Playing with Genre : IWSG Wednesday

Badge for Insecure Writer's Support Group

It’s the 1st Wednesday of the month again. That’s when I take part in Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The awesome co-hosts for the August 5 posting of the IWSG are Susan Baury Rouchard, Nancy Gideon, Jennifer Lane, Jennifer Hawes, Chemist Ken, and Chrys Fey! Today I will share about a time when I played with genre while writing a non-fiction book.

August 5 question – Quote: “Although I have written a short story collection, the form found me and not the other way around. Don’t write short stories, novels or poems. Just write your truth and your stories will mold into the shapes they need to be.”

Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn’t planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?

Not often, but yes, I have.

After I finished the first draft of “Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer,” I felt that something was missing. I just wasn’t sure of what it was. Then, as I was reading the proof copy, the answer came to me. My readers needed to know why this was important.

I could remember what it was like to have a friend with cancer and not knowing what to say or do to help. I also thought about the things that people did that were so frustrating. Yet, some people seemed to be really good at being supportive. How could I illustrate this without “calling people out?” I had no desire to shame anyone.

What if I told a narrative about a fictitious family?

I had heard countless stories over the years from cancer patients and their caregivers. So, I took several of those stories and gave them to the Smith family. I described what it felt like to go through a cancer diagnosis and treatment. The Smiths have kids, so several family members interact with well-meaning friends and co-workers. Some of these experiences are positive, while others are painful. The end result was a chapter that is fiction, but which is based of actual events.

What about you? How have you changed the genre of your writing to better fit the needs of the piece?

What Are YOUR Thoughts?

Please share how your writing world is doing in the comments below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below, and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

About Heather EricksonAuthor, Heather Erickson's Headshot

I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan, with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, despite their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace. My books are available at

The Memory Maker’s Journal 

Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer

Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer

I also blog about living with cancer at Facing Cancer with Grace.


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2 comments on “Playing with Genre : IWSG Wednesday

It does seem like you found the genre after the story. I like that. You wrote your story and then figured out where it fit in literature rather than the opposite. It sounds truer to me.

Oh, what a great way to illustrate the point.

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