Friday, February 25, 2011

Genre Hopping: My Own Trouble With Tribbles

I’m usually the type of girl who hates change, but when it comes to writing, I can’t make up my mind. I’m a genre hopper. I know that’s bad, but I can’t help it. I started writing women’s fiction and then popped over to suspense thinking that was my home. I’ve had some great responses on both from my beta readers and a few writing contests, but I’m hesitant to pursue either project. I don’t want to be tied to one genre, especially when I have a hankering to try sci-fi/fantasy--darn you, Captain Kirk.
My husband loves Star Trek (Original Series) and I’ve been making fun of him for years. I’ve watched the newer stuff with Patrick Stewart, but never with old school Kirk and Spock. I think my husband must’ve tied me down or something because one day, I started watching and couldn’t get enough.
I love the shows. They are creative, romantic, suspenseful, and laugh-out-loud hilarious. My kids love them too. It is the one show we all watch together without grumbles or complaints. But now, I have a problem. I have two books sitting around collecting dust with a third ready to do the same because I’m told to find a genre and stick to it.
That’s not fun. I like to challenge myself, see if I have the writing chops to actually pull off something out of my realm--if I have a realm.
I get the reason why I’m supposed to stay monogamous, build a brand yada yada yada, but what if I choose incorrectly? 
So how do I know, how do I settle on just one?
Someone told me to pick the genre I read the most. Great advice, but I don’t just read one genre. I’m an impatient reader with a short attention span. I will stick to any book as long as the writer hooks me right away.
So what’s a writer to do who hasn’t found her niche? Lately, I’ve been experimenting with writing exercises with random photos, writing the first thing that comes to mind. I have a few photo challenges on my blog, each in a different genre. And still, I want to try more.
Shoot some advice to a genre-hopping writer. Help me find my home. Was it easy for you find your genre and stick with it?

19 comments:

Kittie Howard said...

Hmmm, maybe this will help. Some years ago I took a communication's course where we learned to make positive and negative lists about various topics. I learned much from what seemed too simple (the devil's in the details, for sure!) I suggest you make individualized lists for the genres you like. For each genre you might want to make a separate positive/negative list for your abilities/skills. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how organized this turns out to be. Good luck!

Diana said...

A list, eh? Sounds organized. Well, I'm sure I'll muck up this list business but I'll give it a go, as long as I am disorganized on the outside with mismatched socks and a messy updo, it shouldn't ruin my rep. lol

Rebagv said...

Hi there,

I found you through the bloggy moms hop. You have such funny wit. I love it. I don't have advice because I'm in the same boat as you. I hope you figure out what genre to stick to. I am hopping around, too, and taking a writing course in writing for children but just started blogging about whatever has been happening around the house.

Rebecca G.

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

You're good at writing everything--that's the great thing. You can choose what you like writing the best and stick with that. I (on the other hand) feel like I can only write one thing, so that's why I need to stick with that.

You, my friend, have the power of choice. So, what do you love writing the most?

Austin James said...

I too want to be able to genre hop. I think it's a good thing for a new author to do - it lets you find what you are good at (and what gets the most response). Plus, it's more fun.

Oh, and I share you love for Star Trek. It's one of my favourite shows of all time - and the same as you, I started out with the newer episodes, but eventually found my way back to the old series - and I enjoy both new and old.

Jessica A. Briones said...

I say write away, if you lit sci-fi then write it, if you like suspence added to your sci-fi. It's good to be versetile in that way. I am like you I tend to genre hop but I alway go back to romance.. Good Luck!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Trust me, it helps to write in the genre you read, but it has to be what you want to write, too. I confess I didn't read much YA fiction before writing my series, but I based the idea of my books being character-driven from my love of Anne McCaffrey, a sci-fi writer. (I've also written non-fiction/self-help, but I've read a ton of those books.)
And I've been a Trekker for life!

Talli Roland said...

It's a tough one, I know! The only way I found mine was to try different things... eventually, I found what worked for me. Good luck!

Ben Langhinrchs said...

If you tie a muse down, all you're going to get is a trussed-up muse. Write what you want, mingle it together and make it yours.

JEFritz said...

For me, I just can't stick with one. When my ideas pop up, they already immersed in a genre and I just flesh them out. I think the best advice is to write what you want and let the "genreing" take care of itself.

Diana said...

Good advice. Thanks!

Craziness abounds said...

Well I tried stepping into the happy world as you know but sick mayhem seems to be my genre. I think it's silly at this point to stick to one thing. When you get published settle down. Kinda like dating. Try out several before you decide which one to marry. I could be wrong though..wouldn't be the first time. Love ya lady

Regina said...

No, I write several different genres and don't just settle on one more than the other. I enjoy the different types. YA, Adult, Paranormal, Dystopian. I just can't help myself either. :)

Will Burke said...

I've heard that it takes 10 000 hours to master a craft, if that sheds any light. Your picture-prompt sounds like a good plan -- kinda like a writer's ink-blot test!

Jen Daiker said...

I found your blog thanks to your tweets! I'm a big genre hopper and find that as long as I'm completing novels it doesn't matter what I'm writing! I have written chick lit, horror, and young adult fantasy!

Hope that helps! Happy Writting!

LTM said...

oh, I do the SAME thing... except I stick to YA. My sub-genres tend to vary, but they're all romances. I'm hoping that makes it all OK, but I have no clue... Here's to hopping! It keeps us in shape~ :D <3

Adina West said...

I'm a genre hopper myself, and as far as I can see, if you're not yet published or under contract, you can hop all you want! What's to stop you?

Even after publication it still happens (and works) for some authors. See my post on Ken Follett here if you want a well-known example. http://adinawest.blogspot.com/2010/12/art-of-suspense.html

kangaroobee said...

I wouldn't worry, I'm a genre hopper too. I write poetry, picture books, a rhyming MG novel (short one) and have just started a YA novel in verse. Let your wings fly wherever they want to travel, this is the only stage where we have all the control remember. There are plenty of agents out there that cover all genres. Some even say they like their authors to write across genres. Good luck!

Gen Revelation said...

I love photo challenges. I think a lot of writers suffer from the genre hopping illness. I myself can bounce from horror to sci-fi to fantasy at any given moment...(I also dabble in the *ahem* red light adult areas...)

I don't think there's anything wrong with it though. How else are you supposed to find out what you're best at?