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Update, A Little Writing Success and Questions on Multiple Genres

Now, it’s been far too long since I’ve updated my blog. I feel like an absent parent but I’m pretty sure my tenuous excuse may cut it… ‘may’ being the apt word.

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I’ve finally placed the finishing touches on my move from Tasmania to Sydney. With a place to live and secure job checked off the list, the only thing to do was get back into a semi scheduled writing routine, which, I certainly have done. Over the last few days I’ve gotten 5 thousand words down of a Christmas horror story I’ve been writing in the hope someone picks it up. It should be finished in the next few days.
Who doesn’t love a little horror and gore during the holiday season (o:

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A little success came my way also with two more short stories accepted for publishing with Horrified Press. Both are horror as you would guess given the name of the publishing house. This got me thinking though, that maybe I should focus more on one particular genre being horror rather than spreading my writing across several. I’ve had short stories published from other genre’s but my main success seems to be horror. I enjoy getting a story down in words and then defining where it stands in regards to genre afterward but is this the best way to go?

Some writers can bounce around between genres without loss of writing or story quality while others simply can’t or won’t. Is this due to their ability or external factor from publishing houses, agents, market demand or the writers publicly perceived brand? Great writers such as Stephen King, Bill Bryson, Iain Banks and Matthew Reilly for example have written in multiple genres and pulled it off. They are big names so can probably use their success to garner more autonomy with regards to what they write within the industry as well as wear a terrible book or short story without much detriment to their careers. They can use their craft to tell various stories very well but is this the way to go for other writers or writers at the start of their writing careers?

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Let me know what you think? Do you agree that you should write whatever you wish regardless of genre or should you stick to a particular one? Is it a two sided debate or are there shades of gray?

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  1. #1 by callummclaughlin on September 12, 2014 - 10:32 am

    Congrats on getting your stories picked up, that’s awesome!

    As for genre, I can totally understand arguments for either side but I think ultimately you just have to write the stories you feel passionate about, regardless of how they would be labelled.

    Liked by 1 person

    • #2 by David J Delaney on September 12, 2014 - 1:52 pm

      Yeah, that’s where I seem to side with too. I write a story based on gut instinct and if it fits a genre then so be it. Thanks for commenting.

      Like

  2. #3 by sknicholls on September 12, 2014 - 10:36 am

    It’s a lot to think about, especially if you are looking to make a career out of writing. For me, personally, it’s a hobby. My first published book was a roman a clef. Not even true historical fiction. But I read a lot of crime fiction and like the variety within the genre, so I thought I would try my hand at a crime series. So far, so good. My first crime novel is in the hands of a few beta readers and the feedback has been great.

    If I was younger, I think I would just write my heart out any which way, to practice my hand in a variety of works. Then, if it just seemed the right fit for me, I would stick with it and put out as much as possible in that genre to seriously build an audience, a following.

    Like

    • #4 by David J Delaney on September 12, 2014 - 1:55 pm

      Congratulations on the positive feedback. I like to try my hand at a variety of genres. Horror could be it for me but I’ll keep trying others until there comes a time when I have to choose, if that ever happens. Thanks for the comment.

      Like

  3. #5 by Steve Vernon on September 12, 2014 - 11:34 am

    I’ve written in several different genres. Nothing wrong with it – EXCEPT for the distinct possibility that you might lose out saleswise. Your horror fans (for example) might not care to read a romance you wrote – and for that matter might actually be peeved off if they accidentally bought that romance you wrote thinking that it was one of your horror novels.

    I’m just using romance and horror for the sake of example – but marketing-wise it makes more sense to stick to one genre.

    Still, I don’t do that so there’s no reason you should either.

    Like

    • #6 by David J Delaney on September 12, 2014 - 1:57 pm

      I completely get that. If I were to pick up a novel by mistake thinking it was something different, I wouldn’t be too pleased. I suppose if you have a brand attached to a genre then it makes sense not to alienate you core audience but it is fun to dip your toes into different types of stories every now and again. Thanks for commenting.

      Like

  4. #7 by aetherhouse on September 12, 2014 - 9:56 pm

    1) CHRISTMAS HORROR, YES. That is awesome.

    2) I tend to cross genres, but only in genres that have something in common. Like, I would probably never write women’s fiction, cozy mysteries, travel novels, etc. But I could write a thriller, or an adventure novel, or a horror. Those are not too far removed from sci-fi or fantasy, which are my primary genres. I think the genre I tend to write in is simply “commercial fiction” – plot driven, accessible, exciting.

    Creating a brand for yourself is good, but that often includes genre. There are pros and cons. That’s why Nora Roberts uses a male psuedonym when she writes crime novels. So, the main reason genre boundaries might hurt is if you’ve really made a name for yourself in a niche.

    Like

    • #8 by David J Delaney on September 13, 2014 - 2:17 pm

      Great point with genre’s blending together. Horror and thriller can go hand in hand very well. Many aspects from each genre pass back and forth. Thanks for the comment.

      Like

  5. #9 by suecoletta on September 12, 2014 - 11:40 pm

    It depends. If you are going traditional you want to stick with one genre for quite a while. You want to read that genre too, to see what others are doing. An agent and/or publisher doesn’t want a freshly published writer switching genres because they lose readers when they do that. So unlike Stephen King and your other examples if you don’t have a huge readership switching genres won’t help you. You want to carve out your niche and stay there to build a following.

    Like

  6. #11 by penspen on September 15, 2014 - 10:32 pm

    Congratulations on your writing success. To quote Carlos Fuentes: Don’t classify me, read me. I’m a writer, not a genre. A writer’s mindset doesn’t necessarily stick to one genre so why should the writing? Life is short, take my word for it: Surviving a heart attack brings that point home. More than anything else that made me realize all the things I want to write and publish and they are not all in one genre. Write what you want to write. Multiple genres yields multiple readers.

    Like

  7. #13 by welcometomylibrary on September 18, 2014 - 9:17 am

    Congratulations on your stories being accepted and welcome to Sydney! I think write whatever you want. If you’ve had some success in one genre, it makes sense to continue in that area but in the end I think its best to follow where your imagination takes you.

    Like

    • #14 by David J Delaney on September 18, 2014 - 9:34 am

      Thank you, the weather sure is better than Tassie. I reckon I’ll always write first, think later (o:

      Like

  8. #15 by welcometomylibrary on September 18, 2014 - 9:18 am

    Forgot to say – I like the idea of Christmas horror! I want to read it. 😉

    Like

    • #16 by David J Delaney on September 18, 2014 - 9:37 am

      Yeah, Christmas Horror is different alright. It’s sitting in a file folder for a few weeks before I edit… my least favorite job.

      Like

  9. #17 by Margaret Lynette Sharp on September 19, 2014 - 10:02 pm

    I think that there are shades of grey. While most of my stories fit nicely into the ‘romance’ genre. some are, without question, ‘human interest’.
    J. K. Rowling writes in more than one genre, and is, of course, highly successful.
    I can only answer for myself. I write in whatever genre I wish.

    Like

  10. #18 by Julie Holmes, author on September 28, 2014 - 12:29 pm

    Congrats on getting your stories picked up! I agree with other posters: write the stories you need to write regardless of the genre. And I tend to cross genres only because that’s the story I have to write.

    Like

    • #19 by David J Delaney on September 29, 2014 - 6:40 pm

      Thank you very much and thank you for the comment. It feels good to have my work out there, finally (o:

      Like

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