Writers Tips & Tricks “Genre First?”

Hey Hi my lovelies! My name is Tanya Hooper and welcome to TanyaTale. This is a creative writing blog featuring book reviews and short stories. If you are new to the blog please be sure to click the subscribe button to join our little family. If you are the returning to the blog, welcome back. Thanks for the continuing support.

So, for those of you new to the blog i am an English Literature and Creative writing student. As a part of this course i partake in writers workshops weekly and get a chance to explore different means of writing. So I thought as it was the new year, i would start a new segment on the blog where i introduce you to some of the discussions we have had in workshops or some of the questions i have begun to ask myself since beginning to write.

Now i personally like to write things which may be considered thriller or things which are slightly darker and one question which was thrown to me straight away was, do i let the genre I like writing in define what i write?

My first workshop saw me given a task. I was told to work in a group and to come up with an idea for a story based off of a stimulus. Our stimulus was “A priest” and “A derelict church”

Straight away a member of my group decided that the genre we would be writing in was fantasy. My WORST nightmare. I have tried fantasy before and I struggled. Not only am i not interested in the worlds of elves and Bibles made of skin (trust me, that was a weird one) it is so far out of my comfort zone i can no longer see it.

Now, knowing that the story had to be fantasy limited what i felt like i could write. It moulded the story before i had even written it. I might have thought up a story of a priest questioning his loyalty to god but instead I was left with a story of a priest who was possessed by an evil elf who was carrying a skin bible to a church as an offering to the gods … it was not my cup of tea.

From this point knowing that i didn’t like the genre made me feel rather negatively towards the piece of work at hand. It made me resent having to write the story and made me want to quit.

So is it better to start writing without a genre in mind? Is it better to write first and then let it fall into whatever genre it fits best into?

My conclusion was yes.

Deciding the genre first is too deterministic for me. However if you are stuck deciding on the genre can always help to guide you. Deciding to write a horror, for example, suggests that there should be some gore. A murder perhaps. The murdering Priest. Who does he kill? Why does he kill? Or if you decide to write a romance you know there has to be a relationship. Who falls in love with who? Is a priest in a relationship with a nun? Is it forbidden love?

So there are pro’s and con’s of starting with a genre. It is up to you to decide if you need it or not.

See you next Friday at 7PM.

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