I used to think that I simply wrote – that I could write anything. Then, when I started writing, my horizons shrank a little bit and I used to think that I could write science fiction. Yesterday, I realized that even in science fiction, that there are certain genres and sub-genres that I just could not write in :p
Is it a part of growing up when you find your limitations or is it just a sign of old age setting in because you find yourself trapped in a certain genre or in a labeled box? I am not sure. But what I did realize was that I am limited. I am limited by the type of tale I can tell and also by what I enjoy writing. I guess that last bit is the most significant. Sure, I can write in a different genre or in a sub-genre but I won’t enjoy it as much.
This all came about when I offered to help another writer with their book. This other person writes science fiction as well and so I figured that I should be able to pitch in and help. However, when I read the first couple of chapters of his story, I realized that I just couldn’t do it. It was science fiction but it was not something that I could get into. I also realized that I don’t like science fiction set in the world of today – at least, I don’t like to write it. I like creating an intricate society which is either an extrapolation of society today or one that is a "what if?" scenario. What if humanity didn’t go in for mechanical technology? What if evolution took us down a different path? What if most of humanity destroyed itself in a cataclysmic series of wars? That sort of thing …
In addition to that, I’m beginning to discover that I enjoy injecting humour into my stories. I enjoy making fun of my own characters. This kind of precludes a completely serious story. For instance, one of the short stories that I submitted recently was a rather serious and sentimental story. I had written that about five or six years ago. I like the tone of the story but today, I can’t think of writing something like that because I don’t think I can keep up the sombre mood. But then again, maybe I am wrong. How do you know what you can or can’t do till you actually try to do it? As John Locke keeps on saying in "Lost", "Don’t tell me what I can or can’t do!" :p