sterling: (Sephiroth - Creativity)
[personal profile] sterling posting in [community profile] writers
In a recent discussion with a writing peer, the subject of genres came up. She asked me what genres I typically wrote, or would like to start writing.

My answer was a lengthy ramble that could have just been summarized by two words: Speculative Fiction. But of course, I wanted to get into more detail than that, so we talked about it for several hours. Almost everything I've written falls into this category (both fanfiction and original fiction), with specifics in: post-apocalyptic, dystopian, fantasy, steampunk, and/or urban fantasy worlds. With the rare exception of a few horror and sci-fi works, I was actually a little amazed that my writing focus was so easily defined.

Even the genres I'd like to start writing for are under the big "speculative fiction" umbrella (one specifically would be alternate history, but I just don't know if I have the patience to do the kind of research I would need to do to make it feel historically possible).

So, some questions for other writers here...

What genres do you usually write?

What genres would you like to write for if you decided to try something new?

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-23 09:19 pm (UTC)
vanessagalore: (pic#)
From: [personal profile] vanessagalore
I write suspense and mystery. I've dabbled in erotic fiction, usually with a psychological slant. Mostly I like to screw with my characters' heads and see what happens.

I have a mild interest in writing chick lit, as long as I'm veering far away from traditional romance (oxymoronic, perhaps?). After a year of writing classes, a couple conventions, and reading a lot of publishing/writers' blogs, I feel like none of the typical genres that are popular interest me all that much, and it's discouraging how stratified the business is.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-23 10:09 pm (UTC)
finch: (Default)
From: [personal profile] finch
I sum myself up as writing mainly urban fantasy and horror, though I'm working on steampunk, superhero and scifi projects as well. Urban fantasy and horror are generally the genres I talk most about and... "write most like" if that makes sense? Other urban fantasy writers tend to "get" where I'm coming from better than other genres.

I'd love to move toward a more mystery/noir style, since I enjoy reading those a lot. I just find it really intimidating.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-24 08:51 am (UTC)
finch: (Default)
From: [personal profile] finch
I like my vampires, my werewolves and my serial killers. I've played with psychological horror but I don't really feel like I'm good enough at it to pursue.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-23 11:16 pm (UTC)
ninety6tears: Kotetsu & Barnaby (shoes) (zachary)
From: [personal profile] ninety6tears
I've written realistic YA-type stuff, sci-fi/fantasy YA, general lit with a trend of family issues, general fantasy...It's really hard to generalize, and I'm not really sure yet what I'm best at, but no matter what the genre my plots are always very character-driven.

I'd love to write something more postmodern some day. Or a play or screenplay.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-23 11:41 pm (UTC)
sixbeforelunch: a stylized woman's profile with the enterprise and a star field overlaid (Default)
From: [personal profile] sixbeforelunch
Right now it's mostly historical fiction. I'm interested in sci fi as a reader, but I don't know if I could ever make the genre work for me as a writer. I'd maybe like to try my hand at contemporary literary fiction as well.

Also, I have Stephen Fry's An Ode Less Traveled and I'm kind of hoping he'll turn me into a poet. Not counting on it though.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-25 03:44 am (UTC)
sixbeforelunch: a stylized woman's profile with the enterprise and a star field overlaid (Default)
From: [personal profile] sixbeforelunch
Hee! For me, the research is almost as much fun as the writing, though I do tend to be really paranoid about messing up the little details which leads to sometimes insane amounts of research for the smallest little things. And then sometimes the historians can't even agree, which opens up a whole other can of worms. Sometimes you just have to relax and accept that you will get some things wrong. I do refuse to alter history just because it makes for a better story, though.

I'm slowly learning to appreciate poetry. If I ever do write it, it'll be for me alone. I seriously doubt I'll ever share it with anyone.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-24 07:26 am (UTC)
yoshitsune: text: oh dear i really ought to do something but i am already in my pyjamas (Default)
From: [personal profile] yoshitsune
The genre I write at the moment could be summed up as historical-fantasy-slice-of-life. But the slice-of-life part could be because I'm trying to find my bearing and character-voices through short fragments and drabbles.

I'd actually like to try writing something in the gangster, techno-thriller or wuxia genre because I love movies in those genres. But writing thrilling action and intrigue is so different from what I'm used to writing. XD;

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-24 07:29 am (UTC)
ilthit: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ilthit
My original fiction is almost exclusively speculative fiction. *thinks for a moment* Yeah, I think I've written only one or two non-SF original stories. I've written plenty of non-SF fanfiction though. To be more specific, I've done some high fantasy, but it's more often magical realism or sci-fi with a psychological slant.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-24 09:27 am (UTC)
ilthit: (books)
From: [personal profile] ilthit
I'm finding it difficult to classify my fanfic - there's some that's clearly erotica, but a lot of it is family dramas or character portraits. For example, I wrote a story that suggested a number of things about the life of Lotho Sackville-Baggins, all tied to Bag End and other homes, and the way it featured in his family's lives and desires. I have no idea what genre to call that - the fact that they're hobbits is not remotely important to the story. I have to say I kind of like it that fanfic can be more about the point you want to make or reach than about structure or character/world building. You already start with an idea that has been introduced to the reader elsewhere - Lotho's family is greedy and he ends up doing terrible things because he longs for power - and bring up the complications, and a new viewpoint on the issue.

I haven't written high fantasy in ages, and by that I meant a story set in a wholly different world to ours, where magic is real and there are non-human talking sentient species around - though that's not the only definition of high fantasy, that's what I wrote. I had a huge original world teeming with non-human species, all of which I made up myself, save for dragons and loosely basing one species on elves and one on fairies. I had so much fun creating the world, though, that I never wrote the epic that would've been needed to explore it, and ended up with scattered stand-alone stories instead. Oodles of fun, though.

As I'm better with short stories, magical realism bypasses the need to build the world up - it'll be our world, only with the addition of magic. Sci-fi can also be a projection into a potential not-so-distant future which makes it easier for readers to grog it. You need some shorthand with short stories.

You know what would be awesome? If a group of writers conceived of and agreed upon a fantasy world with certain realities, restrictions and possibilities, and all wrote short stories within that world - maybe also with a certain theme, like dragons or telepaths or royal intrigue. I seem to recall a short story collection somewhat like that called "Thieves' World", where all the stories were set in the same city. The stories would have to be checked against each other if they intersect, but this might not even come up if people only wrote fully stand-alone stories that just happened to be set in the same world. The advantage would be that the reader could explore a complicated alternate world without reading an epic novel series about it, but if they wanted more there would be more. Also then the same world could be seen through several viewpoints and writing styles. I guess it'd also be sort of like forum/email role-playing except it would produce readable stories that aren't just fun for the writers.
Edited (Accidental premature clicking!) Date: 2010-09-24 10:08 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-24 02:29 pm (UTC)
nerakrose: drawing of balfour from havemercy (english)
From: [personal profile] nerakrose
in my fanfic i've usually written character driven stuff. i screw with my characters' heads, basically... and they don't always have happy endings. i refuse to get influenced by readers who hope for happily ever after and follow my characters completely. some of the stuff has been pretty weird and post modern too, but not too badly...

at the moment i'm writing an allegorical short story and a fantasy novel. first proper non-fanfic stuff for years.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-28 08:39 am (UTC)
nerakrose: drawing of balfour from havemercy (Default)
From: [personal profile] nerakrose
yes, exactly. i like when i take two characters and use them in a completely different way than fanon prescribes - sometimes because it's closer to canon and sometimes because that's just how i see the character in this particular plot - and then people get all "wtf he's not like that at all" to which my answer usually is "perhaps not, but neither is he a prostituted drug addict junkie of a dungbag like everybody else likes to think".

i'm liking the transit! it's just a tad bit difficult not getting feedback. with fanfic i usually don't post wips until i'm at least halfway through, but then i get continuous feedback while working on the rest... with original fic i'm a lot less inclined to post the stuff up for everyone to see. but at least i can do whatever i want. :D

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-25 03:51 pm (UTC)
sweet_sparrow: Miaka (Fushigi Yûgi) looking very happy. (Work)
From: [personal profile] sweet_sparrow
I'm a fantasy writer all the way. ^-^ Mostly fantasy of manners or romantic fantasy at that, if you want more specifics, but I'll tackle anything that doesn't veer off into horror or scifi. I Fail at both. Currently I'm having a "Let's retell folktales!" phase. They're loads of fun (and keep going crooked on me, but that's neither here nor there).

I've tried writing a few real-world settings and... it just doesn't work. You could also ask a fish to breathe on land. That kind of situation. I'm quite happy in my genre bubble. ^-^ I'm trying to branch out a little in my reading, but in my writing the fantasy just comes creeping back in when I'm not looking and sometimes even when I am.

If I wanted to try something new, though, I might take a stab at a mystery book. No particular reason behind that except that it seems like a fun challenge to do and mystery books aren't very high on my list of 'things I've written about'. ^-^ It'd probably be a la Elizabeth Bear's New Amsterdam, though, in its setting.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-26 06:14 pm (UTC)
sweet_sparrow: Miaka (Fushigi Yûgi) looking very happy. (Having Fun)
From: [personal profile] sweet_sparrow
Pretty sure I'm not. ^-^ But I do so hear you on your concerns! Mine are eerily similar indeed!

One of the things I'm trying, sort of, is writing urban fantasy in a completely made-up setting. That way I don't have to worry something is wrong about the setting. I figure it'll ease me into the two urban fantasy tales with real world settings that are knocking about my head and refusing to cooperate. >>

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-26 06:34 pm (UTC)
sincere: DGM: Lenalee's back to the viewer (Default)
From: [personal profile] sincere
So an urban setting that just isn't on Earth. That's a good idea! I was also thinking about making a completely alternate Earth -- like, something historically distinct happens in the 1600s that essentially builds a completely different modern world, thereby making it okay if I don't know much about what districts are in Chicago, etc.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-26 06:40 pm (UTC)
sweet_sparrow: Miaka (Fushigi Yûgi) looking very happy. (Gah!)
From: [personal profile] sweet_sparrow

I'm pretty sure several of my stories follow that idea of making an alternate earth like that. I just haven't figured out how. I have a few friends who're really, really good at that kind of world-building, but I... I wish I could bottle their talent and use it, basically.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-28 01:34 pm (UTC)
sweet_sparrow: Miaka (Fushigi Yûgi) looking very happy. (Having Fun)
From: [personal profile] sweet_sparrow
's how the stories started life out as, really. Lots of writers that rework the tales are going back to what they were, or might have been, before people decided to relegate them to the nursery and sanitise them to be suitable. I'm no good at giving the stories twists, so I'd rather focus on other things to make them interesting and their own little piece. People just have to look a little harder for it.

Does it matter that it doesn't appeal to them, though? Since it doesn't seem/sound like you're writing for them.

Real world settings are hard. I admire people who can do it well. I tried setting a story in my home town once (the times conveniently being about the 90s). I've lived most of my life here, know the place pretty well and all. Just to try and ease my way into the idea. You'd think that would make it easier to write a story setting, but nope.

Wouldn't psychological horror work in any setting, though, provided the writing's up to scratch? (I'm not a horror fan of any description, though I've read a little in the genre.)

Oooh, that sounds like a good idea! ^-^ Thank you! (Or it would if I could outline, anyway... Might learn that from mystery writing. ^-^ Hmm...)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-26 05:34 pm (UTC)
sincere: DGM: Lenalee's back to the viewer (she kneels ;;)
From: [personal profile] sincere
I write fantasy, but I find it's kind of a box situation for me -- unless I'm writing high fantasy, taking place in an original world, I find myself writers-blocked. I've tried writing modern urban fantasy, but I get bogged down and nervous and distract myself with stupid concerns like "BUT WHAT IF I GET SOMETHING WRONG ABOUT THE SETTING???" even if I make up a new town or city. And I've tried writing sci-fi stuff, but I've never been able to manage what I feel is the proper "tone" of sci-fi writing, the grit and the realism and the hardness, and that just kills my creativity.

I get inspiration for sci-fi and urban fantasy. But I can't write it. I wish I could. orz

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-27 05:06 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] revolutemind
Alternate history, eh? I'm sure I don't need to point you in the direction of Harry Turtledove (and if so, well; I'll write the rest of this taking a couple of liberties).

Turtledove writes excellent alternate history precisely because he is so well-versed in the eras he chooses to write in (even where he veers off the track of realistic history and into fanciful journeys). That you note research is key is very apt on your part; I imagine one could write speculative fiction while simply letting the imagination run off; however, it grabs the mental meat so much more when it's well-researched. I happen to fancy history, and the simple act of reading Turtledove's works taught me things (especially second-hand, where if I found a particularly appealing character or event; or even an analog of some historical event, I researched it later out of curiosity, and Turtledove's alternative treatment of it really punched up the colors of the real-life event).

I don't like genre so much. Though it's handy when talking sword-and-sandal, or the rivets of science fiction, genre goes to a good story as a costume, or physical description might go to an individual. What lies beneath is only ever barely hinted at by its appearance.

Genre: Hell, me, I'm trying to write me a love story, mostly to see if I can execute in fiction what I think could happen in fact, if I could just get the scene and dialogue right.

Trying new things: If I wasn't writing the urban myth I was attempting to now; I think I'd write something dystopian myself. Perhaps comically dystopian.

Going back to research: Research for one's World ain't too hard. A little concentrated study does the trick. Studying characters; now that requires living, either out in the street or in-between the ears, with both being equally exhausting.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-28 03:46 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] revolutemind
I actually liked all the way through the third book of the Maker series; and also found the latter books a bit thin; I could have done without Calvin Maker on the whole as The Accidental Villain.

The biggest trouble I'm having right this second is writing the female voice. I can write masculine dialogue all day, chop it up, leave half the words out, banter it back and forth without missing a cue; but when I go to write women, I either make them self-referential to the point of pain, sullen, or snotty. I imagine it's less trouble with dialogue than it is mechanical bias.

You should absolutely write up something on dialogue. I'd like to see the many different takes on it. I've found in my time it tends to sift folks; they either can write it all day and labor on everything else, or they can render the World in pretty poetics, but turn their characters into purpled monologue spouting bricks.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-28 10:09 am (UTC)
snowynight: Kino in a suit with brown background (Default)
From: [personal profile] snowynight
I am really into speculative fiction too. I wrote steampunk and scifi though the stories should never see the light. I would like to try detective action comedy but I am too intimidated now to try.


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