Tuesday, 3 July 2018

The importance of sticking to one genre

As a writer, my brain isn't limited by the notion of genre. Ideas pop into my head and I think "I can turn that into a novel." Yeah, but that idea is romance or murder mystery, my other brain says, and you write speculative fiction.


Speculative fiction, in itself, is a broad term. It encompasses horror, scif-fi, fantasy, paranormal and all its sub-genres. Urban fantasy, paranormal romance, dystopian etc.

I must be in control of my muse, not the other way round.

When my first novel was published, it was a young adult title about guardian angels and the afterlife. I went on to publish 2 more young adult titles in a similar theme; my second was about teens who take on the memories of their organ donor host; and my third YA novel was a love story featuring magic and ghosts. Still in the same realm of speculative fiction, but I told my editor this book was a crossover into paranormal romance. I recall her telling me to stick the same genre to avoid confusing readers.

 I didn't want to believe it at the time. Neither did my brain. The ideas kept coming. I have story ideas for thrillers, romance, science fiction, horror, contemporary. Why shouldn't I write what I please?

Nothing stopping me from writing these ideas and even turning them into stories, but I'm finally having to admit that every minute spent out from under the umbrella of speculative fiction means that I only end up swallowing a lot of water.

I can't do everything. Simple. None of us can and it's not healthy to pretend otherwise. I have first drafts of a thriller and two romance novels that could be tweaked and published, and I'm dying to get them out there. What's stopping me is the brand building.

It's tough enough building my current brand let alone adding two more - one for romance, another for the thriller (and I even have the perfect pen name!).


I think I also wanted to stretch myself because my husband is a fisherman, and he will put out as many lures as he can to attract the fish. That's what I thought I'd do with my writing, put out as many types of books and see what I attract.

But here's the catch (pun intended). Fishermen don't put deep-diving lures in shallow water (at least not on purpose). They don't target freshwater fish in the ocean and vice versa. Of course they try new techniques versus tried-and-true techniques, and writers do the same.

And this is what's come down to: If targeting a fish in the wrong water is a waste of time and money, why am I doing it? It really is like trying to sell ice to an Eskimo, and while it can be done, it's a lot of effort that could be better spent elsewhere.

On that note, I have decided to aside my burning desire to finish that romance novel (for now and yeah that's two puns in one post) and I'll put the effort into my next sci-fi series. More to be revealed soon. But think "The Expanse" played out on Earth and with aliens.

Cover reveal coming soon. Did you want to sign up to my newsletter to keep updated with this new sci-fi series? You can sign up here www.dlrichardson.com


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