Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Should you stick to what you are starting to know?

Something that has been on my mind lately is whether it is possible to successfully write in many genres and write in them well. I have written (and not yet edited) two children's books aimed at 3 to 5 year olds. I am currently writing something that best fits into the category of 'chick-lit'. The more I get into this writing game and the more blogs I read, the more different types of book I want to write. When ever I read something by Jamila about her historical research (http://jamilajamison.wordpress.com/) it makes me excited about writing something historical and whenever I read a murder mystery novel I start to daydream about writing a thrilling masterpiece of my own.

But I have been having passing thoughts about whether it is simply better to stick to one thing.

I am on a huge learning curve at the moment. I am learning about every stage of the writing process, reading up on plotting, characters etc. I am starting to write. I haven't given much of a thought to editing and don't even mention agents or the querying process. Shudder. I had to google what a beta-reader was yesterday as I keep seeing them mentioned but had no clue what they were!

People talk of the 'conventions' of certain genres, what people expect from them. I know rules are often made to be broken but is tackling different genres with different conventions wise? Is it better to learn how to write one genre really well and put effort into that? I have also seen blog posts and articles about how hard it is for writers to be published in different genres. Now I know this is thinking way a head into the future but should I be thinking about the future? About my 'platform' as a writer? I have not completed anything but is it better I think about the future now or go with the flow? Finish my chick-lit novel (makes it sound like an easy thing to do!) and then if the next story that excites me is a mystery, write a mystery. Am I just getting over-excited by the great ideas I see and in a way being a bit greedy that I think I can conquer all these genres?

But part of me doesn't want to box myself in. Why pigeon hole myself this early? If I do get something published which seems surreal to even type, then if I write a murder mystery just for the fun of it but it never comes to anything, then I will still have had the experience. I can still say I did it.

What do you think? Do you write mainly in one genre or do you write/plan to write across several? An enquiring mind wants to know!


  1. I'm fairly new to writing, too, and I'm hoping to write in a number of genres! So maybe it's not that odd at all! My first novel is action/romance....my second WIP, a novella, is historical fiction....and I've got a two more stories in the makings...one ??(maybe fantasy) and another paranormal.
    I don't know if many authors practice this sort of ecclectic writing, but I'm going with it..for now. I have to rain on our shared parade - just a bit - as many successful authors stick to what they do best. But immediately after, I'll mention Stephen King, who in recent years has written books wholly different from what he previously published in droves. And...don't worry about not being up to speed on all the terms...I'm still learning them too....plot bunnies is the newest one I have to figure out!
    Have a good week, Em! ~ Nadja

  2. I have NO CLUE what plot bunnies are. My best guess is they are ideas that multiply? Breed like rabbits? I could be way of the mark *blush*

    I am really glad to hear that you too are hoping to write in a number of genres. I figure writing different genres may help me find the one I like best or will simply give me variety! Hope you have a good week too!

  3. Em, from my understanding, that's precisely what plot bunnies are - ideas that are constantly breeding to the point where you have to find ingenious ways to fence them in, lol.

    I LOVE wandering through genres! There are so many genres that I love to read and that I enjoy thinking about... and I also have fun thinking about ways that I can sort of mash things up, hence the current 'steampunk murder mystery/romance' that I'm working on. I dunno, maybe somewhere down the line I'll have to refine things down so that I am operating along accepted conventions, but for the moment, I just want to play and have fun.

    Thanks again for the shoutout!!

  4. Yay! So glad my plot bunnies guess was right! I could do with some plot bunnies right about now!

    That is my plan Jamila, write what I want to write and see what happens! Thanks for your comments :)