Monday, November 22, 2010

Genre Jumping

I'm a creature of habit but recently my writing has been taking me in an entirely new direction. I read primarily romance novels with the occasional segway into some longtime favorites. For the most part what I write has directly followed what I've been reading. But lately I feel myself drawn to genre's I have never been a huge fan of. Perhaps it's because many 'romance novels' now link into so many other markets. Yes romance is still the focus, but they venture into fantasy, crime, mystery, sex and perhaps in the case of some series, horror. Or perhaps I'm just getting back to my 'roots' so to speak. I never started out as a huge fan of romance, in fact my younger teenage self held it in much disdain. My first love was crime in the shape of Dick Francis novels and a little horror/suspense from Dean Koontz, nothing too gruesome but the creepier the better.

Lately I find the people in my head taking me into unexplored writing territory and instead of trying to wrestle them back into submission I've decided to shrug my shoulders and let them lead. "You want to go into this abandoned building with blood dripping from the walls? Ok, but when we meet a big scary monster you have to protect me." I've found that I either need to do it that way or we just won't be writing anything today.

So tell me, do you know of any authors who genre skip successfully? Have you followed them when they have? Have you done it yourself? Tell me your stories.
Cait

7 comments:

Tara Nina said...

I believe that an author must listen to the characters and let them lead. What results is usually a great read. When we try to wrangle them into submission, characters tend to clam-up (at least in my case they do) and we suffer writer's block. I say let these characters take you by the hand and go forth into a new dimension of your writing career. Besides, I'm still waiting to see what happens in the 'hospital' where you left me hanging with that first chapter of your wip. :)

Chrissy Munder said...

What a great topic, Cait. I think switching genres will keep a writer fresh. I suppose the difficulty in the process is rather like an actor who gets pigeonholed - people who like someone in an action role may not want to see them in a romcon - but it can be done and done well.

Tielle St. Clare said...

Good luck with the creepy stuff, Cait. I find that no matter what I write, a romance creeps in. I've tried to plot children's stories and a love interest always appears. Have fun with the blood dripping walls!

N.J.Walters said...

I say go with it, Cait. Write what you love!

There are plenty of authors who have made the switch. Lisa Gardner wrote romance as Alicia Scott. Janet Evanovich started out with Loveswept romance, as did Iris Johansen and Kay Hooper. I still read their books. I'm not a big mystery reader. In fact, I tend only to read romance writers who have switched to the genre. lol

Lynn LaFleur said...

I've written different sub-genres in my romances, like aliens, vampires, and other paranormal stuff. I can't help but write romances. I always want a happy ending.

Shelley Munro said...

I say go for it, Cait. Follow where your characters lead and enjoy the process. I've always been a genre-hopper both in reading and my writing, although I have a definite bias toward romance. I feel it keeps my writing fresh. Writing different genres is definitely a challenge and I'm constantly stretching and learning new things.

Alexis said...

The reason writers have difficulty genre jumping is primarily because of markets. Let's say an author has been very successful (or moderately so) in travel, but now they want to write something like young adult or science fiction. The author's fan base won't necessarily follow them (unless it includes Oprah and she just happens to love your new direction). Publishers just don't like authors to jump from one side of the publishing industry to another. Those that can mix naturally, like horror and science-fiction for example, are more likely to get picked up.

That isn't to say that an author shouldn't try it or go with whatever genre they feel inspired to explore. Ultimately, writing is a creative act and it is necessary for us as authors to follow our creative muses wherever they may lead. The first book I finished was written entirely by using that philosophy, and the second one will likely be in a completely different genre. :-D