The first night I visited a writer’s critique group, they had me introduce myself and tell them what genre I wrote. Up to this point in my writing career, I had never actually narrowed down what kind of genre I wrote, or even gave it any thought. I didn’t write for a specific genre. I just wrote to get the story out of my head. Their simple question was humbling but also embracing. I felt like I had stepped into an advanced Spanish class with my vocabulary from Dora the Explorer. This simple request automatically put them way out of my league. My only hope is they would allow me to sit around and gleam off their writing knowledge.
Truth be told, my intimidation of the group was partially because I wasn’t even sure what genres existed other than horror, fantasy, romance, and adventure. My stories didn’t really fall into those. Little did I know there were many, many, many, many, many other genres, and sub-genres.
For Halloween, we received a challenge. Everyone got to push the button and received an auto-generated genre. We needed to take that genre, add a touch of Halloween, and challenge ourselves to write something within the specific genre we received.
I can’t remember the exact genre I received but it was somewhere along the lines of Sci-fi fantasy. Up to this point I had only submitted stories about things that could happen in real life (still not entirely sure what genre to label them as). So, this seemed like a stretch for my capabilities. However, my go-to stories for reading or watching on the big screen are always laced with fantasy, superheroes, mythical, or magical elements. I love these kinds of stories even though my own published stories currently reflect otherwise.
The story I wrote about an elf who meets a wizard and receives magical powers was a hit and they wanted to read more. What was really interesting is the stories that came out of this challenge. Some authors had some really great stories when they branched away from their genre of choice.
Challenge for You: Write 500 words about being stranded alone. You can be on an island, you can be on a planet, you can be in the dessert. You choose the setting and genre.
This challenge made me think back to the assignment I had received during the writer’s course. The bears performing activities assignment which I had deemed to be a waste of my time. This assignment was never meant to cramp my style, it was meant to draw out my storytelling. Could I make up a story about anything? Was I a good storyteller or simply a writer? Anyone can type up a bunch of words for people to read but a storyteller will suck a reader into their world so deep that they soon forget about everything else. They will find themselves saying, “Just one more page.” Because they have to know what happens next.
Tip of the Day: Expand your wings and fly.
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