Friday, August 31, 2012

Genre Hopping

Sometimes I worry that what I've written makes no sense. What I mean is, I have a YA zombie novella, a Princess picture book, and a short story that's adult romance, (along with a couple other things.) These things do not go together.

What does that say about me as a writer? Does it mean that really I just haven't found my niche yet? My voice? Does it mean I have no idea what the heck I'm doing?

Well, maybe.

But then I think of M.M Kaye. (I love M.M. Kaye.)

The first book I read of hers was The Ordinary Princess. It is an early middle grade novel. I read it when I was young, (many years ago) and it was-and still is-one of my favorite books ever! Princess Amy is sweet and strong and totally herself, which I love. The book is fun and playful and I can't imagine any young girl not enjoying it.

The Ordinary Princess
She illustrated this book herself!

It wasn't until many years later that I found out that she wrote for adults, too. Mainly, actually. Her most well known book is The Far Pavillions, a historical fiction. (I would say historical romance, but it is so much more than a romance.)

The Far Pavilions

She also wrote a series of cozy mysteries. The Death In series. (As in, Death in Zansibar, Death in Kenya, etc.) I've read most of them and they are a lot of fun. They are filled with wonderful, interesting characters getting into trouble.

Death in Zanzibar

She wrote many other books as well, but these examples illustrate the point I'm trying to make. She wrote in a number of different genres, and different age groups. And she did it really well.

Now, I'm not saying I think I will be able to write different genres as well as Ms. Kaye did, but I am going to let myself write whatever I feel like writing and not worry too much right now about whether my manuscripts 'go together.'

And if you have never read any M.M. Kaye, I highly recommend her! Have a great weekend everyone!


  1. I know several authors here online who write in several genres - why not?

  2. We don't just read a single genre; why do we have to write a single genre?

  3. I think if you write the story you are passionate about, you can't help but be successful :)

  4. I love what Elizabeth said... she's exactly right. I personally write fantasy, chick lit, YA, and literary. (I tried to write a mystery once too but since I didn't know who done it, it was kind of hard to get through that one...) I write what I want to write and I think everyone should.

  5. Elizabeth said it perfectly! We wouldn't limit ourselves to ONE genre of books forever when reading, so why on earth should we do it with writing? Well said.

  6. Most people have lots of different dimensions and facets to their personalities. It makes sense we can all slip in out of different genres and age groups.

  7. I haven't read any M.M. Kaye, but I love that she jumps all over. I think you're right on - write what you want. It will be more fulfilling for you as you write and more fulfilling for your readers because your interest and love for the words will shine through.

    I write contemporary, mainly, but I write all over the age spectrum (well, not adult yet, although I have an idea I might get to one day). Great post!

  8. I don't want a niche - variety is the spice of life, I say! Enjoy all your projects :-)

  9. I think it could mean you're multi-talented. I have some adult contemporary (no, not a huge hump from YA contemp) that I'd like to get back into some day. They're written but will need heavy editing.

    Why not.

  10. What our "niche" is goes much deeper than genre, IMO. There are key elements about our writing that will always exist, no matter what genre we happen to be writing for. For example, one of my favorite writers is Lynne Ewing. Sometimes she focuses on contemporaries involving gangs, and sometimes she focuses on fantasies about girls battling supernatural evil. They may seem like they have nothing in common, but despite the radically different plots, all of them never fail to emphasize things like hope and friendship, and it's themes like that which readers latch onto, not the genre. So, needless to say, I see no problem in you genre-hopping! ;)

  11. Never read M.M.Kaye - thanks for the tip. And now I can say I've already learned something from GUTGAA:)

  12. I've never read MM Kaye, but you'll probably find several more examples of genre hopping authors. Sometimes you just have to write the story that's in your head, no matter if it doesn't fit with the last thing you wrote.

  13. I think I'll be checking M.M. Kaye out! I worry that I am not versatile enough in my writing. I love YA Fantasy, and it's hard for me to write anything else...I just don't quite know how. I mean, there are a lot of variations in Fantasy, you can write about anything, but someday I might want to write a mystery, you know?

    So, I think it's great to genre hop, wish I could!

  14. I've written in two genres, but I have one that I like writing in more. I think it's okay to write in different ones! :)