Today my guest is author Joan Maze. Please welcome her to Terry's Place. She's going to explain why she can't seem to fit her writing into a single genre.
I’d like to thank Terry for the opportunity to appear on her blog. She has had quite a variety of interesting guests, and I feel honored to be among them. Today I will talk about breaking out of the box, spreading your wings.
On Monday, March 22, I talked to a middle school, 6th grade class about my first published novel, Murder By Mistake which, though it is a mystery, is actually my first departure from my original “straight mystery” genre. I am now, however, back to working on what I’d call a straight mystery again, though it is also a thriller. Suffice it to say it seems to be no longer possible for me to write something that fits in only one genre.
Have you ever wanted to do something different, perhaps take a big chance – do or die?
Well, I’m not talking about sky diving, climbing Mount Everest or anything else death-defying. I’m referring to writing in a genre that you’ve never tried before. It isn’t life threatening, but it can have a giant effect on your writing career.
There are definitely pros and cons. I’ve heard both the negative and positive. “Stick to one genre, become familiar with it, strive to be an expert.”
Or, “Spread your wings, stretch yourself.”
What should you do?
It seems there’s a saying and its reverse for everything you can think of. For example, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” and “Out of sight, out of mind.”
Having said that, I will concentrate mainly on the positive angle.
Okay, let’s say you’re a writer of historical romance and you’ve achieved success for those. Then you get an idea for a contemporary romantic suspense, and you simply cannot let it go. You believe this genre will allow you to call on and use your unique sense of humor, along with your love of figuring things out.
But, if your next book is a romantic suspense, will you lose your historical romance readers?
One of the solutions could be to write the romantic suspense under a different name. This way, you could very well gain an entirely new readership, perhaps doubling what you had before, especially if you continue to do historical romances. This may require more hours at the keyboard, but hey, sleep is overrated, isn’t it? No, of course not. This is where you, hopefully, take up organizing. (I’ve been working at this for years.)
What if you’ve made the decision to branch out, but have no idea what to write about? Well, how about an area you’ve never paid much attention to, or even been interested in? Sounds crazy, right?
As an example, perhaps you’re like me, so bad at sports they made you the scorekeeper in high school gym classes. Not good, but on a whim you go with a friend to a bowling alley and discover you not only like it, but the manager invites you to join a team – even though you set the record for the lowest score ever. (That actually happened to me once and they even broadcast my score over the loud speaker.) What if one of the members is a police detective and you hear a snippet of a case that triggers a host of ideas?
Naturally, that might require research and perhaps classes, but could result in a book you had no idea you could write. Maybe even a historical mystery.
The question of whether or not to branch out is one only you can answer. However, if you choose to spread your wings, there may be some unexpected benefits. Elements of both genres could enrich each other, making for a book surprising in what it attains.
For my part, I started out as strictly a mystery writer, added romantic suspense, then thriller, and now am working on a time travel thriller with paranormal, mystery and romance all rolled up into one. A daunting task, and I’m a long way from finishing it. Then there’s the time-travel historical set in Scotland, inspired by a surprising bit of information about my heritage.
The jury is still out on whether or not I’ve made the right choice. But there’s one inescapable fact. I’m having a lot of fun.
Have any of you ever had the urge to try something different? It’s not rocket science, but it could blast you right out of your comfortable seat and send you to new heights.
To learn more about Joan and her writing, visit her website