Saturday, 14 June 2014

Writing a Book - Choosing a Genre

This depends whether you are writing for you own gratification or whether you want to make money. Let's start with writing because you want to, first of all.

In may case I was motivated to write because I truly enjoyed fantasy. I was totally captivated by worlds others had created and really enjoyed the escapism fantasy gave me. Now I'm older, I think I could equally enjoy writing historical fiction. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy reading many other genres and there are cracking tales in each. However, for some reason, few of these genres would make me want to write in the same way that fantasy does.

Choose a genre that inspires you. To write you need passion to flow from the pages. You need to engage your reader with a well thought out tale. If it doesn't inspire you, then it is unlikely to inspire your reader. You need to be coming home and rushing to the word-processor to capture the next chapter, rather than sitting there thinking -- where is this tale going and trying to force it? Picking the right genre  will help to achieve this, so think hard about which genre moves you most and that is likely to be your best bet to succeed.

Short Stories. As I mentioned in my previous blog - Writing a Book - How to Start - start with short stories in your early stages. That will really help you decide if your chosen genre is for you. If, as an example, you find yourself writing about spacemen and it feels silly, then Sci Fi isn't your genre. if the writing flows and feels correct then you have the correct area for you.

Creativity is another key to writing. That may also be a guide to your best genre. If you have a truly inspirational idea then try working with that. It's interesting, as an author, that when you write the ideas sometimes flow as if from nowhere. One good idea could unfold into a significant tale, by the time you have decided how the tale reached that point, the characters, their lives and aspirations. The idea may not be in a genre that you are used to, but with the right amount of creativity you could find a tale growing with no real knowledge on where the roots are.

Mood. This is a difficult one as your mood changes. Dark Fantasy, a Gritty Detective, a Failed Romance may all seem great choices on one day, but maintaining that could be hard. Don't force it, and see where the tale progresses. Equally a light hearted romp may flow to the page on some occasions and yet feel forced on others.

Real Life. Your life experience will help you to write and that may influence your choice of genre. This is key to writing a good tale; you write best about things that you know about. How can that to help write fantasy or sci-fi, after all how many people have been in a rocket or flown on dragon back? It's the small experiences that help, so don't be put off. How you feel when you are physically exhausted, on top of a mountain, falling down a mountain (hopefully not), been punched (accidentally??), will all come alive on a page if you know how these all felt. If you do martial arts, mountaineering, scuba-diving, flying etc then these are experience that you can transfer thoughts to page with a flourish. as an example having undertaken mountaineering can translate to a Roman trudging across a Scottish Ben, martial arts to a gladiator trying to summon strength from the pit of despair, flying to a dragon ride with the dragon plummeting to earth and the rider's stomach clenched in fear...and so on.

Homework. Some genres can be hard to write, as you really need to do some homework. A historical fiction wouldn't sound right with Nero fiddling as Venice burned, for many reasons. Homework is a key driver and needs to be done well. Some genres need a lot of groundwork, others need less, but still need to have an element of belief about them.

Making money. I left this to last as there is no magic genre that will sell your book. A good choice of genre and passion that flows from that is far more likely to sell books. Some of the biggest money spinners simply appeared against the flow of current fads. Harry Potter was fresh and invigorating and no one would have predicted fantasy could reach a new high at the time that it did. Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code was another that hit stunning heights, and again couldn't have been predicted. The common theme in each case was a well written book.

Some genre's may appear saturated with lots of authors writing in these fields, but a well written book will push these all to one side in a volcanic miasma as it powers its way to the top, just as Dan Brown and J K Rowling achieved.

Good luck and good writing

David

Tops for Writing a Book - How to Self Publish
Should You Pay for a Review -- yes or no?
Making Your Writing Interesting
My top tips
How to Start writing a Book?
Creating a Plot for Your Book

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