Discover your writing, don’t hobble it

Hobble

What do you write? Romance, Mystery, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Comedy, or maybe a subgenre of one of these.

What do you write? Short Story, Novel, Poetry, Flash Fiction or maybe an Epic.

If you only picked one item from each list, you just hobbled yourself. You put an invisible rope around your feet that only allows you small area to roam. I know I did it to myself. I would proclaim to anyone who would listen, that I was a Romance writer of full-length novels.

But I feel every writer is a multi-genre author if they only cut that invisible rope in their mind.

I was so focused on my novel series that I let many an idea slip through my fingers. Then one day I had thought about a conversation I’d had at the end of a writers group meeting. It refused to go away as many before had. So, to get it out of my head, I wrote it.

That story had no romance in it whatsoever. It was a dark comedy, short story. I presented it to my critique group and they tore it apart, but were very encouraging too. When the group decided to produce an anthology, I submitted the piece. Then the three members who were in my story wrote retaliatory pieces, which are all in the anthology.

Check out ‘A Murder of Authors’ the four part series at the end. Tales of the Forest

The next opportunity I had to write something different was a challenge on an author website, which is not around anymore. The challenge was to write a 500-word piece in which someone must dance. Wala! I wrote my first Flash Fiction piece.

When my father past away, the only thing that helped me express myself was poetry. Some of the poetry is sad, but some is joyful. Writing helped me deal with a loss and I will always be grateful for that.

Recently I saw an advertisement for submissions for the Chicken Soup for The Soul series. One of the books is about ‘My Crazy Family’ and a story from my past instantly came to mind. Now I have another comedic short story ready for submission.

Now don’t get me wrong. My passion is still Futuristic Romance novels.

But now I know that I can write something else. I’m no longer stuck in my little area only focusing on one thing. The other benefit is that some of that comedy can leak into my novels giving lighthearted moments for my characters to enjoy themselves.

Consider your writing. Are you hobbled, or are you free to roam the genres? If you’re free, what other area would you like to explore?

pexels-photo-220147

Advertisements

Craft of Writing

I’ve read it time and time again… you must first know the rules before you can break them. Writing is no different.

But what are the rules and where can I find them?

To answer the first part… it varies. I know that isn’t exactly helpful.

Immediately after I wrote the question, I looked on Google for ‘fiction writing rules’. A boatload of articles came up, touting 5, 7, 10, 16 rules. I even found ‘60 rules for Short SciFi/Fantasy’… if it’s short, why do you need 60 rules? Really.

Some examples:

  • Show, don’t tell
  • Write what you know
  • Don’t use the passive voice
  • Choose A Point of View (POV)
  • Create three-dimensional characters
  • Finish everything you start
  • Emulate the Masters

The answer to the second part of that question… everywhere. Books, blogs, articles, essays, quotes, etc.

Now for my take on this.

Search, peruse, read, and read some more. Find what works for you. I checked out a book, which came highly recommended on the art of writing. The author was a professor with a MFA and his introduction insinuated that only degreed writers could really write and claimed that emulating the Masters was the only way to go. I forced myself to read part of the first chapter before I sent it back.

I continued to search other books, many with the same adherence to the adages of ‘write what you know’, ‘choose a single POV’, and/or ‘emulate the masters’. One of my problems is that we no longer live in an age where Melville’s Moby Dick would be published. I did not read it in school; I listened to an unabridged audio of it about ten years ago. It was the most boring story I had ever listened to. At this day in age, an editor would have had him cut a good third of the story with all the whaling industry details. Then cut it again to show more emotion.

New generations of readers

pexels-photo-374912

We as writers now must cater to the MTV/Live Streaming generation. We cannot wax poetic for multiple pages on the beauty of a flower.

Luckily, I finally found an author of murder mysteries whose book on the craft hit a cord with me when he said ‘emulating the Masters’ causes a writer to lose their contemporary voice. His book is the meat and potatoes I was looking for.

Find a Master of your own choosing and read them. Look to see how your favorite authors follow or break the rules.

My study of the craft

The first rule I broke was ‘write what you know’. My current series is set in Earth’s future and on seven planets across the galaxy. In a recently published short story, I killed off and disposed of the bodies of three writers who are in the critique group I belong to. These are all my imagining, for I don’t have a TARDIS and those three writers are all alive and well today… I promise. Many writers do research or dream up what they write.

‘Finish everything you start’, if I’m blocked, or playing with a fanfiction piece, I can set it away and come back to it later or never. Sometimes you realize what you wrote is crap. So why continue to write something that is not going anywhere and is only wasting your writing time? I save it and someday I can dust it off and find that nugget buried in all the refuge.

Continue to learn or you become stagnate.

pexels-photo-256455

I study the craft because I want my work to be the best it can be when I release it out into the world. I don’t want to just play at this, but have a second career in writing.

 

  • Read
  • It’s never too late to start
  • Find your Tribe
  • Craft of Writing

Just a note I am participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month. My goal is a 20K novella. Help me remain accountable… ask about my progress.