1. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Should authors stick to one genre?

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by Lea`Brooks, Oct 6, 2015.

    All of my novel ideas are fantasies. But when I go to come up with a short story/novella idea (for the contests or just for fun), they're very rarely fantasy stories.

    For example, I have one short story or novella idea about a girl who finds who she believes to be the love of her life -- her soulmate, if you will. But it doesn't go as planned and they end up breaking up. She's heartbroken. She believes in past lives and reincarnation and truly believes they are meant to be together, but he completely shuts her out, only adding to her heartbreak. She starts dreaming about him regularly, to the point of madness. At the end, she becomes so obsessed with wanting to be with him, she kills herself, believing her next life will start soon and she can be with him again.

    But to me, that isn't fantasy enough. I thought about making her dreams real -- an alternate plane where another "her" is in a relationship with the guy. But after I started playing with it, I didn't like it. It would take far too long for her to figure all that out, and I don't want this to be a novel.

    I'm aware that many authors write novels in multiple genes, but is that frowned upon? Should I try to make this story more fantasy so that when I get published, my readers know what to expect of me? Or should I just write this story as I want and not worry about the genre?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Write what you want, and don't worry about genre. There are authors that cross genres and have done quite well with it.
     
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  3. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I think you have the answer in your signature, Lea, though I know it has a different context. :)

    There was a similar thread recently and this is what I said:

    I remember reading Ken Follett's introduction to Pillars of the Earth. It said something like "Everybody thought I was crazy for writing a book about cathedral building. I'd been known for years as a successful mystery/crime writer and when you find that you can sell in a certain genre, the smart thing is to keep churning out books in that genre."

    I've paraphrased grossly because I don't have the book with me but you get the gist. It's a risk to depart from what your established fan base are expecting.

    On the other hand, Pillars was a bloody massive success. Other authors have also very successfully switched between genres - Tess Gerritsen springs to mind. I love both her early sci-fi-ish books and her more recent crime/detective novels.
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Can't see why it's frowned upon. One of my favorite period LGBT stories is a book called The Catch Trap by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Young gay love and depression-era circus life! :love: What could be better? :-D It's a great book and MZB is an author more known for her Fantasy and Science Fiction works.
     
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  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Switching the context to movies: Stanley Kubrick is regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. But he didn't stick to one genre. He did black comedy (Dr. Strangelove), literary adaptation (Lolita), visionary sci-fi (2001: A Space Odyssey), horror (The Shining), dystopian fantasy (A Clockwork Orange), historical (Barry Lyndon), war (Full Metal Jacket), and so on. A filmmaker you cannot pigeonhole, yet was highly respected and admired no matter what material he used.

    There's no reason to stick to a given genre. Write what you want to write.
     
  6. Lyrical
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    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    I read once that publishers would prefer to pigeonhole you, simply because it's easier to sell. If you are a brick-and-mortar bookstore, you would like to lump all of X Author together in the fantasy section, because when someone comes in looking for the latest X Author book, they know where to go. Likewise they might find something there from the same author they haven't read yet. It's harder to make spontaneous sales if that same author they like has books scattered throughout every genre of the bookstore.

    However, many authors have pushed their publishers to consider other works and have been happily successful in their multi-genre field. These days, with online bookstores generating more traffic than brick-and-mortars, and with self-publishing formulating real competition for the traditional publishing houses, I say writers should write whatever they want without fear the of the publisher's pigeonhole. There are many ways around it now.
     
  7. CJT
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    CJT Member

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    There's always pseudonyms, too!

    You can stick to a different name for each Genre, and decide if, when you are established in the genre at a later date, you would like to reveal the fact, and give readers of one genre a chance to read the other; or not - i.e. Marion Chesney and her use of the names M C Beaton, Sarah Chester, Helen Crampton, Ann Fairfax, Marion Gibbons, Jennie Tremaine, Charlotte Ward (Yes, all one woman, and a somewhat prolific writer of formulaic prose, such as the Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth series of murder Mysteries)

    And there is also the other type of pseudonym, such as Iain Banks used: For his Sci-Fi Genre books, he used Iain M. Banks, and Iain Banks for his conventional fiction - thus making his readers aware that he had a second genre, and giving them the chance to read them, too!
     
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  8. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks everyone! That makes me feel a lot better. I've come up with a lot of horror plots recently but never pursued them (or even wrote them down :() because I thought going outside my typical genre would be frowned upon.

    But now I feel free!! Take that, restrictions! :superyesh:
     
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  9. Aple
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    Aple Member

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    I write clear across the board. I have a pb, I'm starting a mg mystery project and I have a whole series that's a a cross-over young adult/new adult and I have two new adults and a young adult Sci fi.

    I also have a post apocalyptic/historical mash up rpg that I write with a friend.

    I write whatever I find interesting and fun. And whatever characters jump out and grab my brain and demand that I write for them.
     

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