A part of writing is discovery. Discovery within your characters, and discovery within yourself. It has taken me a long time to figure out what I write. To discover what I’m comfortable writing, or more what genre did my writing apply to. The easy part was knowing that it was fiction that called to me, but now there are so many genres and sub genres of fiction it gets too complicated to find it.
I thought that maybe the genre that fits me is the one that I loved reading the most. Fantasy novels have been my go to books since I started to read at the age of 5. They were an easy escape from the hard moments in my life, so I thought that I could write it too. Then I tried writing fantasy, while I was in high school. Not a good idea for me. I tried to world build and it was failing miserably. My characters were poorly written and there was no way that I could get myself to make them better. Although that last part may have been an expression of my own poor writing in high school.
In high school, I also tried poetry. That was more during my depression in high school, but it got me through. All of the poems ended up being really sappy topics that you would normally find in the diary of a high school outcast. “I feel invisible.” “No one would care if I went missing.” “I have a crush on you but you’re in love with some other girl and don’t know I exist because I’m too scared of rejection to say hello.” All that sad, depressing, and maybe a little bit pathetic (okay I’ll admit, a lot of pathetic) emotion is what drove me to think I’ll be the next Edgar Allan Poe. That is, until I hit sophomore year and changed my mind.
In college I tried writing non-fiction (although it may not have been out of choice) and short stories. My non-fiction work was getting better compared to how it was in my childhood. (If you’re from North Carolina and went to a NC Public School, you’ll understand why I don’t like the number 2 all too much.) Unfortunately, it still didn’t fit me. I didn’t feel like it represented who I was as a writer. My fiction short stories on the other hand, were a different result. I felt comfortable with it.
The short stories I wrote in college were modern in setting, but in no way realistic. The situations of the characters and plot weren’t detailed enough in the stories mainly because of length. (Dang you word count limit!) I love subtleties of novels. I love how much a writer can delve into the story. So I’m aiming for novels.
Fantasy still has my heart in reading. So maybe I could go back to the beginning and try it again. This is why I’ve started my short story based upon the Celtic tales of the Faoladh.
But what about the modern settings that I’ve connected to? As I’ve grown up I’ve started liking fantasy series in modern settings (for example, The Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs). Maybe I can bring together both what I love and what I’m good at.
“It’s called Urban Fantasy,” my boyfriend yells from the other room.
It’s taken me years to figure out but I’m really thick headed. Urban Fantasy is what feels right for me. Like that favorite pair of boots that you’ve wearing everyday for a month. I hope I’ve finally found my genre.
Have you found your genre, or do you have many? How did you find yours?
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