Thursday, March 22, 2012

Writing in Multiple Genres

Do you like to read multiple genres? Who doesn’t? But do you know any published authors who write multiple genres?

Inevitably agents and publishers emphasize that an author should stick to one genre. However, as artists, writers often chafe under any restrictions to their art. Oftentimes, well established authors will write under a pseudonym when they publish in other genres, although their fans may know it’s them anyways. I often try to balance historical fiction in my novels, with contemporary themes in my short-stories, but I admit I really love toying with just about any genre.

So what genres do you like to write? How do you balance one type of writing with another in your great scheme? What makes you devote yourself to one genre over another?


  1. I know several authors who write in multiple genres, but at the moment I'm sticking with science fiction. Might branch out to fantasy one day. Those are just the two genres I enjoy the most in any medium.

  2. Hello Mark:
    Although our reading does cover more than one genre, we do not tend to stray too far in variety and always omit historical fiction. Perhaps it is inevitable that, as one's interests tend to be focussed rather than completely random, so one would tend to write or read in one rather than multiple genres.

  3. I am one of those authors who cannot stick to one genre, so branding will be an impossible feat for me unless I write under a different name.
    I like writing adult contemporary, YA contemporary, and memoir. And, recently, I ventured ever-so-briefly in one wip into paranormal.

  4. I love reading all genres. Right now I'm sticking to writing YA, but the sub-genre are all over the board. So far I've completed a Dystopian, Contemporary, Fantasy (Currently querying this one) and I'm currently writing a Science Fiction.

    So yeah, all over.

    But, I do realize that if any where to be picked up, I'd have to stick with the same sort of genre. I'll worry about that when the time comes ;)

  5. I write science fiction, am working on my first fantasy piece now. I've tried thrillers, and I've had a WWII love story in there somewhere.

    It's all fun, but to excel in anything I think you either have to be truly gifted, or at the very least know the tropes in your chosen genre well enough to not look like a noob because you're all over the place.

    All my energy is in Science Fiction though, that's where I'm comfortable, that's where my heart is, and that's where I hope to one day be remembered.

  6. I often think about writing mysteries or westerns but, when I begin delving into them more deeply, I realize they're not for me and stay with what I like best.

  7. I like to write older contemporary YA, but there is no 'mature YA' genre, so I float between Adult and YA too much.

    I'm also working on a fantasy serial novel right now, but that kind of happened by accident.

    I never imagined I'd branch out into multiple genres. It just kind of happened.

  8. I've heard this advice before.

    I can think of well established authors who write across genres, Kristine Kathrine Rusch springs to mind, she writes everything, and is award-winning in many genres.

    I've published horror, SF and fantasy short stories and poems. I like mixing it up.

  9. Each story I've written has been in a different genre to the last. I'm not too worried though, now is the time to experiment :-)

  10. I have written/recorded music in multiple genres but I don't think I would be able to do so in my writing. Yes, I can write fiction and non-fiction, but Fantasy is what is fun for me so that's really where I am drawn.

  11. I think it's about doing what seems natural at the time. I just write what I like and then try to assign a genre to it later. My novels are thrillers, but I like to think of them as "literary" ones, although that's probably way off! I've written short stories which could be classed as YA although I wasn't really aware of it. I've also had ideas for SF pieces although I'm a bit scared I wouldn't pull them off. I'll try one day. It's a good idea to give lots of things a go while you're still unpublished.

  12. I don't remember where I read that agents prefer writers who write in one genre, genre hopping is not something they like. As of now I am sticking to MG but would like to try YA in future.

  13. I read multiple genres, so I write multiple genres. People have commented when I've written posts about what I've been reading recently about the wide variety. Right now I have an adventure romance, a YA fantasy, and a SciFi.

  14. At first I thought I should write the genre I most like to read, but I was wrong. I write totally different than my reading taste, which tends to be all adult romance. I write YA.

    It would be fun to branch out, but I doubt I would until I perfect one genre...or get bored. : )

  15. I write in multiple genres but mainly action adventure. Add sci-fi, paranormal, a little romance, and technology and I think there is a good balance to reach a lot of people.

  16. I like writing sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal stuff. The sub-genres alone are enough to keep any writer stretched. I could never imagine writing a mystery or historical romance, for example. And I tend to agree with how the agents and publishers feel about it. If you gain success with a genre, you sort of become an authority on it, which people would like to read more of. Good thing sub-genres aren't too different. :)

  17. I know a few writers who write multiple genres. If the genres are vastly different then the writer will use a different author name for each genre. I write fantasy and science fiction. I'm hoping they are similar enough that it won't be an issue.

  18. Alex – Very cool. I love both of those genres.

    Jane/Lance – Well, if you’re trying everything, you never know when the historical bug might bite you;)

    Susan – I figure so long as you’re enjoying it, it’s all good.

    Kelley – Fun! I’ve never written Dystopic, but maybe I’ll give it a try.

    Rusty – Those all sound like fascinating topics. Glad you try a hand at all of them:)

    Richard – Very cool!

    McKenzie – Well, YA has such a big adult audience now and has gotten so dark regarding themes I think you’ll probably just fine. There’s quite an audience out there for it.

    Deborah – Good for you!

    Sarah – Wow, that’s cool. Challenging as well.

    Michael – I didn’t even think of that, but music is very applicable to genre as well.

    Nick – You’ve made a great point! You’ve got to stick to your gut or heart (whichever you prefer). Thanks for the dose of common sense.

    Rachna – I think YA could work really well for you actually:)

    Donna – I feel the same way. When I read one style of a book it makes me want to write one in a similar vein.

    Emily – Interesting that your reading and writing preferences aren’t the same, although I suppose they still compliment one another.

    Stephen – I always feel ever book should have elements of action adventure, so go to that:)

    David – Interesting plan, sticking to genres that are similar to your main preference.

    Lynda – Makes sense, especially when trying to build very different platforms for the same author.