So, I’ve missed the whole of the Beverley Literature Festival again. It’s getting to be something of a habit with me, based on the twin points of not having the time, and not particularly being a ‘sitting in a room listening to other people talk about their writing’ sort of person. Also, it may have something to do with that word ‘literature’. I’ve never been sure what it means, but I am fairly sure I don’t produce it. I just write stories.
Specifically, I write them in novel and short story form, though I’m starting to wonder if I shouldn’t expand the range of forms I work in. I used to do poetry, while I’d quite like to try my hand at a script at some point, though I have yet to do so. I suspect that reluctance has something to do with the thought that, if there is one approach that is working for you, then it seems strange to jump ship into a completely different form. Yet obviously, there are many writers I like whom it has worked for, from Neil Gaiman to Oscar Wilde. There isn’t just one thing that they ‘do’ unless that thing is, again, telling stories.
Have you ever stopped as a writer to analyse what you habitually do? I’d guess that the majority of us only really do a small number of basic stories, forms and characters. I’d guess that, if you’re anything like me, you’ll find the same ideas and concerns cropping up again and again, while you write in a fairly consistent style. I know I’m saying this as someone who has hopped genres, but I think it’s true, and I don’t think it has to be a bad thing. Recognising what you do consistently is probably a strong step on the road to having a voice that is definitely your own.