Someone recently asked me, of the various genres I write, which are the most difficult? I had a think about this, and decided to answer in a blog post. So herewith a top 5 of genres I have written, in descending order of difficulty.
- Thrillers – In relative terms, I find thrillers easiest out of the genres I write. Obviously they are still difficult, especially as they divide into so many sub genres – ie murder mystery, supernatural thriller, political thriller, conspiracy thriller, historical thriller and so on. But as long as the setting is contemporary and they are aimed at adults, these stories are frequently a joy to write. The Birds Began to Sing is a good example.
- Adventure – Most of my adventure stories are primarily aimed at children (though grown-ups do enjoy them). These can be slightly trickier than straightforward thrillers as writing for children is always harder due to the discipline of experiencing events through the eyes of a child. Other factors can complicate these novels too. For instance, Dr Gribbles and the Beast of Blackthorn Lodge is set in the latter years of the Cold War, so historical accuracy comes into play.
- Horror – Whether for children or adults (yes I have written horror for children – check out previous blog posts), horror can be very difficult to get right. Again, the genre overlaps with many others, so for example I have written two detective thrillers that rapidly evolve into full-blown horror (as yet, both unreleased), along with a very dark fairy tale that some will call horror (the afore-mentioned children’s story). How well I succeeded in both endeavours remains to be seen, but the next novel I am writing will also be a supernatural thriller/horror story.
- Science Fiction – I don’t have experience of writing what I would call “hard” sci-fi, but so far my attempts in this genre include escapist adventure (the George Hughes series) and “light” sci-fi (Children of the Folded Valley). In both cases, the novels were extremely difficult to write. The George Hughes books require a huge amount of invention which has to sound pseudo-scientific for suspension of disbelief. The sci-fi elements in Children of the Folded Valley are very much in the background, but during chapters where they are expounded on, again the pseudo-science, even though it is utter nonsense, has to sound convincing enough for suspension of disbelief.
- Fantasy – Without a doubt, I find fantasy the most fiendishly difficult of genres for several reasons. Again, there are multiple subgenres, but even without getting into that, the process of creating an entire and original world from scratch – including its politics, history, geography, culture, art, religion, languages and so on, depending on how detailed it is necessary to get – is a hideously troublesome undertaking. I have written a number of fantasy epics for both adults and children, but so far have released none, simply because they are not yet good enough, in spite of the fact that they contain good ideas. Being truly original in this genre is also very, very tricky indeed. I have half a dozen fantasy novels that I have been working on for years, and in some cases decades. One day I might actually consider one of them good enough to release, but I make no promises on that score.
Given that the above genres are what I generally write in, I was very surprised back in 2006 when I felt inspired to write a young adult romantic drama. I am finally releasing this novel, entitled Love vs Honour, this May. It is available to pre-order from Amazon (see link below).
Love vs Honour is only time I have branched out in this particular genre, and I suspect I might never do so again (though never say never). How successful I was remains to be seen, but here is the blurb from the back of the book to whet your appetite:
Two Religions. Two Deceptions. One Love.
When Johnny meets and falls in love with Sabina, their bond proves stronger than a teenage holiday fling.
Fearing the disapproval of their strict Christian and Islamic families, they undertake an elaborate deception to continue seeing one another. Johnny pretends to convert to Islam whilst Sabina pretends to covert to Christianity to appease their parents.
But how long can this deception last before it unravels?
Love vs Honour is released on the 31st May on Amazon Kindle.
Print copies will be available from the 7th of June.