Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Writing Outside Your Comfort Genre

Please welcome Karoline Barrett as our guest poster today!

     Thank you, Diana for letting me guest blog!

     I grew up reading romance and women’s fiction, so naturally, when I began writing short stories, they were romance and women’s fiction. I’d decided that was my comfort genre. When I wrote my debut novel, it was suspenseful women’s fiction with a romantic element. I was right at home writing it.

     One day, my agent told me that Harlequin was joining with Cosmopolitan Magazine to put out Cosmo Hot-Reads, was I interested in writing a novella for them? They had to be sexy, contemporary stories featuring fun, fearless women who know what they want from their lives, their careers, and their lovers. Did I want to take it on?

     Did she mean erotica? I  confess to reading Cosmo a couple of times a year, and I  tried reading Shades of Gray, (but couldn’t get past the horrible writing), so I’m not opposed to reading erotica, but write it?

     Why not? I thought. Sometimes it’s good to go where we haven’t before. It’s good for the brain, and  helps us grow as writers. I told her I would try. I prepared by reading The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Writing Erotic Romance. But even after I read that, I admit I had problems writing the descriptive sex scenes. I loved my characters, I loved the plot, but I danced around the actual sex scenes. It’s just not what I write. At least in such detail.

     After reading my first draft, my agent told me I had to be more descriptive with the sex scenes. I thought, “Oh Boy!” and  picked up an erotic romance at Barnes & Noble. I wish  I could remember the author’s name  because I loved the book, and  I loved that she replied to me when I emailed her and asked her how on earth she could write such descriptive, vivid sex scenes. How could I write a beautiful sex scene that was lusty, hot, and verrry descriptive (and without the words “pulsing manhood”)?  I remember her telling me  “Practice saying those words until they come naturally.” I did, and it helped.

     I actually had a lot of fun writing that novella. It’s called HAVING IT ALL, and while Harlequin didn’t bite, my agent has it out on submission again. It was a growing experience and while I don’t see myself writing erotica full time,  I’d like to see it in print, and I wouldn’t mind writing another one. Or two. It was good to step outside my comfort genre!
     If you’d like to know about me and my debut novel THE ART OF BEING REBEKKAH, please visit my website here.


Okay, folks...you knew this was coming...time to try writing something outside your regular genre!

This is throw some spaghetti time. Open a new document or, in your writing journal, turn to a fresh page. What genre have you NOT yet written in? Take a moment to jot down the particulars of the genre (murder mysteries have red herrings and plot twists, romances have a happily-ever-after ending, for example).

Then start writing! Dive right in and see where the genre takes you. Yes, I know you usually start by plotting or you write by giving your characters their heads and seeing where they go. Forget all that today and just write. Think genre...and go!

Thanks to Karoline for a great post that's gotten us moving in a fresh direction!


1 comment:

Karoline Barrett said...

Thanks for having me!