A to Z Challenge 2013

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

When do you pick a genre? Or how?

I had a moment of insight as I was reading through other blogs. When I begin writing something, I usually start with a first sentence and see where my fingers take me. Its a flaw really, because I don't outline anything (something I've noticed as a problem I need to fix) and worlds just begin to exist within my mind. Sometime down the road, I'm a thousand words into a project and people are born, conflicts built, realities now existing where they didn't before. I don't really figure out where I'm going with things though until I'm well into it.

About the second chapter (maybe) or so, I start to decide a general direction and then I'm off, like a jackrabbit running from the fox. The fox is my right on my heels, and the finish line I'm searching for is two words: The End. I'm usually hopping along so fast though - building paths as I go - that I have no idea what type of world it is I'm running in. Add to that the fact that I'm not entirely clear on figuring out what type of world it should be anyway. Categorization has never really been my forte, and learning how to do it with my writing has been agonizing. So the question I pose is when do you pick a genre? Is it after you've already gotten the premise of the story down? Or do you find yourself beginning a thriller only to find its actually romance? Do your characters start out YA and become literary? I don't really have answers for myself here, but I'm open to anyone else's thoughts.

8 comments:

KLo said...

I just sort of go where my writing leads me. It's very rarely where I expected to end up. Your post made me think (random interlude, sorry :-)) about John Irving--did you know that he writes the last sentence of his books first and goes from there? I just cannot imagine ... But it clearly works for him : )

Jamie said...

I have trouble with that too. Sometimes I outline, sometimes not - but even when I do, the story seems to take on a life of it's own after awhile, and I never know how it's going to end up until the end.

This is something I think I want to work on in the editing process more than the "1st draft" process. I've been thinking that for the 1st draft, it's perfectly okay to just let my characters lead the story, and tell *me* where they want to go. Then when I go back and re-read it for revision, I can decide which genre it most closely fits, and use my editing time to tighten it up into something more cohesive.

That's my plan, anyways...we'll see how well it actually works. :-)

Jenn Nixon said...

I pick my genre based on the character I create. That's usually how my stuff starts rolling.

The Screaming Guppy said...

In most cases, I write science fiction and fantasy, so it's pretty cut and dry for me. Except for HOUND. I had zombies and then things got all complicated. I didn't end up deciding on what genre to call it until a few months after I finished writing it.

Travis Erwin said...

For me every project is different. Some I knew going in and others were born in the way you describe.

Lost Wanderer said...

Mine depends on the story. Sometimes I start with a particular character, in that case, I almost always know what genre that story belongs too.

With novel ideas, I always know where they belong.

But with short stories, sometimes I am not too sure where it will end up. Though it's less now because I am making a habit (mostly) of writing a short story targeted at a particular market.

Alisia Leavitt said...

I usually have a character floating around in my head with some sort of unresolved issue. That steers me in the right direction. But I can say that I am more into contemporary fiction/YA than I am mystery/romance/etc. Right now I am struggling with the decision to write a YA novel or not, because I have more mature issues I like my characters to deal with. Perhaps it will be a more mature YA novel.

Rebecca Woodhead said...

I just write. The publishers can decide the genre!