I encountered this problem a few weeks ago where I had this awesome dream that I felt needed to be a story, novel, movie, SOMETHING. I won’t divulge what it was (yet) because I’m still sitting on it pretty hard trying to figure out what to do.
This is only an issue because the the piece would be some pretty hard fantasy, and I do not write fantasy at all. I’ve only read it briefly. I struggled with the people in my creative writing classes who wrote really high fantasy pieces because it’s not my genre. I just don’t personally get it. I have a hard time reading it because I get lost in all the world building.
But I’m not here to talk about why fantasy isn’t my favorite genre, I’m here to talk about writing in genres that are uncomfortable to us.
This piece (which I have started to very vaguely plot out) is a superhero fiction I think.
I’m flying by the seat of my pants here.
When I sat down and wrote the basic plot line of my dream, I panicked for a minute. This entire thing, as it is in my head right now, is based in a completely different world. Which means, for the first time in my writing-life, I need to legit sit down and imagine an entire new world!
Where do you even start!?
I figured Google would be a wonderful resource (it rarely ever fails me) and I did find some good tips from useful people, including George RR Martin:
Plus of course there’s Writer’s Digest which is always a pretty good tool when you’re looking for help with things of this nature.
My other idea was to get a hold of a former classmate who actively writes sci-fi/fantasy and get some tips on doing this for the first time. Mostly asking questions about where to start in the planning stages. I’ll get to the writing part later ;).
None of this is going to come easy for me. I’m used to writing modern worlds, modern people. I don’t need to explain in great detail what the scenery looks like, what people look like, what their regular life is like because it’s all common knowledge to us.
I haven’t made any big strides on this piece yet at all. It’s really not a priority right now, like Where I Belong and planning my wedding both are. BUT I will get to it one day. I’m not going to let the fear of epic failing a piece (I probably will but I’m cautiously optimistic) keep me from even trying.
How else do we grow as writers? The ultimate way to learn new things is to challenge yourself.
So here’s my 3 tips for what to do when you get an idea for a story
but you don’t know how to write it:
- Internet research
- Other people have successfully written in that genre. See what they do that works!
- Talk to your writing peers
- If you have other writerly friends that commonly write the genre you’re concerned about, talk to them! We’re all a community here.
- Just write it!
- Seriously, reference the quote at the top. It’s good advice. Promise!
Have you written outside your genre before? How did it go?