Boost Your Creativity With Total Genre Immersion

In writing circles, we often hear about “filling the creative well.”

I first came across the concept of the creative well in Julia Cameron’s brilliant study on creativity, The Artist’s Way. I’ve since heard so many other writers use the phrase or at least the basic idea.

What is The Creative Well?

The creative well is intangible but vital.

The creative well is the part of your mind (or your soul, whatever you believe) that feeds your creative pursuits. It’s where your ideas come from. It fuels your passions. Your creative well is a storage for your inspiration.

Your creative well is filled externally. It comes from books, movies, music, art, experiences, observations on life.

Filling Your Creative Well Through Total Genre Immersion

This is an idea I came across in Chris Fox’s Write to Market. Chris talks about deciding to write a military science fiction saga and how, in the early stages, he immersed himself in the genre through TV and video games that had the same feel as the book he was looking to write.

I didn’t realize it until then, but this is exactly what I do.

When I sat down to brainstorm ideas for my urban fantasy anthology, Paranormal, I immersed myself in the urban fantasy genre. I read all of the bestsellers and genre classics. I watched a whole lot of urban fantasy movies and tv series. Because I was working on the short fiction format, I read dozens and dozens of short stories (not all of the in the genre). I binge-watched two seasons of the original Twilight Zone, a text that helped define the short fiction form as we know it today.

I looked around my ordinary life and noted anything that could be given an urban fantasy edge. When I heard my young daughter exclaim to her Dad, “you can’t eat mermaids!”  (I’ve got no idea what they were playing!) my story, ‘Forbidden Flesh’ was born.

Immerse yourself in genre to fill your creative well and saturate your life with writing ideas.Click To Tweet

I Don’t Want Other Stories to Influence My Ideas

I hear this from a lot of writers. It may be a common concern, but it’s still nonsense.

Borrowing ideas from different sources is where creativity and originality come from. For more on this concept, check out this article on how David Bowie, one of the most innovative artists ever, borrowed from everything else to find his unique creative voice.

Be like Bowie.

Ideas are like clay. They’re really nothing until you start to work on them and every different writer will produce something totally different from the same lump of clay.

Won’t Genre Immersion Drown Me In Tropes?

Hopefully.

There are some writers who talk about tropes as if they’re the enemy of creativity. I do not agree. You can read more about how to use tropes and why they’re critical in this post.

Saturating your mind in tropes is precisely the aim of filling your creative well through genre immersion.

You’re looking at ideas, executions, structures. You’re investigating what worked, what didn’t and why. You’re hunting for little sparks that make you sit up and go “oooh! That’s cool!”. And then, when you sit down to write your own story, you’re looking for new ways to spark those same reactions both in yourself and in your readers.

Go now. Embrace your genre. Drown yourself in it and, when you’re ready to come up for air, create something innovative and amazing.

Kate Krake
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Kate Krake

Kate Krake writes speculative fiction and non-fiction. She is the author of the urban fantasy series Guessing Tales. Kate blogs about popular culture, health, wellness and creative writing. She lives in Brisbane, Australia with her husband, daughter and two beagles. Find out more on www.katekrake.com.
Kate Krake
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