I'm proudly a genre writer. I spent several years studying writing in literary workshops at my university and outside of it. I then transferred to another university, one where genre writing was openly supported. I took several classes there, and joined local, genre-writing groups. I think there are many differences that might be worth talking about, but the one I think most relevant here would be the approach to writing; it seemed to me that literary writers wrote something then tried to figure it out, where genre writers tried to figure out what was worth writing first.

I think the literary approach (as I experienced it) was the far superior approach for the writer and seemed to lead to greater satisfaction with the results. Write out the idea, make notes, read it over, figure it out, make changes. It is much easier to work with actual writing than ideas about writing.

Most of my fellow, aspiring, genre writers tend to become obsessed with plotting and world building. We can spend an inordinate amount of time researching and planning. Then, when it comes time to write, we struggle through the actual scenes. We look for techniques and tools, and check frequently with our peers to get permission to do something we already want to do.

I've personally experienced that a few times myself, so this is not a lofty observation made from atop the mountain. And, I must also note, the described "literary approach" has its own flaws, like writerly wandering where the story never takes on a proper direction. Or literary writers always complaining "I never have any good ideas." I rarely hear genre writers saying that (we're overflowing with them).

Read:  Advent of the What Are You Reading post!

But, I think there's something to be taken from that literary approach, and that's the idea of letting the moment shape the writing. Don't let your plan hinder your action. If you struggle to fulfill the scene according to plan (for whatever reason), try writing the scene in total disregard of the plan. Allow yourself to make radical changes while writing the scene just to see what happens. Give into the impulse do something for the sake of making it more interesting for yourself. Then, afterward, take a step back from what you wrote to give yourself some distance, then ask yourself, "If I kept this just like this, what would have to change in the plan?" Then ask yourself if that change is better for the story or not.

It's a more organic relationship to have with your plot/plan that allows your in-the-moment creativity to have a bigger impact on the story. Instead of the "I'll fill in the details when I get there, but this is exactly how it has to unfold!" If that approach has worked for you, great, but if not, try that looser, let's-see-what-happens approach.

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