Monday, August 22, 2011

How to Think Sideways: Genre

I was working on my How to Think Sideways class last night. I'm massively behind, but I'm not letting that discourage me from continuing to plug away at the coursework. This week's lesson was about learning the market, and it left me uneasy on many levels.

I used to read voraciously, but I don't read nearly as much anymore. The lesson highlighted the need for me to read more, both in my genre and in others. Which brings me to the whole genre question. As I've talked about before, I've got book ideas that cover many different genres. I wanted the one I'm working on right now, Code Name: Dream Chaser, to be Adult fiction. The problem is, it really is Christian fiction. The main character is a Christian trying to break into professional ministry. Several scenes happen in churches. I love the idea of writing Christian fiction because Christianity is a big influence in my life. I'm surrounded by it culturally, and intellectually. I know it well, even if I don't live it out well all the time.

But I'm starting to feel a bit overwhelmed. I already feel stretched beyond my capacity to keep up, and now I need to add hours and hours of critical reading to my already over booked schedule. But this is part of becoming what I want to become. I want to be a published author. I'm not going to relish every part of the journey, but that doesn't mean I can skip the parts I don't like.

And come to find out I should have done all this genre and market research before I started writing. Oops. I took How to Think Sideways to try to improve as a writer, but it seems more and more that I should have taken it before I even got started. Scary thought, maybe I am just getting started. Maybe this first year of taking writing seriously has been little more than preparation (despite all I've written). I feel like I've gotten better, so I wouldn't call it a waste.

The next step would seem to be making a reading list. I've read the Left Behind series, and started the Circle trilogy (it actually now has a fourth book, but I guess its still a trilogy). I loved the Left Behind series. I didn't like the Circle trilogy as much. I need to figure out why. So far, I haven't read anything like my story, but my great fear is that when I start researching Christian fiction, I'll find my story has already been done, and done to death.

Then what do I do? I can't see stopping. I may fail, and fail greatly with this first story, but by Grabthar's hammer, I will not quit.

4 comments:

Mazil said...

From what I read of your synopsis, back before NaNo, Christian fiction sounds like a great genre fit :)

If you've read quite a lot of adult fiction, maybe it's not such a great leap to apply the same to Christian fiction, and especially as you're thinking and reading and writing about Christianity now too (I just read your other recent posts).

It seems to me that research and marketing can help sell a good book, but won't necessarily write one :D

Bill D said...

Ted,
I came to your site with the intention of asking you how the "How to Think Sideways" class was going when i see this post!
How do you like it? Are you finding it valuable? I'd like to hear your thoughts.

Ted said...

I'm enjoying it and I feel like I'm learning from every lesson. I just wish I wasn't so far behind. Between the Unicorn story, my WIP, Blizzard Short Story contest, and two Fantasy Football drafts to prepare for, I'm burning at both ends.

Bill D said...

Sounds like you're burning at 2 or 3 ends! (I know, it doesn't make sense!) Good luck! Over on Saucy Ink I think you said you were skipping Nano this year, which sounds wise based upon the list of activities you're in right now. I'm bracing myself for it and it will be my first attempt at writing anything outside of required freshman creative writing class! (that was about 20 or so years ago!)