Discovering My Genre: From the Darkest Thrillers to the Lightest Inspiration by Kirsten McNeill
Let’s welcome back Kirsten McNeill as she shares with us “Discovering my Genre: From the Darkest Thrillers to the Lightest Inspiration.” Enjoy!
“What do you want to be when you grow up, little Kirsten?”
“What will you write?”
“Mystery! I love James Patterson.”
This was always my answer as a kid.
It seemed logical to write what I enjoyed reading.
Mystery and psychological thriller engage my brain in a way that no other genre does. It gets me on the edge of my seat and flipping a page before I’ve barely finished reading it.
James Patterson chapters are always quick and easy to read, making you feel like you’re flying through the book.
I thought I wanted to be like him.
Life, however, has a way of taking you places that you didn’t expect.
Places that are BETTER than you envisioned.
It’s frustrating when you feel like you have the answer, but the result doesn’t turn out right.
Every moment is a stepping stone, though. Change one experience, and I may not be the same writer I am now.
If you’re struggling with your writing journey, afraid to branch away from what you think you’re “supposed” to do, learn from my story of discovering my writing purpose.
My Writing Attempts
The first psychological series I tried to write was titled Pine Lake.
So original, right? I wanted a simple title that was punchy and vague.
I accomplished the vague part; punchy not so much. Titles are tough, but I usually finalize that at the end.
This series was about a woman trying to escape her past, similar to the movie Sleeping With the Enemy starring Julia Roberts (there is a book, but I haven’t read it).
My main character moved to a small town to live in a cabin by the lake and worked as a yoga instructor. She started having hallucinations when her ex-boyfriend came back to town.
As I developed the story, the plot felt so circular, I was trying to throw in too many plot twists, and the character wasn’t a very likeable or active part of her story.
It was frustrating to plan out this series, so I decided to switch to a standalone book with a new idea.
My second attempt at writing mystery/thriller involved a woman who was portrayed as a victim of the crime at first, then turned out to be the villain all along.
It was inspired by the concept of the Dexter series by Jeff Lindsay (read the first book only and watched the whole T.V. series).
It was extremely challenging to wrap my head around where I wanted to take this story.
Again, I couldn’t make the character likeable and the plot felt so cliché.
It was TOO inspired by things I had seen elsewhere.
I was trying to make my story good by replicating what was popular in this genre. I told myself that I was putting my own spin on it, but thoughts of trying to make sure others would like it took over and I totally forgot how to write in my own voice.
I gave up…again. Sigh. Even though I loved the idea, I needed a break from it.
Everything shifted for me when I read the book The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom (author of The Five People You Meet in Heaven — also a great read).
I bought the book because I love music and the cover was bright and colourful.
I’ve never been opposed to reading genres outside of thriller/mystery, but I tend to gravitate towards it more often.
I did not expect The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto to impact me as strongly as it did.
This story blew me away.
It was so inspiring, and written in a way that made me feel like I was reading the biography of a real famous musician.
It was powerful and made me believe that anything is possible. I rarely come across a book that affects me on such a spiritual level, but this one did.
I knew then that this is the type of story that I want to write.
I want to inspire, make a difference, leave people thinking about my story for days on end.
Writing inspirational fiction became so easy.
It energizes me, which aligns well with my mission for my business Worthy Writers (though I didn’t get full clarity on that journey for another few years after reading Magic Strings).
A New Journey Unfolds
In 2020, I wrote a book called Discovering Your Worth: Happiness Through Confidence.
It is a compilation of blog post style chapters with different themes around confidence and happiness within your appearance, your language, social media activity, and more.
It’s funny that it wasn’t fiction.
It felt so good to share my thoughts and experiences to inspire others to live out their dreams and be true to their authentic selves.
At that point I’d written or planned a lot of inspirational fiction stories, but I wasn’t ready to publish them.
I do have plans to write a fiction trilogy in the future to show people that they can transform into anything they want.
Anything is possible if you let go of the expectations of others.
I only have the titles in mind so far, which is weird because usually that comes last. I’m taking it as a sign that this writing journey will be different in a good way.
I love the light bulb moments I’ve experienced in my life to discover my true purpose.
With this trilogy, I will encourage others to discover their own.
I still enjoy reading mystery/thriller, but that’s not what I was meant to write.
It puts me in the wrong energy. An energy I’m meant to let go of.
My purpose is to bring confidence and empowerment to writers and creatives.
To show them that shifting directions doesn’t have to be scary.
Exploration is a necessary part of finding yourself, so get out there and have an adventure.
You never know what you’ll discover.
ABOUT KIRSTEN MCNEILL
Kirsten McNeill is a Confidence & Writing Lifestyle Coach, Book Editor, and Self-Published Writer. Her mission with Worthy Writers Editing is to bring sunflower sunshine to the creative world connecting writers to the confidence and passion they desire to help them publish and share their stories.
Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/theworthywritersnook
Create With Purpose digital journal free download: www.worthywriters.ca/product/create-with-purpose-journal
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The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Discovering Your Worth: Happiness Through Confidence by Kirsten McNeill (available as a PDF in the Empowered Writers Bundle on the Worthy Writers Online Bookstore www.worthywriters.ca/product/empowered-writers-bundle)