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Deciding the genre to write?

Hi everyone,

Recently I have been trying to write my own story but things haven't been so easy. I find myself starting a project, growing bored of it, and starting a new project. I've noticed that I keep switching my projects because of the genre. So far I have started four different projects and they have been in the genres - horror, contemporary and fantasy.

I'm starting to feel a little lost as to what genre I should write in. This means a lot to me because I want my chosen project to ultimately be my first completed book, but that may never happen if I keep doing what I am doing. Please, if someone could help me figure this out or offer some advice I would be truly grateful.



Asked by: David Castanho

  1. Lorraine Swoboda on March 17, 2018

    What do you like to read? That can narrow things down for you.
    Try cutting things to the bone: what is the story you want to tell? It's not going to fit neatly into a genre just because you fancy writing in one or the other. It's a story that will tell you how it wants to be told.
    You may need a trigger, something that sets you off upon a particular course. When I wrote my novel, the trigger was a gaming token I dug up in the garden, which immediately set the time and the place. The story grew around that.
    It may be that you 'hear' a story in your head in a particular character's voice, which again could narrow things down for you.
    When you say that you've tried several genres and given up on them, maybe you're trying to force your characters into a world they don't want to inhabit. We think that, as the author, we're in control, but often that isn't how it is! The characters will insist on getting their own way.
    Until you hear a strong voice that tells you that it's worth pursuing, that this is leading somewhere, that there is a good story here, there's no point saying 'I'm going to write horror now' or whatever: it begins with a place or a person or a feeling. It begins with needing to tell a story.

    Hope this helps.

  2. David Castanho on March 12, 2018

    Thank you to everyone for your helpful advice! There is so much I can take from your words.

  3. Susan Russell on March 12, 2018

    Why decide on your genre beforehand? I've always just written whatever story grabs me without giving any thought to the genre itself. Once you finish the first draft you will have an idea of where it fits and can bear that in mind for the next rewrite/edit.

  4. Libby Justice on March 12, 2018

    I would say, don't worry about which genre you are writing in, just write your story. If you are true to what you want to say rather than what you think other people think it should say, it will be all the better for it (in my humble opinion!).
    I have kept trying to write things in different styles and always find myself drifting back to the land of fairy stories. Now, maybe I just need counselling, or maybe, it's just what I do. Either way, the stories always flow more easily if I'm enjoying it.
    You never know, you might have an entirely new genre just waiting to pop out!
    Good luck with everything.

  5. ELSIE BYRON on March 11, 2018

    Hi David. Snap. I had the same problem and posted the same question several weeks ago and I got quite a few pieces of good advice. I found it easiest to carry on writing for all the genres and see which one eventually feels right. Usually it will be the one you do most work on. Also sometimes it's good to take yourself away from doing the same thing over and over. It keeps the creative mind alert to swap from one genre to another. Hope this helps.

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