My family like to brag. Nevermind that I haven’t had anything published, they just like telling people I’ve written novels. And it doesn’t seem to matter to them, either, that most of these are unedited drafts, or been redrafted only once. To me, it’s not that big an achievement; not right now, anyway. Some things just come easily to me, but just because I’ve finished a few things doesn’t mean they’re at a great standard, and they’re far from the standard I would like for them, anyway.
But, inevitably, when my brother tells his new girlfriend “My sister’s written novels,” and if I am there, she will turn to me and go, “Cool, what sort of thing do you write?” This happened Friday evening, down the pub, and it got me thinking about how difficult that question really is for me to answer.
If you look at my Fictionpress page (found under Contact on here), you’ll see a number of novels and short stories spanning different genres. I just couldn’t stick to one genre. When it comes to writing, I love challenging myself, trying something new, turning my hand to anything that catches my eye. So how do I answer a question like that? If I do name a genre, usually someone says something like “Oh, like so-and-so?” It’s hard not to be compared.
One of the reasons I’m using Grace Bunting for this and Twitter is because it’s the name I decided to self-publish under. The novel I’m working on editing right now is a romance, technically. But if I say I’m currently writing romance, I know what people will think – fluffy clouds and sunshine and light chick-lit. Even though there are God knows how many ‘romance’ novels out that aren’t like that, I still feel that’s what would come to most people’s minds. I’ve spoken before about writing fantasy, but again it’s a genre not many people are totally aware of. They’ll most likely think I write something akin to Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter.
Back to the Grace Bunting thing, I figured if I publish first under that, I can use my real name for writing in different genres. Or variations of it anyway.
It’s a very hard question to answer, especially as much like “How are you?”, people ask out of politeness. They want a short answer, something quick so they can smile and nod and say “that sounds cool.” Not a long-winded explanation that I write sort-of romance and fantasy that’s not epic fantasy which is more like this and that. So, what do I do when someone asks that question?
I smile, and just say “Everything.”