourselves to the genre lable. You write what you like and it is what it is.

I'm grateful for all your comments.