Tuesday, March 3, 2015

In the wrong line of writing?

I know the conventional wisdom is “don’t chase the market.”  We are advised by successful writers to write what we like, write what we know, write what grabs us by the passion-hairs, etc.  But, what if those things aren’t what we SHOULD be writing?  This is the question my fragile ego has been asking me lately.

Although fantasy and science fiction have always been my favorite genres to read, and to date, they are what I most often write, I am starting to wonder if maybe I should try other genres, just to see if something grabs my writer-attention.

As a holder of a History degree, there is the natural instinct to write historical fiction.  And within that, there is a lot of room.  Scott Oden has managed to take his love of fantasy and apply it to his passion for history.  Could I do the same?  On a related note, what if I slipped sideways from the standard “adventure” stories I tend to want to write, and try something like mystery?

This idea kind of took hold yesterday, and I gave some thought to the possibilities.  Interestingly enough, the premise for a series of mystery novels set in Constantinople during the Byzantine Empire sprang into my mind in moments.  I even had ideas for characters; a constable (possibly a Greek mercenary), and a Varangian Guardsman.  I’m mulling the ideas around, and I definitely see some room for further exploration.

Then there’s the Agesilaus pseudo-biography (“pseudo” because there is little to nothing known about his actual upbringing, so everything before his becoming one of the Kings of Sparta is conjecture).  I had made some progress on that one, with a bare-bones plot, some scene ideas, and a cast of characters.  But, alas my son decided that the flash drive sticking out of my tower would make a good footrest.  I try not to dwell on the damage done, and the writing lost.

I’ve also long had ideas for modern techno-thrillers and military thrillers (ala Tom Clancy, but less verbose).  I’d still love to do one or some of those.  The problem is that those kinds of books become very dated very quickly, so you have to really concentrate to make things as relevant as you can for as long as possible.  Either that, or you have to write really fast.  Yeah, that'll work..

In the end, I think I want to try to stay within the realm of “reality” as much as possible.  So, no magic, no futuristic science, no supernatural elements.  I’m not sure how that would go for me.  And I have a feeling I might just slip back into my fantastic worlds eventually.  Which is fine.  I’m comfortable there.  I just want to be sure that that’s where I belong.


Charles Gramlich said...

Reality just isn't for me, I think. I've done realistic stories, but still within the genre frame work, but I always want to cut loose and get weird.

Scott Oden said...

I say do it, man! DOOOO EEEETTTTT!!!!

Keith West said...

I think you should broaden your writing simply because authors who write in multiple genres have a greater likelihood of something taking off.

Personally, I like the mystery series set in Constantinople idea, but go with whatever story is more urgent in your mind, i.e., the one that most insists on being written.