My Photo
Location: Central Michigan, United States

Spent a long career making lots of money for other people. Now it's my turn. _____________________________ Email:

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Do You Experiment?

On Monday past, our friend E. Ann Bardawill gave us, as writers, a substantive homework assignment. Please refer to her post titled "Lentils and Flattery". The essay exam is Monday.

In preparation of my own response to Ms. Bardawill's assignment, one fundamental question continues to creep to the front of my mind. That question is: What genre?

Recent posts by other of our fellow writers, Jason Evans and M.G. Tarquini for example, have demonstrated their willingness, and ability, to write good work outside the sphere of their preferred genre. Their deviations cause me to wonder how many others of you do the same. And if you do, how radical is your departure (i.e. you write romance for publication----you play with horror).

Me? I already told you. I haven't figured out my primary genre yet. I just love to tell stories about people.


Blogger Bernita said...

Doesn't that make you "commercial", Erik, and therefore supra-genre?
Mine have been in the non-fiction category - quite 180 degrees.

9:29 AM EST  
Blogger Jaye Wells said...

Have you read On Writing? Int hat book there's a writing exercise where you use one of King's prompts and write a short story. As excpected the prompt had a thriller/horror slant to it. I had so much fun writing that. I write romance so this was a big departure.

I like to try a lot of different types of writing cause I figure you never know when something will click.

10:27 AM EST  
Blogger jason evans said...

Thanks for the nod Erik!! I hope my experimenting hasn't turned too many people off. It's important to do, though. When a writer falls into a formula, an expectation, that writer's on the road to obscurity.

I think I'll give Ann's assignment a try.

11:12 AM EST  
Blogger Erik Ivan James said...

Bernita: Yes, I believe you to be correct. My writing is structured for the masses. Thanks.

Jaye: I started On Writing Monday evening. I'm about half through it. I know the example you mentioned.

Jason: You're welcome. I can't imagine you have turned anyone off by your experiment. It is good writing. I personally, am drawn more by your diversity.

Ann's assignment is a question not to be taken lightly, in my opinion. I have thought a lot about it and am not sure if I am yet sophisticated enough to give her a meaningful answer.

11:25 AM EST  
Blogger R.J. Baker said...

I have been toying with writing a sci-fi story just to explore a few ideas I have regarding the future.

I think it's good to stretch boundries, limits, and test the craft in other genres. I plan on doing more, maybe a western or romance...

5:29 PM EST  
Blogger For The Trees said...

Since I have no earthly idea what genre I write, I can't do anything but write stories that come to me.

I'm beginning to think I'm non-pigeonhole-able. That makes me a hard sell. So, what's new? My whole LIFE'S been a hard sell.

I experiment every time I start a story!

7:35 PM EST  
Blogger Shesawriter said...


Look at your bookshelf. What genre outnumbers the rest?


8:13 PM EST  
Blogger E. Ann Bardawill said...

"Ann's assignment is a question not to be taken lightly, in my opinion. I have thought a lot about it and am not sure if I am yet sophisticated enough to give her a meaningful answer."

I'll settle for a forged excuse note from your parents or dirty limerick.

4:39 PM EST  
Blogger M. G. Tarquini said...

Erik, if you're just writing stories about people, then you're Commercial Fiction. I think that's where everything that isn't genre going. Anyway, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

2:04 AM EST  
Blogger Dana Y. T. Lin said...

I think I'm commercial fiction, but don't hold me to it!

2:33 AM EST  
Blogger Erik Ivan James said...

R.J.: You're not a western kinda guy. Write a good romance, you're in the mood.

Forrest: From what I've seen on your blog, your life's circumstances would make one hell of a good story in fiction form.

Tanya: My bookshelves have a lot of 'everything' on them. I don't believe any 'one' outnumbers the others, at least not significantly.

e. ann: I haven't burned my test sheet yet. I'll be there on Monday. Maybe I'll turn in a blank paper, but I'll show up.

I have to get permission from M.G. to write 'dirty' stuff.

M.G.: Right?

Dana: I enjoy whatever you have to say.

8:18 AM EST  
Blogger Dana Y. T. Lin said...

Erik - awwwww. You're so sweet!

2:47 PM EST  
Blogger Faith said...

Sounds like your genre is mainstream fiction.

2:50 PM EST  
Blogger Erik Ivan James said...

Dana: Thank you, I meant it.

Faith: Thank you for stopping by. I'm honored.

3:21 PM EST  
Blogger E. Ann Bardawill said...

Crossposted to my blog.

Not a miserable answer at all, Erik. Socrates understood that true wisdom belonged only to those who acknowledge that they did not understand much.

Don’t be disheartened. You’ve just made a huge leap. You know what you want, and THAT is the first step in attaining your goal. Now, when inspiration strikes you’ll recognize it. In the mean time, work on becoming the best writer that you possibly can.

Truth is truth, whether you find it in War and Peace or a column by Dave Barry. And you know what? There are many, many truths.

This is the best part of the journey, Erik.
This is the fun part. Figuring it all out.
If it were easy, there wouldn’t be any value to it.

5:14 PM EST  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home