Friday, June 3, 2011

Day 272 - Discomfort and Growth

Everything I write always ends up being adventure romance. I try and write a hardcore science fiction novel? It turns out to be an adventure romance. I try and write a literary novel set in WWII Australia? It becomes an adventure romance.

There's nothing wrong per se with writing what you're comfortable with. After all, it is most likely you are drawn to a genre because you love it, and that passion will come through in your writing. But at the same time, I can't help but feel it's important to cross-train, like a swimmer doing weights to increase muscle mass, or a footballer doing dancing to improve their footwork.

So in the spirit of becoming the strongest writer I can be, I have been trying to write more outside the adventure romance field - specifically, I have been trying to write horror short stories.

There's only one problem. I get scared thinking of plots.

Seriously, I chose a magazine that has a monthly theme and started to work up ideas for an entry that would work in well with the theme. I came up with something that is perfect, but it makes me feel icky even thinking about it. A fellow Twitter devotee suggested that good horror came from a place you were scared of, but that doesn't help when the block you put up to stop yourself feeling bad gets in the way of the actual writing.

I'm going to steam ahead with it and see how it turns out. I'd be interested to know - do you have troubles with some genres? Or are you obsessed with the one genre and never want to leave?

Word count - 1,675


  1. I love reading romances, but I don't have the talent for writing them --- my attempts all end up as cliched schlock. My characters get together, sometimes, but it's secondary (or even tertiary) to the plot. Interesting block I have there . . . :)

    I'm toying with trying a sort of con-man in King Arthur's Court (if King Arthur had lived in 15th Century Moorish Spain), because as much as I love my scam artists, I still love fantasy. But I don't know if I have the talent for that, either. . .

  2. That sounds absolutely awesome! When you write it you must promise to make me your beta reader ^_^

    And I say "when" because 1) I believe you have the talent and 2) rewriting makes us all look good! *lol*

  3. I was obsessed with epic fantasy and while I had short stories pubbed, I never could come up with a non-cliche plot for the longest time. The one time I finally did (for an historical fantasy), I wrote myself into a corner I couldn't back out of. I have an "historical" voice, I think, that I'm most comfortable with. But the ms I'm shopping now is a near-future with a contemporary voice and it seems to be working too. That was my "stretch" exercise.

    My hardest genre is romance. My latest WIP is a romance (historical fantasy subgenre -- not the work mentioned above), but I can't get into the conventions demanded by today's audience. I have plenty of romance in my other mss, but it's hard for me to write big and bold and sexy. Steamy sex I can do -- I don't mean that. Heart-tearing, angsty romance I've got a grip on in spades. I mean the type of alpha hero that's drool-worthy and metaphorically tearing his shirt off every chance he gets. I'm more old-school, I guess. But that just makes me ahead of the game when the trend shifts back...