Have you as a writer heard grumbles on your material choices? For instance, if you write horror or romance? Perhaps family members or friends point out that they object to your story or the direction you want to take your career. Does it influence you? Has it made you steer clear of writing such stories? Do you keep what you write secret from church members for fear of being shamed for it? For most of my life, I’ve done this at one time or another. When I was young, eighteen, I made the mistake of admitting that I wrote horror to my pastor’s wife. She was horrified and suggested that I cease writing such stories immediately. It took me many years before I admitted the same to family and friends and here and there, I heard murmurs about writing “that stuff.”
The same kind of reactions come from writing romance, although for different reasons. It doesn’t matter that I write sweet romances, most picture loads of sex in your stories if you even breath the word. Writing horror is not about weird, occult type fiction. It’s about bringing hope in the darkness, giving your characters the chance to win against evil. Romance, on the other hand, is about love and two people finding one another is this world. Writing either genre or some of the more outlandish stories shouldn’t condemn one.
I fell in love with romances as a teen, the same time I started watching and reading horror. Comes the Blind Fury was the first book that held my attention and drew me into reading and writing. I got into reading romances when I couldn’t get to the library and I had to raid my mom’s supply of books. They were better than Reader’s Digest to me. Somehow, those stories seemed to happen to ordinary people. I wanted to read about extraordinary people and I could in the genres I chose.
I was in my twenties when I read Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of Rings. One of the things I’ve come to love about fantasy is: it combines many genres. There’s romance in it. There’s horror. Mystery. And more. Fantasy seems to be respectful in other’s eyes. And I love it. I do. But why can’t horror and romance inspire the same respect? Shouldn’t we all be allowed to write in the genre we want without the snickers, without the quiet disapproval?
I’m at the point in my life where I want to write what I want to write, and I don’t care what others think. I’ve held back too many years as it is. I don’t want to not write a story because it’s “one of those.” I’m going to be proud of my stories now, no matter what they are. They’re a part of me and God made me who I am. He knows what I like to read and write. And he knows my heart. That’s what matters, not the snide opinions of others. If you’re having trouble writing what you want for fear of disappointing others, realize, deep down, you’re disappointing yourself. Write what you want. That’s who you are. That’s the kind of writer you’re meant to be.
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