The most common piece of advice I have read since I started seriously writing is to write what you like to read. This is a great piece of advice if you only read one genre, but I read anything. Much like my tastes in music, I will give almost anything a chance. I love mystery, suspense, romance, chick-lit, and a slew of sub-genres of each. I love classic literature. While sci-fi and paranormal aren’t may favorite genres, I have been known to fall in love with some of them as well. I love to read. So, how do I pick a genre?
I have already said that Robin Cook is my favorite author. He has been since I was a teenager. I am not sure why, I can’t seem to get enough of his books. I find myself looking for other’s like them. Still, I never considered writing a medical thriller. It just isn’t me. The same goes for legal thrillers, crime dramas, suspense.
Perhaps it is the research. Once I start to write, I like to just go. I do some research, but I can’t imagine spending months if not years researching one book. Patience is not my strongest characteristic. When I want something, I don’t want to wait for it. This includes my writing. I have a hard enough time spending a couple weeks outlining, but I know the story is better when I have at least a general idea of where I am going before I start.
I write romance novels. I didn’t set out that way—I intended on Chick Lit, specifically because I wanted to avoid romance. (What can I say, the idea of my mom reading my love scenes freaks me out a bit). Still, as I wrote my first novel, it evolved into a true romance without me knowing it. Without Kaye’s help, I would probably still be clueless about that jump.
But this makes sense. This is what I know. I met Pookie when I was 22, and we moved to another state just a few months later. We were engaged six months after starting to date, married less than two years after we met.
We had conflicts that we needed to get over before we admitted we belonged together, and it almost didn’t happen. Everyone else saw it before Pookie did and they continued to see it after I had given up. Yet, here we are eleven years later, happier than ever. Our relationship could have come straight out of a romance novel.
As a kid, I dreamed of a relationship like ours. I didn’t dream of being a successful, independent woman. I had goals, but love was always at the center of my dreams. Even when I daydream now, my dreams revolve around love and romance, not careers or mysteries.
In other words, I am writing what I know, what is important to me. While romance may not be the genre I read the most, I think that is because it is the genre that lives in my head and my heart. I love a good romance novel, but I can’t imagine it being the only thing I read.
When I read other genres, I am amazed by the authors creativity and discipline. I couldn’t even come up with most of the ideas in the majority of the books I read, but that is why I read them. I am looking for an escape from myself.
What are your favorite genre’s to read and write? Are they the same, or do yours vary like mine? In the spirit of Valentines day, have you ever lived something that could have come straight from a romance novel? Did you realize it at the time? (I sure didn’t!)