Are you a one-trick pony?
Do you write short stories? Is that the only form of writing you do? Have you ever tried any other genre of writing? I’m a firm believer that trying different types of writing can improve your skills. I will happily confess that I am NOT a poet! I’ve tried, and it’s just not me! But I do have go at poetry exercises from time to time because I know it gives me a different slant on the writing process.
Each writing genre has its own features, guidelines, principles, and even quirks. So, if you want to become a specialist writer, then that’s where hours of practice come in. But supposing you don’t yet know which genre of writing is for you. Or you’ve got a bit stuck and need a new source of inspiration? I highly recommend trying something different from time to time.
- With poems, every word counts. Poems are often image-based, so you have to search for exactly the right words, be they nouns, verb, adjectives or adverbs – to create the picture you want your readers to see.
- If poems aren’t image-based, then they tend to be about emotions. Again, this directs the writer to thinking more deeply about exactly the right words to describe feelings.
- Poems are often shorter than short stories, so you have to be concise, using strong language rather than weak.
- Some poems rhyme – a skill that demands quite a lot of thought. (Although there are websites that will give you rhymes for almost every word you can think of!)
- Above all, poems have a rhythm, a flow, a beat, a tempo. Practising that particular skill will often help with prose writing too.
Not sure how to start writing poetry? Try some of the shorter versions:
- Haiku: a poem of three lines, the first of which has 5 syllables, the second 7 syllables and the third 5 syllables. They often have a nature theme.
- Limerick: a funny 5-line poem where the 1st, 2nd and 5th lines rhyme, as do the 3rd and 4th.
- Acrostic: the first letter of each line spells a word that can be the theme of the poem.
Other ways of writing poetry:
Take a favourite or well-known poem, like Wordsworth’s Daffodils, keep the beat and the rhyme pattern, and substitute your own words.
Have a look at Sonnets (Shakespeare’s in particular) and have a go.
Or just write, not quite prose, not quite rhyming poetry. This is Free Verse.
Perhaps you’ve come to a halt in writing fiction and want to try something completely different. Try non-fiction. Research is the key here – you HAVE to be 100 per cent accurate.
- An article for a newspaper, magazine or website. It might be about a hobby, a pastime, a holiday.
- A letter to a newpaper, magazine or website. It could be about politics or an issue you feel strongly about.
- Write for your local newspaper, about a local group, a local issue, a sporting fixture, a drama production.
- A biography or family memoir.
- A diary.
- A textbook or self-help book on a subject you know well.
- A travel guide.
Different fiction genres
Do you find yourself writing the same type of short story fiction all the time? Try something different:
- A children’s story
- A fairy story or folk tale
- A ghost story
- A Christmas or Hallowe’en story
- Historical fiction
- A psychological thriller
- A Western
- Epistolary (letters)
There’s so much to choose from! Even under Sci-Fi, I found 31 subgenres, from Dystopian to Steampunk, from Gothic to Cyberpunk.
Then there’s writing for performance. This includes stand-up comedy, stage plays, radio plays, TV plays and film scripts. There are websites, books and courses for each genre.
A few other suggestions to finish with: writing for greeting cards, advertisements, business writing, social media, book reviews, and you can even create your own website and blog 😊
Perhaps now is the time to have a good review of your writing. Fancy trying something new in the New Year? Do some research and then set yourself some targets – trying one new genre a month perhaps? You just never know where it may lead!
I’ve an article for you this month on the subject of Pomodoros. What, you may well be asking, are Pomodoros? The word is Italian for tomatoes and it’s a time-management system. Intrigued, interested? Then click here.
Wishing you all an enjoyable Christmas and Happy New Year. And Happy Writing!
ps For those of you who tried NaNoWriMo last month, whether the full 50,000-word version or one of your own, I hope it was worthwhile. I nearly did mine! I’m really not trying to make excuses, but I had three visits to the dentist’s chair last month. No problem there (I have a lovely dentist) but each time it took two days for my jaw to stop aching, and I mean really aching! One more visit to go so I hope to be back to my writing routine soon. Fingers crossed!