Thursday, June 5, 2014

Switching Genres--Can A Writer Do It Successfully?

I was talking to an editor friend of mine today about what genre I read most.  Right now (and for probably the last year or two) it's been historical fiction.  I really enjoy the regency period and all the different rules of society that were in place then.

I was wondering to myself if my editor friend thought that since I write suspense, I should read suspense.  I mean, isn't it generally accepted that the best writers are really good readers?

But as I thought more about this, I decided that nowhere does it say you have to be well-read in the genre that you write. I can glean the same information about rhythm, dialogue, setting etc., from a historical as I can from a suspense.  Granted, suspense has different beats to it, but the basic structure is very similar from the writing aspect.

So, my conclusion is, I don't have to read a lot of suspense to be a good suspense writer myself.  And I also realized that I might want to write a historical sometime.  Even typing that scares me a little, because I have always written romantic suspense and I'm comfortable there.

But maybe I'm closer to the time where I want to shake things up.  Change genres.  Write a historical! *covers mouth*  But not today.  It's still a bit too scary.

What do you think? Can writers successfully switch genres and write something completely different?


Jon Spell said...

It seems like successful writers tend to stay in their comfort zones, or maybe that's an editor's decision to not put off readers. JK Rowling did pretty well with her non-fantasy book about small-town drama.

I'm trying to think of others, where they use a pseudonym to break out of the genre. I feel like there's a primarily Romance author who writes mysteries, but I can't pull that name out of a hat.

I'd like to write a fantasy. And a mystery. And... maybe I should just write something first. =)

Debra Erfert said...

I have a trilogy that is a paranormal romantic thriller, and I feel very comfortable writing that genre. But it could be the it doesn't differ too much from the romantic suspense that I write now. I don't have any interest in writing fantasy or science fiction. I did start a historical romance this past year, and it took a lot of research before I started. I still have hopes for it--someday. But I have 4 or 5 other stories that I want, or maybe need to write first. I have their concepts plotted out. Oh, wait, did I say I didn't do science fiction? I have a zombie book waiting in the wings to be told. If you read the first two paragraphs of RELATIVE EVIL, you'll know what I'm talking about. hahaha!