There were so many topics I debated for this post, but ultimately I decided to go with Genre, Writing Style and Inspiration for your next books. And before getting into it, I truly believe all three topics come from inside us. They are part of something inside us.
As a starting point, I want to share that it took me 13 years to finish my first book.
What do I mean by that? I had this idea when I was 16 years old. The characters lived with me until 2018, when I finally sat down and wrote them down. As I mentioned in a previous post — I hate this book. It was until my second book that I rediscovered my love for writing.
Inspiration came so easily for me. It was while I was reading ACOTAR and remembered Avatar, the last airbender, that my second book came to life.
And after that… my third book. My inspiration came from my childhood: Sailor Moon, to be exact.
As I was dealing with rejections, I hit a slump. In one of my darkest moments, I thought maybe I should just follow trends and stop aiming for the inspiration that makes me, me. Maybe that way I will get an offer of representation, if I just follow famous writing styles and I focus on purple prose more or literary fiction or something else! I was so lost.
And in my negativity, I found my next idea. The theme was darker than the things I usually write. I’m currently 25k words in, and this is the first time where my childhood has nothing to do with my inspiration. This is completely cathartic and the first time I’m writing in the Adult Genre. This time the voice of my characters does not come from them being hopeful in the outlook of life. It comes from hope finding them while they succumb to their lowest point.
Where am I going with this?
Write for you. Whatever that may be.
If you are in the query trenches and receive a pile of rejections and you are anything like me, you will question everything.
Never in my life I thought I would be writing in the Adult Genre and the reason it’s because I always thought my writing style was not enough or mature enough for the Adult genre. And maybe it is not, but that’s okay.
There are many ways to get inspiration, through songs, through movies, even through just moments in life.
One of the most important things I’ve learned about this process is to adapt. Adapt to my new needs and throw the checklist out the window.
Inspiration might take a while to come and it might be something completely out of your comfort zone, but if it is cathartic and helps you adapt, do it.
Which brings me again to writing style. Do I need to change my writing style to please a few? It’s a hard no for me. I had to really think about what success means to me. And to me, it’s writing the way I love to write. I’ll use purple prose for example.
I appreciate purple prose, but it is not something I want to write. Even when I read it, I struggle with it. So, as beautiful as some writing styles are, I’ve realized some are not for me. I devour books after books, and the more I read, the more I learn what I like and what I don’t like.
The one realization that came to me fairly recently was that in order to be a better writer in whatever genre you pick, you have to read that genre extensively.
I agree to disagree. While yes, you do have to read that genre, that is not the only thing you have to read. I love writing paranormal romance, and yet, it is not my favorite thing to read. My favorite thing to read is contemporary romance, and now that I am writing contemporary, it is the most difficult thing I have ever written.
There are no rules, especially when it comes to creativity and creating the first draft. It’s only the pen, the paper, and your mind. So do what works for you and try something new, regardless of what people or others may say the status quo is.
Summary of all of this:
Writing Style: This is you. Read, yes, learn more writing styles, yes. But be you. Writing style is your imprint and your signature. As more experiences come into your life, use them and add them to your writing style.
Genre: Evolve. Take it from me. When I was 16, I could only read YA and MG. I don’t ever see myself writing MG. If you would have asked me 2 years ago, I would have said Young Adult Romance all the way. Now… I just write the genre, the voice and tone my characters are taking me to. (I will always write Romance though, some things never change).
Inspiration: Grab it and take note of it. You never know what a thought can lead to. It might be something completely out of place or insignificant, or it can also be something where the seed of the most amazing world is taking root.
Dear Reader, I leave you with this quote from the movie August Rush. (The movie is about music, but I change the feeling they have from music to writing).
“You never quit on your music. No matter what happens. Cuz anytime something bad happens to you, that’s the one place you can escape to and just let it go. I learned it the hard way.”
Never quit on your writing.
Alexandra Garcia is an aspiring YA/NA Fantasy, Contemporary and Paranormal Romance author. She currently lives in Texas with her husband and 2 pups: Jett and Maggie. She is currently querying her 3rd manuscript and just like all her novels she is a constant work in progress.
You can find her here:
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