Finding your Genre

It’s odd that I’ve become a crime writer. That’s how I define myself now – a crime writer.

I’ve always loved crime novels. Right from when I was very little and I read the Famous Five and Secret Seven. (We may think of them as children’s books, but they are also mysteries). Then came the Hardy Boys, then I graduated to Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes and by the time I was 17 I knew enough about crime books to write about the Golden Age of detective stories in an exam completely off the cuff.

I still love crime books. I’m always overjoyed to discover a new crime writer, especially one who has a lot of books for me to read. But I never wrote them before.

My first book I wrote was when I was seven, and it was about a bunny rabbit. Despite my nature, I presume it wasn’t too distressing, as it was intended for the nursery class. I kept writing – but I wrote fantasy. I wrote sci-fi. I wrote love stories. I wrote ghost stories. I wrote a lot of ghost stories. I love writing ghost stories. I never wrote crime. I could never think of a plot, or characters. I don’t think I thought I was clever enough.

Then one day, about two years ago, I had an idea for a detective. Around the same time I had an idea for a villain. Nervously, I began to write. I wrote a crime story.

It didn’t come easy. I had to work at it. My agent had to give me a lot of tips. But it got written, and for the first time, I was properly satisfied with what I had written. I felt I had found my voice – and my voice was a crime story.

Now I’ve started writing crime, my head is full of stories. I reckon I’ve got enough crime stories in my head to keep me going for at least ten years, and the stories aren’t stopping, and I feel like I’m writing something decent. I’m happy with this work.

It took me time to find my genre – but now I’ve found it, my writing is coming on in leaps and bounds. You have to keep going. Keep writing everything, try everything, don’t be afraid to switch and change genres and styles. Eventually you’ll find your perfect fit, and then your writing will soar.

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