Writing for different genres is like trying on different outfits - you want to make sure you’re wearing the right clothes for the occasion. Each genre has its own unique style and audience, and as a writer, it’s important to adapt your writing to fit their expectations. And it’s not as daunting as it seems! In this article, I will share some tips and tricks for your adapting your style to any genre.
Let’s jump into it!
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Understanding Different Genres
I am a variety writer. I like to jump between genres when writing short stories and novels, as I like not only a different genre but a different feeling with each new project. However, I have to be careful not to use the same tactics I use in other genres, keeping the feeling in mind when writing them.
The first thing you need to keep in mind are the core characteristics of each genre, you can tailor your writing to meet the expectations of your readers and create a story that’s unforgettable. There are many ways of doing this, as I will discuss, but the first thing you need to consider is the core of each genre before even trying.
In doing so, you will have an easier time writing the genre, because you will treat it as a different style and not a different theme for the genre you are most comfortable with. Don’t stress too much, it’s not going to be a drastic change, but a necessary one.
Tips for Adapting Your Style
Right, let’s go through some tips for writing in different genres! You don’t have to use all of these, but if you are struggling with a particular aspect of this transition, these tips might make it easier.
1. Read Widely
First, read extensively in each genre. If you want to write science fiction, it helps to read some of the more popular novels in the genre. Be sure to read as a reader and not a writer first of all, as you want to get a good impression of the feeling created by the authors.
Make a habit of reading regularly, even if you aren’t working with that genre any time soon. Of course, try to stick to stories that interest you, don’t pick up something just because it is popular. If you do want to write in that genre one day, you will want to write a story that you would actually read.
2. Understanding Different Audiences
As mentioned earlier, each genre has its own unique style and conventions. To write effectively for a particle genre, you also need to understand the audience. It helps if you are the target audience, as you can then craft a story that hits the key points that are important to you.
However, if that isn’t the case, it would pay to do some extra research besides reading, but this time questioning readers that enjoy the particular genre. You can find this information in blog posts, youtube videos, and some of my work and courses will certainly give you a good indication of what works in each genre and the kind of readers that enjoy that genre.
If you are a business-oriented writer and would like to define your target market, this is an important step before you even start writing.
3. Study Your Favorite Authors
You can easily identify some of the big names in any genre with a quick google search or by discussing it with the target audience. These are the writers that have become commercial masters of the genre, so study their work closely. Their style, pacing, character development, and use of dialogue.
Take note of the techniques that are often employed in the genre to establish atmosphere or get story details across to the reader. You would find that in all stories there is a certain format, but every genre has specific tricks. Effective writing tools that you can use to set the scene or establish a clear feeling for the reader.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice
You won’t get it right the first time. Jumping straight into a novel isn’t advised either. Try writing short stories first, playing with different ideas, and writing prompts to get the creative juices flowing. Once one story is written, write another and repeat the process, growing more comfortable with the genre.
Remember, nobody is perfect, but setting aside time to improve consistently will bring you closer to your goal than any other method.
5. Get Feedback
Of course, you might need some confirmation that you’re doing something right, especially when delving into uncharted territory. What might appear good to you can appear poor to the genre’s audience, so receiving feedback from the target audience or an experienced writer can be a great help.
Whether it be friends, family members, or a writing coach, that feedback can not only help you build the confidence you need to tackle the new genre, but also give you direction when you feel lost.
6. Don’t Shy Away from Your Own Voice
While you are experimenting, don’t shy away from your own voice. Every writer has a style specific to them. While the techniques may differ from genre to genre, you are still you and that will bring a quality to your writing that nobody can mimic.
With that said, if you start seeing more of yourself in your work, don’t worry that you might be doing something wrong. It’s very rare for a writing style to affect a story to such a degree! Too many writers suffocate their style when branching out into different genres, but any experienced writer will tell you not to worry about it.
Overcoming Some Common Challenges
1. Struggling With Tone
The tone is the mood or feeling conveyed by your writing, and it’s an essential part of adapting to a different gene. To overcome this challenge, reading several books in that genre and paying close attention to the feeling that the author creates will help you shape the tone of your own novel. You can practice creating this tone with short stories or writing certain scenes in your novel.
2. Sticking to Conventions
Each genre has its own set of conventions, such as pacing, character development, and even dialogue! It can be challenging to stick to these conventions while also making your work original and engaging. Once more, this is a challenge you can overcome with research.
You can spot these conventions not only in books but also movies and tv shows. With this in mind, research can be a lot of fun!
3. Avoiding Stereotypes
Ah, stereotypes…they are common in many genres, and they can make your writing feel predictable and uninspired. Personally, I think shying away from stereotypes is okay, but there’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of them, as long as that isn’t all your story includes.
To avoid using so many stereotypes, look to subvert or challenge them in your writing. Find out the common stereotypes in your story plan or your ideas, then try to add a unique twist to them.
4. Finding the Right Voice
Finding the right voice for a particular genre can be difficult, especially if you are used to using a different writing style. Unfortunately, this is not a simple challenge to overcome. Experimenting helps, but you have a unique voice that is specific to you, one that only you and those familiar with your writing can really spot.
All I can say is, don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things in your writing, hopefully forming a special combination of that genre-specific style and your own unique style.
5. Balancing Creativity with Conventions
Every genre has particular conventions, and core elements that make the genre what it is and familiar to that genre’s audience. While it is important to follow conventions in your chosen genre, it’s also important to be creative and original in your writing. To overcome this problem, simply look for unique ways to present these conventions.
You can add unique twists on common themes and explore new ideas, incorporating those essential elements, but creating a unique story at the same time. I only bring this point up because there is a fine line between being creative and breaking the conventions of the genres, so always keep your audience in mind.
As I mentioned earlier, I like to work with different genres. It keeps my imagination on its toes, but more importantly, it keeps me interested and invested in my work. If my stories begin to bore me after a few months of working on them, but I still enjoy the story, then I pay attention to a different project.
Many writers feel the same, which is why it is common for experienced writers to dabble with different genres later in their careers.
If you like to write in different genres, what advice would give beginning writers for tackling the changes each genre presents? Let me know in the comments below!
Thank you for reading and as always,
Good day, goodnight, and happy writing!