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Genres and the Act of Crossing Over

In a discussion recently, a question was asked that caught my attention:

Should a writer stick to one genre or is ok to write in multiple ones?

My direct answer was that they can write whatever they feel like writing. Why should a writer be stuck to one genre just because it happens to be the one they wrote their first book on?

I have heard and read many articles from professional authors and others who say that a writer should stick to what they know, to stay in one genre and write that well. And that makes sense, the more you write in one thing, presumably, the better you will get.

But what if your creativity doesn’t want to always stay in, for example, fantasy? What if your mind suddenly bursts with ideas for a romping good tale about astronauts in another galaxy? Should you forget it altogether because that’s sci-fi and you wrote a fantasy book last time? Of course not! If sci-fi is where you want to head next, then sci-fi is exactly where you should go.

If we always think that we must stick to one genre then it puts up a barrier around our creativity. It’s a good thing to expand our horizons and test out new things, that includes writing in new fields.

I write romance (or attempt to!), but that is quite a broad genre as romance isn’t one thing it usually has to go with something else e.g. Paranormal romance, historical romance etc.

But although my head tends to think in love stories, they span a wide range of settings, times and characters. Not once when I began my writing life did I ever think that I would always have to limit myself to writing paranormal romance because that was what I chose first.

It was also really nice to see that people agreed with my comments. Everyone encouraged this writer to write in whatever field she wanted to, because that was obviously where her creativity wanted her to go to next.

I also understand that some people only write in one genre, and that their minds just happen to like writing like that. There’s nothing wrong with that at all either. In fact I am in awe of those people to have such focused minds! Mine jumps about from one setting to another faster than I blink.

In the end, it’s up to the writer what they write. Don’t be put off by people telling you that the famous writers always write in one genre only. On the other hand, if someone tells you that you should try writing something different if you only want to write in a single genre, ignore them.

Writing is about getting out what you love, no matter where that story may be set or what that article is about.

Progress Report:

Status of First Manuscript: With proof-readers. (My nerves are about at their limit in waiting! 😀 )

January E-Book Review: 100% Read. Writing review.

How do you feel about crossing genres as a writer? Do you do it? Or do you like to stick to one?

17 thoughts on “Genres and the Act of Crossing Over

  1. I completely agree. I think more established authors only write in one genre because that’s what their fans want and expect them to write. But there are always exceptions to the rule. Just look at the early work of Stephen King. The Gunslinger was the furthest away from what he is famous for writing he could possibly be. I myself write fantasy, aimed at adults, but I’ve also written a childrens book (albeit still fantasy). It’s like you say, just write the story that you need to write.

    • Adult and children’s? That’s quite a difference, I admire you for that skill! 😀

      It is nice to be able to have a change in your writing if that’s where you feel you need to go 🙂 It’s about having fun and getting your story and creativity out there!

      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  2. Romance is very forgiving I think. You can cross those sub-genres no issues that I’ve seen. Only issue seems to be with adult romance and the YA romance. Me, I say jump the genres to your heart’s content.

    • Agreed 😀 Romance is very forgiving in that it does give you chance to branch out into many different genres and settings (which suits me very well!).

      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  3. I jump about and write all kinds of things from non-fiction articles to short stories to e-books to an attempt at a novel in NaNoWriMo. Probably not the most productive way of writing!

    • Maybe not the most productive, but at least you’re writing 😀 Writing is one way we can express ourselves in all kinds of ways including articles and short stories, etc.

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting 🙂

  4. I think it’s the difference between thinking commercially and thinking artistically as a writer. Thinking commercially, it is easier to say, “This author writes mystery novels,” than say, “This writers writes cowboy books, and sci-fi romance, and pirate stories.” Thinking as an artist, it is more freeing to move between genres.

    The real question is what is your brand as an author? There are some successful authors who write under different pseudonyms to tell readers what type of book to expect. For myself, I’ve decided to focus less on ‘genre’ and more on the feeling people have when they finish a book I’ve written. I want people to look at my book and say, “That was fun and upbeat.”

    • I never thought of it that way, that’s a really good approach to it 🙂 I hope my writing style shines through all my books so as even in varying genres readers would still enjoy it if they enjoy my particular style.

      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  5. I don’t think we should limit ourselves to genres – after all, they’re just how the people who make the money try to classify things. Although I’m mainly fantasy or alternative reality based, I write romance, thriller and real life stories within my larger works. I think we should transcend genre!

    • I totally agree. You do have a wide range of genres you write! I definitely think it boosts creativity and helps writing in general when people can write what they like, rather than being limited.

      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

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