Form and genre: planning and meandering- an IWSG post #IWSG

This post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG), an inspiring blog hop for writers of all kinds. For more details go to the main sign-up page, and make sure to drop by a few blogs while you’re there.

The co-hosts for the August edition of the IWSG are Susan Baury Rouchard, Nancy Gideon, Jennifer Lane, Jennifer Hawes, Chemist Ken and Chrys Fey. Make sure you head over to see these guys and share some IWSG love!

Each month the IWSG posts a question that can be used in the next blog post, as a guide for sharing thoughts and advice to fellow writers. This month the question is:

Quote: “Although I have written a short story collection, the form found me and not the other way around. Don’t write short stories, novels or poems. Just write your truth and your stories will mould into the shapes they need to be.”
Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn’t planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?

Firstly, happy August everyone! I almost didn’t make it to this month’s IWSG post. The children are now in their summer holidays, which means I have very little time for things like this unless I get up earlier than everyone else and/or stay up later (I chose the former option for this one).

Image by croisy from Pixabay

At the moment, all signs are pointing towards a return to school in September, but at the back of my mind I’m preparing myself for more home schooling/home working/spending way too much time with my children and everything that comes with it all.

Now, to the question: It’s not often that the form I’m writing in has shaped itself into something else. When I’m writing a short story, for example, I’m very aware of the reduced word limit that I’m trying to stick to and the importance of still ticking all the beginning/middle/end boxes that make the story work. This means that I’m actively working to contain the story within the limits of the form. Different methods are used within short story writing to deliberately move the story on swiftly to keep the narrative flowing, and, although the same could be said for longer forms, they can be used slightly differently and over longer periods.

Now genre, that definitely does have a tendency to shape itself into something other than what I’d first intended. When I first started writing I’d usually begin a story with something in the sci-fi/fantasy genres (my favourite for reading and writing), but very quickly I noticed that other genres would creep in, most notably horror, psychological thriller and mystery. I was most surprised by the psychological thriller aspect, and it certainly wasn’t something that I’d ever thought I’d want or be able to write. It does make me wonder how much of a reflection it is on how my mind works!

So, how about you? Do you pre-plan your form and genre, or do you just let it flow right from the start and see where it takes you?

9 thoughts on “Form and genre: planning and meandering- an IWSG post #IWSG

  1. Hi Heather, I can completely relate to the point about other genres creeping in. I found that with my latest work which started out as a fantasy but had so much leaning towards horror, I thought I’d better reclassify it!
    Hope your family are safe and well. Chris

    1. I usually try to be a planner too, but have to watch myself or I’ll have every tiny element broken down into it’s own part. I’m learning not to take it to such extremes. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I think I preplan, but sometimes the story hijacks me in the middle. Then I have to decide whether to rein it in or go for the ride, lol.

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