30 December 2009

Christmas Repost: Writing Across Genres

Reposted from June 12 2009.

I don't know about you, but I'm a bit of a genre-whore ;)

*double checks that Mum doesn't read this blog* No? Okay. Good. O:)

Yup, definitely a genre-whore. I'll read pretty much anything and everything, and mostly enjoy it, too. And this extends to my writing.

Sure, I don't write in quite as many genres as I read, but my work does run the whole gamut from MG to adult, from fast-paced paranormal to nearly-epic fantasy. Some stories might even be classed as science fantasy.

Two things have made me think about this today: first of all, this article by Lauren Baratz-Logsted on the Query Tracker blog (although it was posted a while ago, I only read it yesterday), and second of all, this post on Authoress's blog.

The first article I find interesting because it's a direct contradiction of everything we've ever heard from agents - or is it?

On the whole, the message from agents (and other sources) seems to be: pick the genre you love most and concentrate on that. Don't waste effort trying to write across genres unless you're going to treat it like building two careers; remember that these days your branding as an author plays a major role in attracting sales; writing across genres can dilute your genre.

It's all sound advice, I suppose. It's logical. But the first article seems to suggest that not only is the opposite possible, it can also be successful. Lauren attributes the fact that she is able to write full time (after a comparatively short period of time since she decided to write seriously) to the fact that she has written across multiple genres. To date, she's published in adult comedy; historical suspense; chick lit; serious YA; humorous YA; tween; and MG. That's quite a range.

But there is also one other key factor, I think: by the end of 2009, Lauren will have published 15 books in 6 years. Fifteen. In SIX years. Now that's prolific. And I can't help but wonder if perhaps that's part of it; you can write everything you like if you do it quick enough that readers only following one of your strands will still get their yearly fix. Hmm. Read the article yourself and tell me what you think.

The second article is the other side of the writing-in-multiple-genres coin that we don't often think about, or hear spoken about: Authoress, coming to the end of her current novel, is thinking agents - and thinking genres. She refuses to give up on her MG fantasy that she's currently editing/shopping; she's determined to see the new novel, YA dystopic fantasy, sell too. But targetting only agents to which both projects will appeal... Well, that's going to limit her options quite a bit. And what if none of them bite?

It's an interesting consideration, and one that I can see I'm going to have to consider myself in years (months?) to come. I am going to write adult and YA; I know that. I know that's possible, too, since I know quite a few fantasy authors off-hand that do so. I also know it's possible to write across the whole gamut of fantasy/science fiction; Orson Scott Card is one that springs to mind. Is it, however, possible to do both? And, most importantly - with the same agent?

Questions, questions. It will be interesting to see the eventual results.

In the meantime - tell me. I'd like to get to know my readers more. Those of you I know, surprise me with your closet stories. Lurkers, consider this your official de-lurk invitation. Jump in the comments and tell me: what genre/s do you write?


Suzette Saxton said...

The first bit of your post about your mom reading the blog had me LAUGHING!

Thanks for linking to all those great articles. Your blog is awesome!

Yunaleska said...

Yup, love different genres.

Young Adult (mostly)
under this
Light sci-fi (sorta)
action/adventure (if there's such a genre....)

Natalie said...

Ha, ha. I guess I'm a genre whore too. I mostly stick with MG and YA but within those genres I've written everything from stories set in the real world to dystopian, fantasy, and paranormal.

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