My Inability to Concentrate Strikes Again

I am a little bit into my re-write and so, of course, I’m thinking about my next project. I have two exciting ideas and I just can’t decide which one to do first. My conundrum is two fold: which idea do I WANT to do more and which idea is a better choice for the long term.

The big problem is that the ideas are in totally different genres and neither genre is the same as my current project. And I keep reading the very logical advice that a new author should stick to a single genre so that whatever marketing they do for one book can be re-used for subsequent books. This really does make a lot of sense – building a readership and all. But I really like both genres… and I really LOVE both ideas…

So I’m stymied. So far the scales are slightly tipped towards the historical fiction as I think it has more obvious series potential. But that’s really the only inequality between the two. I think I’m marginally more excited about the other idea (urban fantasy) but I’m vacillating. I’m hoping that the conference I’m going to in September, which has sessions on both genres, will help me make up my mind. My own personal interest being mostly equal, I suspect that marketability will be a big part of my decision, but I don’t know which genre is selling better right now.

If I can pick a project and have some success with it, I can always come back to the other idea later. But which one should I start with? Argh!

So, out of curiosity, which one sounds better to you?

Option 1: Historical Fiction (14th c. England) involving a foiled assassination attempt on Edward III. There will be a heraldic tournament, a northern noble who is trying to save his people from bankruptcy, famine, and being overrun by the Scottish by knocking off the King. So, a sympathetic antagonist, torn loyalty in a feudal system, an epic ladscape, etc

Option 2: Urban fantasy. A mob city run by five chinese families. An outside group tries to take over by knocking the families off using Daoist sorcery and an army of ghosts.

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6 Comments

Filed under Conferences, Writing Craft

6 responses to “My Inability to Concentrate Strikes Again

  1. Gael

    Write what you know. You know more about 14th century Europe than Chinese family culture. Writing about an ethnic group as an outsider can come off as stereotyping. It is the nuances of culture, observed first hand or experienced personally that keep the writing fresh. When you are writing about a time you can’t possibly observe personally you know your audience also has the same handicap. So your characters will relate to each other as you would imagine them to and no one can object. But cross cultural lines, and the subtle differences will pile up quickly. Too many readers will notice the errors. Some may even be very offended. If you write an urban fantasy, find a way to write about a culture that you are well acqainted with.

    • I think that’s the obvious answer, but I don’t like it. I think it’s too limiting to only write about what I know – then I can only ever write about astronomy and the 14th c. and that seems like a cop-out. I hate the idea of giving up on a cool and engaging concept simply because it’s outside my comfort zone. Besides, I happen to have a very convenient Chinese culture checker 🙂 And I think fantasy is, by it’s nature, a little more flexible. I’m not planning to write a narrative history of Tibet or anything. I totally understand your point and it was an argument that I was expecting, but I don’t think I can start a writing career with the assumption that I can’t write about something simply because I don’t know about it now. Given my background (which I know you know), the 14th c. story would be way easier to write. But I don’t want to make decisions base don what is Easier. I want to push myself and be excited and passionate about an idea.

  2. Jill

    I vote for the historical fiction idea — but maybe it’s because I visited a 14th century drover’s inn in Wales a few months ago!

    • I love Wales. I’v eonly ever been to Cardiff but the “castle” there is so gorgeous. I’ve seen some of the old crofts in England, though, and they really have great atmosphere.

  3. the1940mysterywriter

    I’m a sucker for historical fiction, so perhaps my vote is biased? But hey, who doesn’t love a tournament?
    Gunnar
    P.S. Catch you in the Platform-Building Campaign.

    • Me, too. I’m a re-enactor so I’ve got a long history of visualizing that century – and the story is based on a historical tournament that I actually re-did a few years ago!

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