Writer - know thyself

As a card-carrying Gemini, I've teased genres from humor to ghost writing (literal ghosts) to kidlit and romance. I love exploiting my ADD to suit my mood but when I tried to get "serious" about writing a novel, I fell flat. I did what was expected-loaded up the iPod, stored enough chocolate away to give a diabetic a fit, muttered to myself about POV and donned the Cone of Silence earphones-and ran out of steam after 20k words. I had outlines, flowcharts, character sketches, I thought I was ready for the big time so what happened?

I wasn't having any fun.

I forgot my roots. When I started writing years ago, my strength was the short essay. I had dreams of being the next Erma Bombeck or Dave Barry with a great set of boobs and writing humor columns that would make people do a spit take over their morning newspaper. Sure, ghosts were spooky, romance paid some bills, and freelance placated my ADD for a time but it wasn't until I faced that what I wanted to do was go back to shorties full-time that I had my "ah-haaaaa" moment. Zombies fulfilled those nibbles of work that I had so much fun with and with luck we'll ride the Undead wave to publication.

Great American novel? It could still happen. But it's more likely I'll Erma it and do a collection of essays instead.

Which brings me to my question. Have you found your niche?


  1. This post is very timely. It took a venture into short stories for me to finally realize what my niche is. After a few shorts (One getting published in an anthology!!) I am back on my book and working hard to finish it before my ADD kicks in. Only this time... I am doing a better job of writing and having more fun!

    (Oh, and I write better with chocolate too.)

    Enjoy your niche!

  2. So good for you! It really feels like things are happening for you.

    I started with Erma on a pedastal, too. I wanted to do humorous essays and motherhood-themed stuff, then tried children's books, took a few turns and have turned up at women's fiction. I think it's where I was headed all along, but I learned a lot through each step.

  3. That's so great you've figured out your niche. I've said this to Jen as well -- some people feel like they HAVE to write novels since so many other writers are, but then who would supply the world with these wonderful essays?

    I'd love to write stuff like that, I just never get ideas. I suppose if I TRIED... Meanwhile I'm happy with flash fiction and novels. I can't seem to write anything in between.

  4. I think I finally found my wiggle room. It only took forty years to stop fighting what I was "supposed" to be doing and relax.

    Mel, you're so right. Every genre and writer has a place but it can be a devil of a time to accept something else when your friends are cranking out amazing novels. ;)

  5. Yay for you!

    I had been positive that my niche was dark (ish) fantasy. It's what I love to read, and I have a great time writing it, too.

    Since writing and selling my comedy/UF novella though, I'm not so sure. While I still love fantasy, it seems that most people who read it find the humour way more memorable than the fantastical elements. Add the reaction to my Gumshoe serial blog on top of that, and I'm thinking maybe humour is the way to go instead, or at least more work with a humour element. :-)


    PS - That made sense, right?

  6. Awesome post! "great set of boobs" made me pee my pants a little.

  7. That's what I was going for after the spit take. Nice to know I'm on the ball. ;)

  8. oh the infamous niche. this is the story of my life! i'm wondering if people like me have niches... i think it's all about getting extra creative and repackaging what's already been done -- is THAT niche-y enough?!

    i'm gonna hang in there, and you should too b/c you're surely on the right track. you're a great writer. and at least you know your niche...now!