What Do You Write?

If you get a group of writers together in a room, the “What do you write” question is probably the first thing that is asked. And, it’s a question I’ve come to dread.

I have two short stories published. One is a contemporary romance, while the other has a fantasy setting.

I’ve written a mystery that will never see the light of day. I have a historical romance that desperately needs revision, but I’ve lost any affection for that story and its characters. I’ve written a few speculative fiction short stories that I’m still revising. I have ideas for a couple of fantasy novels.

And I hate saying any or all of that out loud in a group of writers. Some will sneer because I’m a “genre” writer and not a proper literary writer. As much as I wish it weren’t true, a large segment of writers—particularly those who’ve attended some of the more prestigious MFA programs—don’t feel that genre authors are really producing anything of value.

Others will assume my work is formulaic and focused just on commercial sales, rather than artfully telling an engaging story. Because, as everyone knows, those writers working in romance, mystery, horror, fantasy, or sci-fi are just churning out the same tired old tropes that have been done to death to make a quick buck. Right?

And, if I were to ever breathe a word about pondering writing either a horror novel or a memoir, that would invite additional skepticism. Plus, the fact that I’ve been studying my craft and writing for over twenty years but with only a few small publications to my credit certainly means I’m not a writer to be taken seriously. If I were any good, I’d have more publications is often the assumption.

Sadly, my defense to all that is to be a snob in my own way. I rarely read literary fiction these days. And, I tend to stay quiet when in a group of writers since I don’t often feel that I’ve earned the right to speak on the writing life.

And yet, that hard, slow slog in the genre mines has taught me a lot about perseverance, determination, and trusting my instincts.

What about you? What biases do you hold against writers who work in areas different from yours? And, what lessons have you learned in your writing journey?

Photo by <a href=”https://unsplash.com/@amseaman?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText”>Andrew Seaman</a> on <a href=”https://unsplash.com/photos/-m88z7ily-w?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText”>Unsplash</a&gt;

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