I think that everyone who wants to be an author has an idea of the story they want to tell, whether it’s their own or one they’ve made up. At the very least, they have an idea of what type of story they want to tell: horror, fantasy, romance, historical, etc. For a long time, I was certain that I wanted to write in the fantasy genre. Fantasy was what I enjoyed reading, so it was naturally what I wanted to recreate on the page.
My earliest plot ideas all centered around epic fantasy, but I quickly realized that I was more interested in individuals than countries. What I became focused on were stories that dealt with localized events in the lives of one or two main characters.
In my quest to improve my writing I read widely, until I got a bit burnt out on the fantasy genre. So I went further afield, exploring genres I had previously derided, like women’s fiction and literary/commercial fiction. In a short time, I was hooked, until I was reading very little genre fiction at all.
Around the time this all happened, I quit blogging and tweeting. The more I read outside my longtime favorite genre, the more ideas I started to get outside of that genre. I panicked over what to write and hit a wall of confusion. All of a sudden I was asking myself what kind of writer I wanted to be, when the answer had always seemed so clear before. And if I wasn’t a fantasy writer, what was I? It was time to take a step back.
Now I’m on the other side of this self-imposed break, and I can’t say I have a cut-and-dried answer for what shape the future of my writing will take. My only plan is write the kind of things that I want to write and nurture whatever ideas I have, regardless of where they fall in the broad spectrum of fiction. So what will I write about? In short, whatever compells me. Right now I’m brainstorming a piece of commercial fiction, but who knows what the future will hold.
How do you decide what you want to write about, or what type of writing you do? Do you just pursue whatever ideas you find interesting, or do you focus on a certain type of story for a specific reason? I’d love to hear about how you chose what to write.