I took a quiz on Facebook the other day entitled “Which genre of fiction should you write?” And of course, these quizzes are totally accurate and infallible, right? Seriously, though, I enjoy taking them and a lot of times I think the results are pretty accurate. Sometimes I think they’re just really generic and say cool things that we HOPE are true about us, so we automatically assume they ARE true about us, but sometimes I think they do have some interesting results.
Like in this case.
The questions asked about things like plot vs. character vs. setting (not in those words–it was more of a “when I write, these this is what I focus on” with various answers that reflect those elements), action vs. drama, realism vs. emotional impact, detailed vs. broad description of characters, settings, and drama, plus questions about romance, violence, dialogue, the world, the character arc, the theme, the message, the amount of research that goes into it, and style. Overall, I thought the questions were really detailed, and assuming the author of the quiz had any idea at all what they were talking about, pretty thorough. If nothing else, it helped me analyze my own writing and really think about the way that I write and the things that I focus on. One major bonus of that is it helps me see where I can improve. If I don’t put a lot of focus on something, then that probably means I could do better at that thing and really enhance my story by rounding it out a little more.
Anyway, after answering all the questions, I finally got my answer. The results said I should be writing mysteries, with the following description: ““Who-dunnit? And How? And Why? Your inquiring mind understands the secret workings of the villainous murderer and thief. You feel the need to build a puzzle so complex, and a villain so unsuspected that you leave the reader gasping in shock on the last page.” One of my inspirations should be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which is lovely because I LOVE Sherlock Holmes, and not just the newer incarnations of him (which are also delightful), but the original stories.
I thought about that, and how it compares to what I actually write, and it’s actually pretty close. I don’t write traditional “who-dunnit” stories, with a gumshoe or a crime to be solved, but I do write suspense. I have multiple sub-plots, bad guys and good guys, puzzles to solve, and shocking twists. Obviously, all with a Speculative flair. My first one has dragons, my second one has demons, my short story series is fantasy, and one that I’m working on has witches. And I don’t always write with the same style. “Dragons” has multiple POVs and lots of characters, whereas my current one is all in first-person. However, the things that I focus on, like plot over character, world over drama, dialogue over description, all tends to be pretty consistent.
It was an interesting quiz that I thought really helped me see my writing in a more analytical way, and I think will help me as I continue to improve my craft. For those of you who are curious to know what the All-Knowing-And-Wise Internet Quiz has to say about your writing career, you can find the quiz here. I’m interested to know your results. Do they match up with what you actually write? Let me know in the comments!