My first novel, Dark House, is a psychological thriller. I’ve never read a psychological thriller in my life. I don’t even like that genre of movie. I wrote Dark House because I loved the idea, knowing that the likelihood of me writing anything else (besides sequels) in it’s genre was pretty low.
I’ve been avoiding settling on a genre since I started writing fiction. I researched authors who write in multiple genres, and tried to find evidence to support my hope that picking a genre wasn’t necessary. I found some, but not much. I don’t think picking one genre and never writing outside of it is necessary, but I do think reading a lot is important, and whatever genre you read the most of is probably the one you write the best and enjoy writing the most.
Then there’s the reading issue. I read a ton when I was a kid, less as a teenager (I’ll blame YouTube). Entering adulthood, I read a fair amount, but mostly self-help articles and books (That’s a whole ‘nother story). Since deciding that I want to write fiction, I’ve felt guilty about my lack of reading it. I didn’t want to read much while writing Dark House to avoid inadvertently stealing ideas. After I was done with it, I made an effort to read again. I found out that I could borrow ebooks through a library app, which is pretty cool, as long as the book I want to read doesn’t have a 17 week wait time.
I tried to read genres of books I’ve never read before, but ended up abandoning most them somewhere between a paragraph and a couple of chapters in. Anything grounded in reality makes me nauseous, no matter how well it’s written. I gravitated towards what I’ve loved all along in both books and movies – fantasy. Since I accepted that I love fantasy above all else, I’ve been reading book after book. Most of my writing ideas are fantasy, or have fantasy elements.
So why have I been confused about what kind of fiction I should focus on for years? Insecurity. Comparison. The first thing that comes to mind when I think fantasy is Lord of the Rings (which I ADORE). I can’t write a book like Lord of the Rings, so I have no business writing fantasy . . . right? Wrong! The world has room for my version of fantasy. It has to, it has no choice.
I still have a couple of book ideas that aren’t fantasy that I plan on writing, but for my attempt at traditional publishing, I’ll be writing fantasy.
Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash