Prior to this year whenever I sat down to compose a new story I never thought about the category in which it would fall. More importantly, I never considered whether I was even qualified to be writing in a certain genre. Whenever I talk to writers about a story, they have written or are in the process of writing they always at one point convey that the story just came to them in some way. At the writers conference I attended in September one of the authors stated how she was in the bathtub when the idea for her tale popped in to her head. She relayed how she felt compelled to write that particular story. Well that makes for a great water cooler moment but does it really chalk up to a good enough argument as to why she should write that tale? Sadly, it does not.
With a new year fast approaching, I feel this is a great time for reflection. Whenever I tell people, "I have written a science fiction novel." A perplexed expression comes over their face. I had always brushed off such doubts even when it came from those that know me well: ) until now.
With the school year in full swing, I now see the kids in my neighborhood with library books. One day one of the girls proudly exclaimed that she was on chapter seven of the book she was reading. I asked to see it and before I knew it, I was telling her about a story I was working on just for fun. Her eyes got big and she wanted to know if she could borrow the book. I had to try to explain to her about me being a writer and that it was not a “real” book yet. She was confused but I think she got it. Anyway, talk about your light bulb moment.
It was not until then that I even considered taking what I write when I need a break from my serious writing and try to build a career around that. Duh, I tested the waters by mentioning the premise of the story to those who know me well. I waited for the familiar perplexed looks to emerge but they never did, instead I was greeted with happy head nods. Moreover, such phrases as, “I can picture that, yeah. Can see you writing something like that.”
Yeah it was a duh moment for me yet think about it, how many of you took the time to even consider your qualifications for writing the story you are working on? I did not. Luckily, for us it is all about growing, getting better at this crafting fiction thing and all that other stuff. No matter what stage you are in, please take the time to do a checklist about you and research the various major fiction genres as well as their sub-genres. The whole point is to answer this question: Does this genre make my writing look phat? In this case you want the answer to be yes:)