Part II (aka. More on figuring out my genre path and what the heck I want to be when I grow up…)
During my wandering summer/early fall, I realized two things:
1) I love a good a supernatural/superhero/fantasy/sci-fi whatever. I mean I LUUUUURVE it and I always will.
2) Just because I love a genre, doesn’t mean I have to write it.
Once I released that into the universe, and looked at my writing with objective eyes, I figured out why my manuscripts weren’t working: The external elements.
The paranormal part of my paranormal romance didn’t reach my high geek girl expectations, nor did it showcase my voice and strengths successfully. If anything, it highlighted my weaknesses and made me doubt everything about my writing.
The emotional arcs and romance of my characters worked. Those elements brought me joy, but the external simply didn’t feel “right.” Imagine taking a purist historical romance author and telling her or him, “Write me a dark and gritty, modern day suspense.” Maybe they could do it and it’d be phenomenal. More likely, they’d struggle and it’d make them question if they should be writing at all.
So I said to myself: Self, you love the emotional connections and sexual chemistry between characters, the humor and adventure of every day life; your voice is naturally modern and fun with a thread of heartwarming self-discovery and lots of hot smexitimez. You already co-author erotic romance in a contemporary setting and love every moment of writing every manuscript. Why the hell are you not writing contemporary romance?
I had no answer for myself other than…
I could not believe it’d taken this long for the coin to drop. But, rather than berate myself for the time it took to figure all this out, I got started on my new book with NaNoWriMo. And…I wrote a contemporary! 😀
I took some of the personality traits from the characters I loved in those old, not working WIPs and began again. (Because I am not giving up Sawyer, ever never ever! *smooshes character*) Every step of writing this contemporary felt right. I felt good about what I was doing. I could delve into the character’s emotions more, amp up the UST and the simple, small moments that mean so much in real life. I had the confidence to go with my voice and not fight it. I wasn’t riddled with doubt over the external elements that weren’t working for me. I’d found it! I finally found my writer home!!!
What can other writers learn from this? Plenty I hope! Please learn from my mistakes because I work long and hard making lots of them every year.
1) Don’t rush into anything if you aren’t sure. What’s the big damn hurry when you’ve only begun the journey? If you’re certain, by all means go for it. Otherwise, write, read, explore, figure out not only your voice, but what genre you can rock with that voice.
2) Sometimes, if a manuscript is causing you grief, all you need is to talk it through with a writer pal and get back on track. Other times, if that story feels superdonk wrong – it could be plain ole WRONG. Wrong for you or just wrong for you right now.
I won’t say that I’ll never write paranormal, just as I won’t say I’d never write YA. Maybe I will, because I adore both genres. Right now though? It’s not going to happen. I’ve found where I’m supposed to be and what I want to write.
What about you? Did you know your genre right out of the gates? Did it work out for you? Or were you like me, with a few twist and turns along the way? Is there a genre you love with all your reader heart, but it doesn’t line up with your writer brain? Speak to me of your journeys and trials. I’ll pour the mimosas.