07 November, 2012

Defining The Genre Of A Novel: An IWSG Post

About the IWSG (from Alex J. Cavanagh's blog):
Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic.
Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling.

With the onset of the National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo, as it's called by a lot of writers, though I'd love it if someone told me why it's not shortened to the easier-to-type NNWM) I've been hammering away at my untitled project. And it's kind of undefined in other ways than just title: I'm not sure what genre it is.

My original intention was Steampunk; indeed, I think that with changes it could fall into the Steampunk genre. But while I'm describing the character's surroundings and interpreting them through her perspective (I've changed my main character's gender, too, because hey, everything else was up for grabs) I'm not giving it a ton of emphasis. This is hardly my normal method--I'm attracted to Science Fiction and Fantasy for its world-building, and then here I am, doing hardly any at all.

Does it bother me now that I can't see a defining factor in setting? Yes. Does it worry me in the long run that I have no specific category to fit my novel into? No. This is NaNoWriMo (NNWM! I tell you) and while I may not be sure if it's a Contemporary Science Fiction/Steampunk and Action/Adventure or actually a Steampunk novel masquerading as a rather Literary novel with an overdose of Action/Adventure (or maybe just a story about ninjas that's so stealthy it's invisible), I am going to keep writing the way I have been for the past 28,000 words. Because pigeon-holing can come later (or not at all) and I'm going to have fun with this first draft. It's not every month one has an official challenge to which to rise.

Do you have fun with your first drafts, or do you prefer the rewriting/revising/editing stages that come later? Ever had a project that didn't immediately tell you which genre it was?

Also: I'm sorry if I haven't gotten around to your blog in days, or even for over a week. I know I've replied to comments over a couple days old and Google Reader has exploded into the 1000+ posts state, with 600+ in the folder I frequent the most often. Basically, I'm spending hours writing every day for NaNoWriMo and I just can't keep up with everyone. I do promise to visit your blogs as often as I can this month and in December I'm sure I'll be back in force, assuming I escape the clutches of NaNo alive.

-----The Golden Eagle


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

And I thought my Google Reader looked scary!
Maybe once you finish it you'll have a better feel for the genre and can go back and add those elements.
Keep writing!

Anonymous said...

Why isn't it NNWM? That's going to bother me now. Anyways, I totally know what you're talking about. I like to tell myself that the first draft is for figuring out what works and what doesn't. Mine as well go for it! :) Good luck!

Jemi Fraser said...

I don't visit nearly as many blogs as normal during nano either (and I always say nano & often skip the caps as it drives me nuts to write it all out!!!).

You're doing great with your word count! The genre will figure itself out in time - just have fun! :)

Anonymous said...

I always have a feel for the genre before I write--especially since I plan extensively--although I adore books that seem ambiguous and have numerous elements.

L.G.Smith said...

Most of you Nano-ers have gone into bunker mode, so blogging has slowed on a lot of days.

And just keep writing. Steampunk is a great genre to be working with, even if it does come out sort of literary. I've had trouble defining the genre of my novels, too. I just go with Speculative/post-apocalyptic fiction, even though there's so much more going on.

Krista McLaughlin said...

I haven't been too good at reading blogs lately either. But NaNo will end at the end of this month! :)

Great job so far! That's an impressive word count!

I usually have fun with my first drafts. My NaNo novel doesn't have a genre right now. It's kinda of YAurban fantasy, with a bit of romance, and a few dashes of sci-fi. Yep, kinda confusing. :)

Good luck with the rest of NaNo!

mshatch said...

no worries about visiting; keep writing! And I'm so glad you're having fun with your nano project. That's when writing is a joy.

Precy Larkins said...

I'm doing NaNo too and totally pantsing it. So the worldbuilding and setting are not well-defined yet. I guess that's what revisions/edting are for. Good luck with your NaNo WIP!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

The shortened version is much better. I get behind on blogging too but writing must come first.

Pat Hatt said...

Sure you'll make it out alive and yeah the genre can be hard to pick at times, but once it is all said and done it is a bit easier.

Brinda said...

I LOVE writing the first draft. Editing...not so much.

Denise Covey said...

Hi Golden. I love the way characters change. My story is from the male POV hmmm. How did that happen? I often do it in my flash fiction and people like my male voice so I think it just happened...Good writing!! All success to you!!

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Golden
When I first started writing I had trouble with what genre, but no more. Maybe I've just trained myself to see through Elvin eyes. LOL

Good luck with NaNo and no worries about visits.

JeffO said...

NNWM may be easier to type, but NaNoWriMo is easier to say!

I'm bad with category/genre. I think I finally decided my first novel is really a literary love story, but I'm not 100% sure what I'd call my next one. It's sort of dystopian, but not exactly. Bleah.

Angela Brown said...

That is the beauty of NaNoWriMo. Now is the time to pour it all out, let it go and fall onto the paper. Once you go into the revision and edit stage, you can add here, take away there, thicken a plot angle across the way then skip to my lou darling, you've got more to work on to better define your genre.

DWei said...

I don't like doing drafts. I just write the entire thing at once and then edit once I'm done.

And that's why I prefer using a computer, allows me to do those edits easier.

Old Kitty said...

I definitely prefer first draft writing!! It feels free-er and less constrained!!

Glad Nanowrimo is freeing for you too!!! All the best!! Take care

Catherine Noble said...

28000 words, that's amazing! I'm just having fun with my first draft, I won't be touching any editing or adding extra elements until this first draft is done.

Good luck :)

Candilynn Fite said...

I much prefer drafting over editing. Any day. Don't worry about the genre stuff at the moment, just focus on drafting the story. Best of luck to you with Nano.

Susan Roebuck said...

NanoWrimo is quicker to say than write! I did it last year and I'm still sorting the mess I made out now - but that's just me, I'm a very disorganized person. I wouldn't worry about genre or setting - everything will come out in the wash. Mind you, a lot of fiction falls between genres, it's not a problem.

Erin M. Hartshorn said...

I'm with JeffO -- it's because NaNoWriMo is easier to say. And those of us who are truly lazy refer to the event as NaNo and the participants as WriMos. ;)

Good luck with finding your defining factor for setting. Later.

Jessica Bell said...

First drafts are my worst nightmare because they're so uninspiring. It's only once I have the bones to embellish that my writing really begins to show some life.

Charles Gramlich said...

In these days of so much cross genre work, I wouldn't worry about defining the genre too much.

Jamie Gibbs said...

One day you'll prevail over Google Reader, just be patient :)

I think it's fine to not know what particular genre you're writing in; just go with the flow and see what happens. You can always add in the steampunk later by referencing zepplins once per chapter :)


The Golden Eagle said...

Alex: LOL. Yeah, my GR gets pretty terrifying.

I'm hoping that's the way it works out!

Madeline: Sorry to introduce another bother . . . but I've always wondered about it myself. :P

Thank you!

Jemi: I've noticed a lot of people doing that. But I'm a stickler for punctuation, probably to my detriment. LOL.

Thanks! Trying to do that. :)

Medeia: Same here. Books the blend genres can be really interesting, even if their individual parts aren't that spectacular.

L.G.: Bunker mode--ha! Sometimes a bunker sounds nice.

Speculative is always a nice blanket term. :)

Krista: Yup! There's that to look forward to . . . or mourn, if you're a big fan of the challenge, I guess.

Thank you!

Good luck to you, too. And I like the sound of your project.

Mshatch: I usually love drafting. Not when it gets to the point where "Agh, why did I start writing this novel in the first place?!" comes in, but all the other parts are fun for me. :)

Precy: Good luck! I pantsed a lot of my NaNoWriMo novel from last year, though I had a rough outline.


Susan: Agreed. LOL.

I'm finding that for November, at least, writing is coming first, too.

Pat: True! It's a lot easier to define a novel when you aren't in the midst of writing it.

Brinda: I don't mind editing, but rewrites/revisions . . . those are the parts I dislike the most.

Denise: Hope your story goes well! I've written a few stories from a male POV--it's fun.

Thank you. :)

Nancy: Good for you. I'm sure the amount of writing one does helps the process of defining genre.

Thanks. I really appreciate the support.

JeffO: Yeah, that's true. Maybe there should be a rule you type NNWM and say "Na-No-Wri-Mo".

Sounds interesting, though. Books with dystopian elements can contain some really intriguing ideas.

Angela: I'm looking forward to fixing up this novel at this point. I haven't even opened the document containing last year's NaNo I disliked it by the end so much. :P

DWei: I like the ease of editing on a computer, too.

The Golden Eagle said...

Old Kitty: I agree!

Thank you. :)

Catherine: Good to hear you're having fun with your project. That's awesome!


Candilynn: Thank you. I like drafting quite a bit as well.

Susan: It is, true.

I haven't even looked at the word vomit I produced for last year's NaNo. It's too horrible. LOL.

Erin: Maybe I should adopt that method . . .

Thank you!

Jessica: I like the creativity that comes with them when you're writing them, but yeah, it's not very inspiring to look at a crappy draft and think about trying to make it good.

Charles: I suppose it's just that I'm afraid of not including enough setting by not having a defined genre.

Jamie: Trying! :)

LOL. I really laughed at your comment since I actually do have airships; around half of the story is based aboard one.