Let’s talk some shop, eh?
A couple of times in the last year, I’ve found myself in the situation where I’m working on something and realize I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing (in the un-fun sense).
Now before I ramble on, I am a big fan of branching outside your element once and a while to try new things and dip your toes in a different stream, so to speak. And I think it’s totally okay to write in a genre you don’t read much in. Though I can’t say the same for a genre you don’t like, but that’s a different ramble. Being in your element doesn’t mean you only write one kind of story — it only needs to be something that you would read and love yourself. For example, I love horror. I don’t necessarily want to read much of it. After all, if I write it, I trust that I won’t give myself nightmares. HP Lovecraft might.
Everything in your realm though, is not in your element.
For instance, there is a difference between high concept, portal, contemporary, urban, and historical fantasy. I’m not good at all of them. Nor should I be. It’s why we have all these different writers with different strengths and interests. Sometimes you want to try something new though. Like if you’re supernaturally bent like me, you might be more comfortable trying a horror story with a paranormal theme first, before you try a full on supernatural-free horror.
I have an idea baking right now that’s a contemporary fantasy with historical bits. Sometimes love for a genre doesn’t necessarily translate to your writing. If I went full out historical, even historical fantasy, it would be a disaster. And I know this. So I start with historical scenes and chapters and sandwich them between things I’m good at to build my skills up.
Now, you may be wondering what this has to with anything. Chains of Destiny is a high fantasy, and it is giving me fits. The biggest problem I’ve been having is that I just plum don’t know where I am. I have nothing to ground me. Maybe this sounds strange because I make up towns all the time and often have to draw a map to orient myself. However, I always know where I am–some past, present, or future version of this world. Being that I’ve never written a high fantasy before this (and don’t read a whole lot of it either), I seem to have bitten off more than I can handle. (Wouldn’t be the first time. Ha!)
I do have a portal fantasy on my list that I’m still working the kinks out of. I’m wondering if doing that one first will help me figure out how to make this high concept work. Of course, I’ve never done a portal fantasy either (though I’ve read a ton), but at least that will let me anchor myself in something I’m familiar with, and then maybe I can create the new world from there. I tried to make Chains of Destiny a portal fantasy, a couple of times actually, and yeah, so not happening. So…yeah, I don’t know. Dudes, seriously, I need to stop doing things I’ve never done before. Unfortunately, of the stories I have ready to draft, not a single one of them is something I’ve done before. brain melts
No matter though, whatever I end up doing, the best and worst thing about trying something new is that is always floods me with ideas. Really, if you want a story idea, I will throw a handful at you. I don’t know why this keeps happening. Not that I’m complaining too much. ^_^ Hmm, I would so love to multitask some stories right now. *fingers crossed that I can find a way to swing it* And find a way to finish something. It’s only been since August, but I feel like it’s been forever.
On a random note: If you haven’t seen The Incredible Burt Wonderstone…it’s awesome. thumbs up