Defining My Writing

Have you ever written a story you really believed in and didn’t want to change? I’ve had countless rejections for a certain story and even some helpful feedback but I’m reluctant to change it because, in my mind, it works. The first time I let anyone read it I got excellent feedback but it was from “normal” people on Scribophile. I still haven’t found an editor who’s shared the same sentiments.

Part of the problem is I don’t really know how to define the story. It definitely comes under the speculative fiction umbrella, and probably horror or dark magic realism but when trying to pitch it to those markets, I’ve had no luck. I think it’s too subtle for them but too genre-y for a literary fiction market.

How do you categorise your writing if it doesn’t fit neatly into one specific genre, as a lot of writing does? I understand it’s easier for a publisher to market something if they know what to market it as and that’s a big issue for me. I don’t seem to write anything that will appeal to a specific area, partly because I’m influenced by many different genre’s and I read widely. I have very eclectic tastes, not just with books but with music and movies and games.

I’m always inspired by those who experiment and think outside the box but for me it just seems like I’m not focused enough on one particular thing. I suppose this is another thing I’ll learn, how to define my work. I’m not going to say how to define myself, that’s a bit heavy for a Monday. (The Monday Muse will be back next week by the way; I’m thinking of a music act for this one.)

There’s a part of me (a huge part) who doesn’t like being put into a box and who wants to be able to express myself freely without worrying about pleasing a certain type of reader. Of course it’s harder to sell yourself this way but whoever said I was doing this for the money? Not me, that’s for sure.

The more I write, the less genre-focused I am. So I’m not about to do a u-turn anytime soon and start churning out crime thrillers or fantasy epics. Being able to look at something from a different perspective and put a different spin on something without falling back onto overused tropes and stereotypes, that’s a good skill to have as a creator.  Instead of beating myself up for not being a certain kind of writer, maybe I should be honing my abilities to be a bit weird. After all, it’s all for fun, isn’t it? And we’re all so complicated, how can anyone fit neatly into a specific category?

Thoughts in the comments! Do you like being a genre writer or do you sometimes wish you could just let loose and write something completely off the wall? Are you hoping to one day make a living off your writing or are you just in it for shits and giggles?

6 thoughts on “Defining My Writing

  1. In terms of fiction, I always lean towards the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre, though this itself has tons of sub-genres. I haven’t touched these projects in years, but finding the specific label to put on these stories isn’t always easy, yet I know they fall into these two genres. On the academic writing, I am heavily oriented on Science Fiction, but I also dab a lot in Transmedia, Fandom and Gender Studies. Most of my work follow one or more of these subjects, but sometimes I let myself embark on new ventures, such as children media or even Bollywood movies. I like having a “main” field but letting myself explore other places if I have the inspiration and opportunity.

    • Hi Natacha,I think this is a really good philosophy to have,allowing yourself to explore different areas if you feel like it. It’s easy to forget sometimes that it’s all art and it’s a way of expressing ourselves. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  2. Hi I think it’s great that you are writing something that doesn’t fit into a neat box, that shows creativity. Good luck with it. i think my writing is a bit of the wall as well, it will be interesting to see how it is received when I start looking for a publisher.

  3. I write whatever the mood strikes me to write. Yeah, a lot of it ends up sci-fi/fantasy/horror based (or weird supernatural noir), bit I never let the labels keep me from delving into interesting new fictive places. And you know what? That can lead to some awesome stories. Look at the latest Captain America movie. It’s a superhero genre, but the story is totally 70’s political thriller. And surprisingly, they make a deliciously intriguing blend.

    • You’re right there,there have been some interesting mash ups over the years. Haven’t seen the latest Captain America yet but have heard good things about it so the mix of genre’s obviously works. It’s encouraging to see how many people don’t worry about strict writing boundaries. It also makes writing more interesting as well I think. Not just for the reader but the writer as well. Thanks for your comment 🙂

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