I have been tagged by Joanne Hall, author of the Art of Forgetting books –Art of Forgetting: Nomad and Art of Forgetting: Rider, in a blog hop. They are both fantastic novels so check them out if you haven’t already, you will not be disappointed.
As for the topic, I have to confess the don’ts have taken me a lot more thinking of than the dos. I had to think long and hard on what I actually don’t write. There are plenty of things that I haven’t written but very few that I never would write. I am a great believer that in order to be a better writer, a person should explore as many genres and types as possible, as each will teach you to look at writing from a slightly different perspective and will strength your skills. One did immediately jump to mind, though:
I don’t write Erotica – This is a genre I have never had an interest in and, quite frankly, I usually find them offensive or demeaning. Now that’s not to say that there aren’t any deep and meaningful Erotica novels, there could well be but I’ve never come across one to date. I would never seek to write a genre that I don’t enjoy reading, and those are actually few and far between, but this is one of them. I derive no pleasure from reading about another’s perverse sexual fetishes and would derive even less pleasure from writing about them. So let’s move on.
I don’t write Mills and Boon – First, I would like to say that I have no issues with romance in general. Let’s face it, Pride and Prejudice is a romance along many other classics. My issue is with Mills and Boon specifically. I dislike the fact that every Mills and Boon book has to have shallow characters and a simple and unrealistic plot or they get rejected. I just can’t respect a writing style that forces good writers into bad practices. I feel all genres should be something to aspire to and force those who seek to write them into raising their game rather than lowering. Anyway, I could go forever on this topic but I will stop here.
I don’t write Autobiography/ Memoir/ anything else in this genre – I have long made the decision that I will never, ever write an autobiography or Memoir; the reason being there is nothing that has happened in my life that merits it and even if I one day became an author of J K Rowling status, unlikely, I still wouldn’t, as I don’t consider fame and wealth to merit an autobiography.
I believe only those who have endured real dramas/ adversity and upheavals should write their life stories. I really have no interest in what Katie Price was like as child or any other celebrity and I would not expect others to care about mine. However, I would like to know the story of say, veterans of the first and second war. Survivors of political persecution, Scientists who have struggled to make their work known and further human knowledge. I think this is a good genre, I just think a large proportion of it is tat with the real gems too hard to find. I would never write in this genre as I would only be adding to that tat.
What I do write is also quite a hard choice as there are just so many types/ genres of writing that I do write in. Here are the three that I have chosen:
I do write Fan Fiction – For a very long time I looked down on fan fiction as something only amateurs and obsessed fans do, then I came across a writing competition on Writing.com – In the Manner of – which asked authors to writing in the style of an author from the previous century. For the first time ever, I decided to write as another author in this case as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I approached the project with a feeling of dread, expecting it to be a total disaster but I emerged with not only a decent Sherlock Holmes story but also a greater appreciation of fan fiction in general.
Without a doubt, the majority of fan fiction is badly written usually involving ridiculous events/ behaviour of characters, for example, Voldermort and Dumbledoor having a gay relationship etc. I can see why fan fiction has a bad reputation but to write really good fan fiction, indistinguishable from the real works that takes true skill and involves breaking down the author’s work, analysing the tone/ style and language they use, and then using the same ingredients to create a new, original work that matches.
I would encourage even established authors to give it try, even just once, to realise just how difficult it really is to write fiction in the style of another author. I feel writing this one piece strengthened my writing more than any other, as it taught me how to analyse my work fully and to break it down into its base components, thereby allowing me to see things that I otherwise wouldn’t notice and to dig out issues and inconsistences that I otherwise would have missed.
I do write mixed genres - What I really enjoy doing, as a writer, is merging genres. Some genres like steampunk come already merged, period/ sci-fi but others are left open. I like taking two genres that you wouldn’t usually think of as compatible and merging them; and with the number of unique storyline/plots in pure genres decreasing with the volume of novels released, I think it is becoming more and more necessary to do this. I am of the belief that for a truly talented writer no genres are ever incompatible and I find it exciting to mix and match as you can nearly always guarantee an original outcome.
I do write what I love – For me, the most important thing about writing is to write what you enjoy. Writing, for me, is all about the journey and not the outcome. I don’t care if someone offered me two million to write something in a genre I didn’t like, I wouldn’t do it. The day I start writing purely for money is the day I give writing up; because I feel that to write a truly strong, engaging story, the author has to want to be there, has to connect to characters and the events and has to love it. End of.