Surprise! You're not a Historical Writer

When I first starting writing, I wanted to be a historical romance writer. It was my dream to have my name sitting among other well-known historical writers like Mary Hawkins and Brenda Joyce. Then I started to write one. I quickly realized I sucked at them. I didn’t have the patience for the research. My respect for historical writers increased drastically when I saw the amount of research that went into one book. Holy cow. Since I’m not big into history, I know throw the tomatoes, research was a chore not a pleasure. So I accepted that historical writing just wasn’t for me.

What was I going to do now?

In my quest to find the genre where I belonged, I wrote a time travel short story. I felt a little more comfortable here. I could throw in contemporary slang and was freer to write the way I wanted. I liked having a heroine who wasn’t restrained by the expectations of society. One who could toss out a curse word and actually shock the hero because ladies do not speak like that. One who didn’t have sit properly, but could slouch in her chair. So I was getting warmer.

Then I dabbled in paranormal. I enjoyed letting my imagination go. It was fun trying to put a new spin on things. That is where the idea for The Feline Fugitive came from. I got to bring in oddities that would never happen in real life. Very cool. Getting even warmer.

Then I tried fantasy. Again fun, but something was missing.

What could it be?

I’d tried every genre I could think of. I wasn’t even going to attempt Sci-fi. That would be a complete disaster. So what else could I write?


I actually grimaced. I hadn’t read much of those. And the idea of writing about everyday life didn’t appeal to me. I was more a wanted-to-be-swept-away-to-far-away-lands type girl. But what the hey, right? I tried everything else.

So I started a contemporary, which lead to a full novel. I’m now working on a second contemporary novel. I never in all my years believed I would love to write contemporary. But I do. The contemporary genre is where I’m supposed to be. My writing is the strongest in this genre, and I feel the most comfortable here. So now I have a new dream of being a contemporary author.

I still love my historicals, but I’ll leave the writing to the professionals. I’ll just enjoy a good book from time to time.

So, how about ya’ll, when you first started out were you aiming for a certain genre, only to find you really sucked at it and needed to switch gears?



Nicole North said...

Cool post! I am apparently the opposite. LOL Even though I love historicals, I started out in contemporary because the research scared me. What if I got something wrong? Later, like you, I dipped my toe into the historical world through time travel. Then once I discovered research wasn't as bad as I'd imagined (in fact could be fun at times) I started writing one of my favorite subgenres, historical (and paranormal historical.)

Julia Phillips Smith said...

Enjoyed this immensely. I've been writing dark historicals - not really romance, but with romantic elements - and I was urged to write vampire stories for years. Nothing came to me until the one I'm currently working on. The vampire writers I admired so much seemed to have done everything as well as it could be done. Until I finally got my story idea.

Danica Avet said...

Ooh yes, I actually have a BA in History so eventually I'll try to put some of my research skills to use, but right now I'm all paranormal. I tried to write several contemporaries, but they just...meh. I couldn't get them to the point where they were even half interesting (for me!). And I completely suck at myseries.

Terry Spear said...

I love doing research! In everything--from houses, to furniture, to plants and animals and weather and historical. So even in my contemporary urban fantasy werewolf stories, I'm researching. Well, and about wolves. Lots about wolves. The only genre I didn't enjoy writing was YA straight contemporary. Paranormal, yes. I wrote straight contemporary adult romance, which was fun, but it has more of a comedy spin. Although none are published. I love urban fantasy/paranormal and historical too much so I concentrate on them.