Responding to Prompts in Writing Comps

Before we start, I hope everyone noticed that the title of this post rhymes.

It wasn’t intentional (originally), but I did it, so I needed everyone to appreciate my skills. Okay, now that’s out of the way, welcome to a brand-spanking new week everyone! There’s been a lot happening in the world: to everyone who participated in the Women’s Marches all around the world (there was a march on every continent! How cool is that?), you’re awesome. Regardless of what your political leanings are, those marches that took place over the weekend are an incredible feat of solidarity, and are a sign of a societal promise to work for change which I hope is indicative of a growing trend of people to stand up, not only for what they believe in, but for others who need to have their voices heard. If nothing else, recent and ongoing political events are giving us the opportunity—not just as women, but as human beings of all races, creeds and colours, all across the globe—to take a stand for what matters to us. To fight for what we believe is right… And that is awesome. So, onto the writing business!

Like I mentioned last week, I’ve been participating in Fiction War’s Winter 2017 competition. The prompt was released on Friday at 1200 and was a fairly simple one this time around: ‘Grimm’s Fairy Tales’. But, despite seemingly being a bit of a simple one (yes, I can hear all of you at the back, shouting down at me that obviously just chill out and write a badass fairy tale), I found myself a little stumped. Part of the challenge of writing competitions is the challenge of avoiding writing anything that might be perceived as predictable in response to prompts [Disclaimer: I’ve read two other entries for this competition, both of which were fairy tales or fairy tale variations & were amazing, so don’t think I’m hating on people who wrote fairy tales!]. The other part is that I was, quite simply, stumped. I ended up with something I’m pretty happy with, but it got me to thinking about what my natural predilections are as a writer.

As I’ve mentioned countless times before, I’m a fan of experimentation in writing, and forcing myself to try different things in order to pursue creative growth. At the moment, I’m writing two (loosely) speculative fiction pieces, a literary fiction novella, a science-fiction novella and looking at putting together a few more varied competition entries. One huge bonus of trying different genres and approaches in my writing is that I find myself constantly struggling with different challenges, but it also means that when I allow myself to just write, it becomes somewhat more self-evident what my natural inclination is. Though I love that I’ve written a YA fantasy novel (and have a number of other fantasy ideas), the more of these kinds of writing competitions I partake in, the more I find myself defaulting to ‘literary fiction’ stories. A focus on the human condition is inherently attractive to most writers, I think. Certainly, some writers choose to portray this same interest, be it commentary or observations in genre works, while others pursue literary fiction.

I’m finding more and more that, given free-rein, I choose to write literary fiction-esque pieces, which is fascinating to me. I obviously still think it’s really important for writers to explore different genres and types of writing, but I’d love to hear if anyone else finds themselves defaulting to a particular genre?

— Ana.

Comments

8
  1. My only form of consistency is my inconsistency. One day when I’m big I might settle on a genre 🙂 That said…my fallback is always something comedic and generally in the form of pure dialogue so maybe I need to start writing scripts! Interesting post as always – sounds like you’re busy but having fun!

    • Haha I completely agree though, because at the moment I’ve got all these projects going on that are polar opposites :p that would be so cool! I’d love to read some more of your stuff 😀

  2. Totally noticed the rhyming in the title, haha!

    The genre I tend to fall back on is fantasy — I love magic, superpowers, technology, and mythical creatures. I do tend to focus on characters much more than plot, however, always enjoying the emotions and relationships that turn characters into people. Definitely a lovely post, and best of luck with those challenges! 🙂

    • Haha so glad you saw it! :p Yeah, I find it fascinating that all of us tend to lean towards something 🙂 Thanks for the good wishes! 🙂

  3. Nice post! For my part, I like unrealistic fiction. The one and only painting teacher I have ever had said this thing once, that made me realize why that was. It was something like this: “After the invention of photography, photo-realistic portraits became somewhat obsolete. The camera is better at showing reality; what’s amazing with painting is you can show anything.” So I think there are basically two types of fiction: the photographs and the paintings. I’m probably more of a painter. I find literary pieces fascinating, but I have no inclination to write in that genre (oddly I also love looking at great photographs, but I have no patience to take any, while I love drawing and painting).

    On another note, I have nominated you for the Blogger Recognition Award. Here is the post: . You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to – I know not everyone likes that kind of “chain”. Whether you do or not, I’m glad I had an opportunity to share your blog with others. ^_^

    • Hi Ida, thanks for your comment! I love your remark about photo-realistic painting, because I’ve had similar thoughts myself. The beauty of artistic expression (regardless of whether that’s writing, painting, dance, etc.) is its ability to convey something that otherwise could not be expressed. That being said, I do feel that literary fiction possesses inherent merit 🙂 My problem is that I love everything! And I enjoy trying to write everything :p Oooh thank you so much!! That’s so wonderful of you: I appreciate the honour 🙂 I’ll have to get my butt into gear and put a post together for next Monday! 🙂

      • Oh yes, definitely! A great work of art will always be great, whether it’s photography or painting, literary or speculative fiction, classical music or hard rock, haha. The artist only has to pick the medium that suit him the most.

        I so understand wanting to write everything. My first novel was a NA romance, my second a (wannabe) NA psychological thriller/mystery, the one I’m working on right now is a YA dark fantasy, and I’m trying to plan a MG high fantasy… XD But hey, everything I’ve worked on so far, including my blog, has helped build my skills as a writer. Besides, for now it’s just a hobby, so I plan on enjoying doing whatever I want. ^_^

        • Complete agree! Haha yeah definitely, exploring and continuing to try new things is part of the adventure. I’ve been trying some spec fiction recently and despite being relatively sure that I’m failing, I enjoy the challenge and (hopefully!) the concomitant growth. Enjoyment is crucial 🙂

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