Writer Thoughts, Writing Tips

Know Your Genre

Imagine you are making a mad dash because you are running late. You see an old friend who has heard you wrote a novel and wants to know more. You don’t have long and blurt out. ‘It’s a young adult fantasy series with dragons, wizards, and sorcery.’ Then wave goodbye. This is exactly how I describe my book to people when I am unsure if they like the genre. Guess what? Your first goal as a writer is to find out who is not your audience. When you know your genre you can whittle it down to the key bits of information. It is a starting point, like a secret code that is easily understood by your real audience. Key words in a genre can mean so much. It can help find your audience in a short space of time by relying on familiarity.

What Does a Genre Achieve?

So you have spent ages writing and are unsure about the genre of your story. The real issue with this is that you, the writer are your story’s biggest advocate. If you are unsure this can magnify the confusion many times over. A genre helps find an audience by using themes and styles that already exist. Every story may be a little different. The key is finding the familiar threads so you can explain it in a clear manner. It acts as a guide to let your audience know what to expect. More importantly it lets them know what not to expect.

Each Genre has a Style

I was wandering through a shop and saw a book with a cover that said ‘fantasy’. I checked the blurb to make sure and it suggested fantasy. You can imagine what happened next… It was paranormal romance. My point is, you don’t have to get the exact details right just the basics. When you choose a genre your choice is there to help your audience find your story. Your tagline, blurb and book cover all become an important message to your reader. Knowing your genre can add an extra layer of information to help your audience.

Writing Tools

Know Your Why as a Writer

know-reasonThe main question that can take a while to answer is the reason why you write. This involves thinking about which path you wish to go on. There is an abundance of information online about what you could do and the paths you can take. The issue is when an assumption is made that you already know the reason why you want to write. Some of these describe processes and give advice in areas that may not be relevant to you. If you know your why this can make it so much easier to sift through all the advice.

First Step

For me the first reason was simply to write a novel. After the novel was complete in first draft it was time to reassess. I took my notebook and wrote down a brief summary of why I was writing. This helped to keep the focus and also act as a guide to revisit where later on. If you keep your reason why short and simple it can be useful in many ways. Including the task of searching through information and finding what suits you best.

Each Stage

I found myself re-evaluating the reason why on several occasions. Each time it has helped to stay focused on what I am doing now and where I would like to be. In the early stage I began writing just for me it was not designed to be read by others. At the time that was fine because it was practice. It took many drafts before it was ready for an audience. A few years later when my writing continued and one manuscript became three. It was time to rethink the early goals and my reason why.

Long Term Goals

Writing is a process and the craft can take years to develop. A long-term plan of where you intend to be can help keep track of your progress. You do not have to stay with the plan, but it helps when you need to readjust. If you intend to publish there are many options. This can help refine the option to one that best suits your goals. It can also help you focus on what will best help you to achieve the long-term goals. In the beginning it can be a daunting task, but every step can bring a goal a little bit closer.

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Writing Tips

When Doubt Creeps In

self-doubtSome days are like diving backwards through the darkness into a black pool. Creating a space where shadows creep in feeding self-doubt in the mind.  Writing can be a swinging pendulum where ups and downs cycle endlessly. Such is the complexity of holding onto a story for so long. Yet from the darkness the seeds of self-doubt can spark the greatest ideas. It is a paradox shifting with every moment. Somewhere between this the writer stands balancing hope and lingering doubt.

One Step Forward

The biggest tasks are accomplished one step at a time. Yet at the start it can be overwhelming. Time can make the end seem so far away. It can be disappointing when expectations are not met. One small setback can soon add up especially when dealing with a novel. It takes me close to a year to write a first draft. This gets broken down into little sizable chunks. Yet the big picture requires regular work to move forward. This is a challenge that can be daunting in the beginning.

Plan for the Down Time

It isn’t easy keeping the same pace or recognising patterns. There are times of the year when writing is not going to happen. Every year at the same time I wind down to a slow pace and switch to reading. Try as I might it happens, and it has been a struggle to let go of expectations. Instead the focus switches to other tasks. Keeping a ‘to do’ list has helped ease the sense of guilt.

Recognise Your Writing Pattern

There will always be occasions when life sneaks up on you. It is easy to get frustrated, but there may be a reason for needing to pause and take a break. Scheduling the down time allows me to focus on other tasks. That way the feeling of guilt over lost writing has not been as overwhelming. Writing is an enormous task. Don’t forget to give yourself permission to pause and recharge.

 

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