Wednesday, March 14, 2012

7 Questions to Ask When Finding Your Genre

Early Spring for a Writer Doesn't Always Mean You're in Full Bloom! (Had to get my photo of my crocus in here somewhere...)
 It's not always easy to know where to begin when a person starts writing. Most start off writing what they like to read, but then, get stuck in the process, realizing that they are missing something. 

And it's true that just because you love reading historical romances, maybe your voice, your time that it takes to research a time period or just you, writing in the historical genre, doesn't click. Plenty of authors have come to this place, and at least one author I know was getting rejected miserably in romantic suspense so much, it was by accident that she discovered her voice in romantic comedy. (And went on to be a New York Times Bestseller.)

So, what can you do to find that sweet spot where you write best? Here are some questions to think and pray about so you can perhaps get there faster. Or if you're being rejected over and over, do consider these questions--before quitting or hiring someone to work over your manuscripts.

  •  What are you passionate about?
  • What gives you energy and motivates you?
  • What shows up over and over in your stories--or in the stories you love to read?(What is the true thread in your writing?)
  • What is important to you creatively? (Educate, scare, entertain, enlighten, explore...)
  • Do you have a personal cause or agenda that defines you? (Already established a platform?)
  • What stories did you love as a child? (And if you've read any of the When I Was Just a Kid interviews that I do, you'll often see a thread that connects the child with the writer she grows up to be. Be sure to email me if you'd like to be featured in a When I Was Just a Kid interview. I have one planned soon, but will start taking more soon.)
  • What genre truly is best for your writing style and for your interests?

I've struggled over some of these very things and have come to some surprising answers, and still am discovering some. Maybe these will help you, or maybe you have a few other questions to ask that we could learn from in our journeys. 

Crystal Laine Miller


  1. I think it's very true you will find your voice and your genre by your passion. I love history and find writing historical fiction my niche! Ironically, it took me a few badly written novels before finally realizing I was in the wrong genre but at least I figured it out eventually! Great post!

  2. That is so cool, Karla! I noticed on your Pinterest and blogs how you already go to historical things, so it's easy to see your passion.

    I'm excited for you that you've found your place! This is one aspect of our writing that we have to find within ourselves, through prayer and digging in writing there.

    Thanks so much for sharing your journey, too. It's encouraging to me too.

  3. I love to read science fiction and fantasy, but love to research historical topics. So I think my voice is historical. But also, as a life-long horse nut, I have always included horses in my stories. Hard to include them in outer space, though ...

  4. My interest lies in stories - by that I mean people interaction, what motivates them, and their personal and interpersonal growth. I think I'll end up in women's fiction, or general fiction because.

  5. Very good comments, Crystal.

    My reading has hit the gamut. Adventure, Sci-fi, mysteries, horror, even sports stories. Currently, I'm reading a lot of biographies. So with this background, do you think I should write women's fiction, or historical romance?

    Getting serious, I've tried my hand at an adventure, but I'm finding myself writing more mysteries. I'm not sure I'd do good with suspense, but I'll probably try to find out.