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Writing in a Different Genre

This week’s question comes from Angie:

Do you write in a different genre and if so, what?

The quick answer is that I currently dabble within two genres. Fantasy with my Atlantis series and Paranormal with my stand-alone novels, like the Lord of Nightmares. I contribute this to a simple fact: I sort of fell into writing Fantasy. I had never really read a traditional fantasy novel, just children’s books with a little fantasy in them–think about it, most Disney films I would classify as Fantasy; genies and magic carpets, talking animals, dwarfs. Anyway, I began writing in the Suspense genre because this was the focus of my reading. I wrote two very short novellas as I dabbled with writing. Then, out pops The Curse of Atlantis. Since then, I have broadened my horizons into reading the Fantasy genre, but I like Urban Fantasy a lot more than the dungeons and dragons plotlines. Paranormal is still in my “suspense” background, but brings the inhuman into the conflict.

I guess the follow up question would be if I would ever go back to writing Suspense. I think my answer would be no. I have discussed before that each genre has their own elements. I don’t agree with the cookie-cutter approach, but there are certain expectations (from agents but also readers) if I want to classify my work as Suspense, Mystery, Romance, and such. I have found the niche for the genre’s I write. It would take a lot more research to figure out the Suspense genre. Not to mention, a whole lot of time following cops around–which is not as glamorous as the show Castle makes it sound. 🙂 That way there is truth behind the plots. Plus, I like the insurmountable odds the supernatural adds to a plot. So, I am happy with my two.

The second reason I like this question is because it borders something I have heard from countless agents and publishers. Writers need to pick their genre. They mainly say this with regard to one story. The story can’t be a romance slash mystery slash fantasy slash sci-fi and sell. In fact, once authors start talking to agents about their “blended genre” story, the agent more than likely discards them. There are those rebel authors who want to buck this, but I for one agree. If the book can’t decide what it wants to be, then that causes me to wonder how focused the plot is. That’s not to say I can’t add elements of the genres to the plot. Mine always have a touch of romance and maybe some mystery/suspense. But I wouldn’t classify them as those genres. That is not my market.

This idea stretches, though. Some believe a writer should only write in one…maybe two…genres–period. The idea comes from one, perfecting the genre and two, building an audience. I consider myself to have a broad reading appeal, however there are certain genres I don’t read or would hate to read. If writers want to gain a following, they need to stick to one genre to keep and grow readership. At least, that’s the argument. I don’t have to worry because I am happy with my genres.

**I am down my last questions next week. If you got one, please fill out this form and send it in. Anything writing, publishing, or my books related. Then I will answer them one at a time every Wednesday right here.