Am I a Jack of all trades and master of none?
I have earned a good living as a writer for many years, but looking back I realise that I have not really made a name for myself in any particular genre, or in any particular field.
I have written stage plays, which had been performed in almost every country which has a theatre, but they range from farces to light comedies to thrillers to serious pieces, and no theatre-goer would associate me with any one style. I have written film scripts, from adapted versions of my own works to commissioned screenplays, though none have yet reached the screen.
I have written novels, which range from epic adventure stories to political thrillers to literary pieces, some of which have acquired many five star reviews on Amazon and elsewhere, but I have never made it to the best-seller lists.
I have reflected on this whilst compiling my own writers blog – How To Write – and it occurs to me that there are two kinds of author. The subjective writer and the objective writer. The former creates mostly from their own experience. Their subjects, characters, settings are usually drawn from events, people, and locations encountered in their own lives. Expanded and adapted of course, but necessarily inspired by personal experience. I would say that most women writers fall into this category (excepting perhaps those who specialise in historical novels).
The objective writer, amongst which I place myself, writes from a purely impersonal perspective. They dream up plots and scenarios of which they may have no direct personal experience, but which appeal to their dramatic instincts (or maybe just to their publisher’s requests). Their dramas are gleaned from the experience of a thousand other such dramas, their characters are compiled from a multitude of personas, real or fictional, encountered over the years. Their genres are decided on instinctive preferences rather than on innate compulsions. And I would place the vast majority of male writers in this class.
So is this yet another fundamental difference between the male and the female pysche? Or is it determined more by their traditionally imposed roles in life – domestic or professional? And if so, will it change as the female fight for equality (or is it equivalence) changes?
Might we soon be getting women writing high action political thrillers, and men writing aga sagas? Already it seem that women writers have the monopoly on TV detective scripts, whilst more men than heretofore are writing deep psychological explorations. Maybe the gender revolution is coming to the literary world as well as to the real one out there. What a good subject to explore. Someone should write a book about it!
Number Ten is available to now on Amazon here.
Follow Robin on Twitter at: @AUTHORDEBATE