Quick Cue Writing prompts this week will have you writing in and out of your genre and stretching your writing skills. We’re all about genre writing prompts.
Because most of us prefer to read in one or two genres… not surprisingly, we tend to write in those same genres. Or maybe you don’t write genre fiction at all. You might be a “real writer” who avoids all genre. That’s okay, I forgive you. But whether you have achieved mastery of one particular genre or not, straying from your favourite/s will build you into a better writer.
What genre is it, really?
Let’s face it – not many published books stay in “their” assigned genre, anyway.
You might read fantasy, but I bet the protagonist has a love interest (romance), and maybe there are some scary moments (thriller/horror), perhaps one of the characters is a smart-alec who makes you laugh (humour), etc. So why would you try writing in a different genre?
It can help writers’ block
Trying a different genre can get you out of a slump. Stuck in the middle of your novel or screenplay and don’t know what to make happen next? Take it out of its genre and try a different one. Two people in a lab are arguing over a virus (predictable?) — try writing it as a romance, or a horror story.
It can create ideas out of thin air
Can’t find that something different for your next work? If you’re writing horror – how about adding a little romance? (“Twilight” was very successful, I believe.) Or mix horror with fantasy – “The Stand” (Stephen King) has been through two movies and an upcoming tv series. Mix and match to your heart’s content. Think to yourself “what can I add in here that might be interesting” and see where it takes you.
Find a new type of character or story
It might be time to try something completely new? You could start with a short story, or just go for it, like Margaret Atwood did with “The Handmaid’s Tale”. She wanted to “practice” something outside her usual genre. She says:
“I was tremendously lucky in that I was writing it for practice. I was not going to show it to anyone, let alone try to get it published, and therefore, I felt totally free to be completely honest in the writing and to take what otherwise I would have considered wild risks. Nobody’s watching so it didn’t really matter what I did and so I did everything.”
See things through fresh eyes
- Try to read outside your usual genre – it might surprise you. At least pick up some storytelling tips
- Your circle of critical friends will also grow as you find readers outside your new genre.
- Your barriers move out of your comfort zone each time you try something new.
- You will experience new insights into your characters and their arc.
The take away
Genre tells us the kind of story you’re writing, but never feel limited by that. Be a brave writer and paint outside the lines.
If it doesn’t work, what has it cost you but a bit of time while broadening your writing landscape?