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In A Quandary

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stu1883
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In A Quandary

Post by stu1883 » Tue November 1st, 2011, 5:52 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm in a bit of a a quandary and wondered if anyone here could give me some advice?

To improve my craft, I'm taking a writing course. As part of the course, our tutor asks us to complete certain exercises and my work came up for discussion during a general talk. The tutor said that even though my genre was not something she knew much about. she was impressed with the scenarios I created during the exercises. (To simplify things. I write my classwork in current and modern times).

Okay, so here is my dilemma; she has asked me to consider writing something more modern because the ideas I have created and the work I do is "very strong" and has considerable promise. In fact today, she ordered me to leave the room immediately and expand the exercise I had just finished into a novel! She loved it!

So, is it possible to be a writer of two genres? I will not give up my current projects and ideas for further historical fiction projects but if someone gives me the encouragement to try something I appear to be good at, should I try it?

Any guidance would be gratefully accepted!

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
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Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Tue November 1st, 2011, 9:01 pm

The lady likes your work, but she doesn't read your genre. It is a compliment that she wants you to write something in the genre she would like to read.

BUT...

We're talking about hours and years of work polishing a style here. Although it is certainly possible to write two genres, that is at least half again as much work getting to the place where you will garner a readership among people who read that genre. And there's always the possibility that perfecting one undoes the other.

I faced the same choice, and I decided to work at becoming excellent at one thing instead of maybe competent at two.

Another thing to think about is whether you like to read what she wants you to write. If you don't read it, you won't have much of a feel for what fans of the genre want.

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SarahWoodbury
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Post by SarahWoodbury » Tue November 1st, 2011, 9:37 pm

While I think it's perfectly okay to write in two genres (lots of authors do it!), I think you need to write what you're passionate about. As MLE said, she doesn't read what you write and wants you to write what she reads. Which is fine as far as it goes, but you need to write what YOU want to write. If your writing is good in one genre, it's going to be good in another.

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Post by lauragill » Tue November 1st, 2011, 10:57 pm

If you're not passionate about what you write, then it won't work, trust me. If you're not comfortable with the assignment, you can politely explain it to your instructor. I've found that a lot of creative writing instructors misunderstand the whole "write what you know" adage, and forget about the "write what you're passionate about" part.
Last edited by lauragill on Tue November 1st, 2011, 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Alisha Marie Klapheke
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Post by Alisha Marie Klapheke » Wed November 2nd, 2011, 2:37 am

I think the all of the above have given great advice. I'm taking a break from from my hist fic piece and am writing YA paranormal romance (though it does include ancient myth from the same area I've already researched), so I've experienced the switch. It is tough, but if you love the switch/addition in work, go for it.

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Wed November 2nd, 2011, 3:00 am

My advice would be to only write what excites you personally. If it would excite you to expand your assignment into a contemporary novel, go for it. If it doesn't you will either find yourself becoming excited about it as you get into the process, or you won't, and if you don't, you're liable to lose steam halfway through (or sooner) and wish you had devoted the time to the novel you really want to be working on.

Take the teacher's compliments as a good indication that you have the potential to make it as a writer. If she likes your contemporary work, but you feel more passionate about your historical fiction, your historical fiction will probably be even better than your contemporary fiction.

That said, no writing is ever wasted. Every word you write is part of learning the craft, as you no doubt realized when you decided to take a writing class from someone who isn't into historical fiction.

I would add, though, that I suspect it would be pretty hard to keep your focus and passion if you're trying to write more than one novel at a time. Classroom assignments and short stories are short enough to work in, but writing two novels at the same time - I don't know. Anybody here ever tried it?
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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stu1883
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Post by stu1883 » Wed November 2nd, 2011, 8:59 am

Thanks everyone, I appreciate the feedback.

Overnight I mulled her comments over & wrote out an outline for a contemporary story - just to get it out of my system I think.

HF is what I want to do, but I am quite pleased she likes my work enough to ask me to write more up to date stuff. Its out of my system now, back to the Crusades!!

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