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Finding Your Writing Niche
In writing, there is no “one size fits all.” You must develop your own style of writing. It’s wonderful when you can take classes from established writers and listen attentively as they describe to you a certain way of writing that could possibly bring you fame and fortune. However, if this is your main reason for writing then ok, fine. On the other hand, if you are as John Walton Jr. puts it “I just couldn’t wait to put my thoughts down on paper;” then truly you have a special gift. That gift only needs a bit of fine-tuning.
Trying on a New Pair of Shoes
Ladies (or gentlemen for that matter,) have you ever gone to a department or shoe store and saw some beautiful shoes in the window? You rushed inside the store to try them on only to find that they looked much better on the manikin than they did on you. However, it did not end there. You began to browse the shelves and other displays until you found a pair that suited you well.
This is an important aspect of being a writer—a truly gifted one. You can try various styles of writing but until you determine that perfect fit—you will only realize that you are merely mimicking a designer. Why not begin by just experimenting with a few paragraphs to get the “feel” for writing.
Begin by discovering what is comfortable for you and what interests you. If a subject interest you—it is sure to interest someone else. You may even hear people say that a certain topic has been deliberated many times. Perhaps it has. Maybe not in the way you will handle it. Breathe new life into that story. Tell it from a different viewpoint. What about approaching it from the antagonist’s point of view? Remember the fairy in Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent? Sometimes horrible people had good beginnings.
Another important ingredient in finding your writing niche is to have a great Mentor or Critical Advisor.
A Great Critical Advisor
It is imperative to have someone who reads your stories objectively as well as subjectively. You don’t want someone who tells you that your novel is good and then fails to point out where improvements should be made. You also don’t need someone who never has anything positive or encouraging to say regarding your chosen profession or hobby.
I remember a scene from The Waltons where John Walton Jr. meets the retired former Boatwright University President, Dr. Porter. John is asked by him what he plans to do the rest of his life. John’s reply is to write. Dr.Porter then begins a narration on why writing is not a profession of choice. He even gives John statistics on the probability of failure in becoming a successful writer. This of course is a discouragement to John. You do not want a Critical Advisor who is that critical!
The ideal Mentor or Critical Advisor is one who truly believes in your ability to become a successful writer. Perhaps not another James Patterson or Danielle Steel, but successful in the sense that you have taken the first step in fulfilling a dream. Your Critical Advisor has confidence in you and truly desires to see you do well.
Now let’s investigate the type of things you enjoy doing—discovering your writing niche.
Discovering Your Writing Niche
The most important question to ask yourself would be—what is it that I enjoy doing or what is it that really stimulates my interest? Write about what you know or what you can research. If you are the incurable romantic—you may want to concentrate on developing strong male characters and gentle feminine counterparts. Why not make things interesting? Add a bit of spice with an equally strong female antagonist who constantly interrupts the tranquility of the couple.
Let’s read an excerpt from one of my stories. See if you can identify any hint of a strong female antagonist:
“Jessica has never met a man like Jock Emerson. She is a bit comfortable with him and a bit intimidated by him. He is a very experienced young man, that she knows, but there seems to be an undercurrent of mystery as well. She will have to step carefully around Jock Emerson.
As Jock begins his trek up the path toward Jessica; she finds it difficult to divert her gaze. Powerful masculine legs fit snugly into a pair of Givenchy straight-legged jeans. A pale blue Michael Kors shirt is opened at the throat to hint at an immense expanse of chest with very fine dark brown hair. Imported Italian black leather boots complete the ensemble. As his facial features come into view, Jessica is embarrassed to realize that her appraisal of him has not gone undetected.
A few quick steps and he stands in front of her looking down at her. Jock reaches for Jessica and slowly raises her from the stump of a tree. Their eyes lock. He can feel the thundering throb within his groins as the kindled flame of desire sweeps through him. He detects something very akin to fear in her eyes and swears softly. He knows he cannot claim her just yet. Jessica must be as willing for this union as he is. He has never had to take his ladies by force and he will not start now—his ladies! Jock wants to laugh out loud and then again, he thinks about the extraordinarily beautiful Angela. At that moment, the same demons that took possession of his handsome features return to reclaim their prize.”
If you said—Angela, then you are correct. Building up your antagonist as just a memory is a great way of laying the foundation needed in your romantic suspense novel or short story. This is where you define and establish the inner turmoil in your characters. The road to romance can be bumpy, hilly or extremely hazardous. It’s up to you to decide. What will captivate your reader? What will keep them returning for more?
Finding your writing niche may not be as difficult as you may think. If you are new to the writing genre—start slow. Set goals for yourself and reward your efforts. Whether you want to write a murder mystery, a suspenseful romantic thriller, or science fiction you can accomplish much when you systematically create realistic goals with optimistic consequences.
What may be needed is only an encouraging push in the right direction.
© 2017 Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS