In the past I have mainly written what I suppose is contemporary fiction. I've never really known what genre I was drawn to except that all my novel length ideas seemed to be designed for Young Adults and were pretty high-concept. The problem with this was that, barring Harry Potter, I don't really read that genre. And the advice of write the genre you read was always in the back of my mind.
I read Chick Lit. There, I've said it. In the past I have always been slightly ashamed of reading this but that wasn't the reason I never thought to write it. The problem I had was how would I come up with an idea that was unique enough to be different from the thousands of other books in this genre, and yet include the tropes that make up this genre? That was until recently.
I was trying to think of an idea for my main project for my final year and I went through quite a few - including the high-concept YA ideas, and also writing it as a blog format. It turned out that neither of those were what really sparked my interest. And to be honest I was quite surprised by what did. Because, as you've probably guessed by now, the idea is sort of a chick lit. I say sort-of as it's not strictly set in the modern world. Well, it is, but includes an element of the unnatural, similar to the ideas in a few of Cecelia Ahern's books (which I strongly recommend).
So I had my idea, but I still wasn't sure if I'd be able to write it (and to be honest I'm still not sure, but I'm going to give it a damn good try) so I tried writing a few unrelated scenes that could place in a chick lit book, and was surprised to find that not only did I really enjoy writing them, but they didn't feel as if I was simply reguritating other books. I realised that if I have my own style then my stories will automatically seperate themselves from the masses (whether it's positively or negatively is yet to be decided).
So I guess I'm trying to say that genre and voice are inseperable. While we may be able to write in more than one genre, it is our voice and style that keep our stories fresh and new and hopefully interesting enough for a publisher/agent/reader to buy. So I'm going to give the Chick Lit style a go as a sort of test-run and perhaps if I love it enough, I will have found my niche.