As you may have guessed from the title, I’ve been doing a lot of work in my- unfortunately small- garden over the summer, and I have plants on the brain. Weirdly, I’ve made no progress on the gardening-related regency romance that I started last winter. But that’s not what this post is about.
Historical romance and fantasy are my go-to genres for writing. I feel comfortable with the language used in that type of book and have a little knowledge of actual events that I can use to provide settings or simply add color to plots that are timeless. For eras that are less familiar, I still have enough of a toe-hold in the genre to research and write about them without too much trouble. So why the heck am I writing about lunar wars for this anthology?
Uh, good question. When you find out, let me know. But more seriously, it’s because I need more readers. I’m trying to make a career out of writing, and while it’s nice that the same thirty people buy my books, I need to expand my audience. Plus, our Beautiful Yet Evil Space Princess mentioned this particular antho to me at a moment I wasn’t scurrying around, trying to do ALL THE THINGS. So I thought I had some free time. Two to eight thousand words isn’t too long, right? Shouldn’t take much more than a day or two to knock something together.
Ha! Silly me. So now I’m editing a draft to publish next week-!- writing the next book in that series, and trying to figure out why we didn’t go back to the Moon after 1972. And talking to you guys at MGC. Plus working on a few projects of my own- who else has been getting apocalypse vibes lately?
I complained of boredom a few months ago; what was I thinking? It doesn’t really matter, because I’m currently thinking that I need more readers. Few people read only one genre- though this is changing a little as binge-watching culture expands. But even if a person habitually reads a series from beginning to end, then finds another series and reads that one beginning to end, and so on, a lot of them will at least peek at related genres. Historical fiction goes well with costume romance and fantasy, mystery leads to thriller, thriller readers might pick up military fiction, etc. If I can convince a few people that a fantasy/soft SF story is compatible with my other fantasy stories, that’s a win. Convincing them to try a Heyer-esque regency romance might be a little beyond the pale, but I’ll take what I can get.
Writing in weird and disparate genres is good for the writer’s brain, too, not just his bank account. Changing styles of description, dialogue patterns, and learning the jargon of the genre makes for a nicely flexible writing mind. I’ve learned more about the Apollo Project in the past week than I learned in all of school. There was much rolling of eyes when I read that the Soviets only gave the ‘Luna’ distinction to missions that were successful, and did their best to ignore and forget about missions that failed. Typical.
Ahem. Anyway. Writing in different genres. It’s good for you; you should try it. As with all things writing-related, you’ll be more successful if you can put out lots of decent quality material, and some writers prefer to concentrate on a particular genre while they establish a base of rabid fans who will buy everything they publish, including that old grocery list. But I like the idea of dipping a toe into the waters of Odd Genre Lake. Maybe there’s gold at the bottom. Or I might get eaten by a shark. Who knows? Heinlein said that specialization is for insects. So I’m going to head off into the wild blue yonder and do my best to keep from growing an exoskeleton and an extra set of legs.
Talk among yourselves. What genres do you write in? What genres do you read? If you read or write in a lot of disparate areas, why? As a reader, do you prefer to see your favorite author focus on one type of book, or do you use the comfort of a familiar writer as a springboard into new genres?
Image is from Pixabay; I was not alive to take pictures of any of the Apollo missions.