Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Writing Wednesday | Genres, Genres, Everywhere

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 My reading inclinations are extremely eclectic. I read almost anything: Contemporary Adult, Suspense, Horror, Historical Fiction, Paranormal Romance, Erotica, Biography, Memoir, Young Adult, and New Adult. Since I was a kid, if I could get my hands on it, I was absorbing it. My own stories starting growing and developing in my brain from a young age as well. There was always some sort of microcosm living in my head. Some grew into poetry or short stories. But some of those threads of an idea were too big to convey in small writings, thus began my collection of book ideas. Which, like my reading tastes, are extremely varied.

The specifics of some story lines earmark them for certain genres. When you’re talking classifications like horror, suspense, or erotica, it boils down to semantics, but from a writing standpoint(which includes the reading standpoint), you have to seriously consider the big three: Adult, Young Adult, and the umbrella of Children. Four, now with the recently minted New Adult genre. Reading across several genres is a must for my literary appetite, but from a writing standpoint it got me thinking: Can you write well across several genres?

Though I adore YA, all the book ideas born of my crazy imagination were firmly rooted within the Adult genre. Then I had a friend approach me with a photograph that she adored and said she felt like it conveyed a story. After five minutes of looking at it, the story line for a three book YA trilogy was born! But again, I have all these questions swirling around in my head. Whether we intend to or not, when an author writes an epic novel or series of novel in a particular genre, they can become synonymous for that genre. For example, J.K. Rowling with the Harry Potter series and her follow up adult contemporary novel, The Casual Vacancy. James Patterson with his adult comtemporary fiction novels versus The Maximum Ride series. While fans of both still read and enjoyed the subsequent crossover books, I still feel the authors had to deal with preconceived prejudices and expectations.

And yes, I do realize that I haven’t even finished my FIRST novel, which is adult comtemporary, and that the YA triology is a fledgling concept in my brain, but I am an anal retentive, over intellectualizing dork, and I’d like to make you captive participant in my superfluous quandry:

When writing books in different genres do you publish them both under the same name? Cash in on acquired name recognition despite the risk of disappointment from fans and nay saying from critics who have been biased by previous work, or take a chance with new anonymity? The fabulous J.K. Rowling took a shot at this method as well when she published and adult crime fiction, The Cuckoo’s Calling, under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. It sold like 4,000 copies. Then word got out that she penned it, then it’s flying off the shelves.

The answer to this question may be obvious to all of you, but follow me down the rabbit hole of my convulted thinking, and let me try to further clarify my extrapolations. Ride shotgun with me if you will. What is the balance between wanting your work to stand on its own merit versus making money? Is there a relevance here or should I just keep a lid on the superfluous distractive thinking, and apply more due diligence in getting enough novels written to have ‘Stephenie Meyer’ problems? 😉 Opinions are welcomed!

Happy Writing!

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One Response to “Writing Wednesday | Genres, Genres, Everywhere”

  1. Reese Reed

    I just write. Period. When the manuscript’ s done, then I decide which genre it best aligns to and tackle shaping it to fit during revisions. I never set out to write YA/ NA, but that’s what mine wound up being. Don’t sweat it now, just write.

    As for publishing names, that’s a question I answer often. I chose a pseudonym for my novels because I use my real name for my educational and freelance writing. If I were to write a manuscript that fit in another similar genre, say women’s fiction or romance, I’d keep it under Reese Reed. However, if I EVER find a publishing house for my two children’s manuscripts, I’ll alter my pen name just a touch, changing it to R. Reed or something similar. I think that with the huge jump from children’s lit to YA in terms of content, I’d be doing my readers a disservice by promoting them side by side.

    Interesting topic. I remember discovering that one of my favorite chick lit authors Sophie Kinsella also published under the name Madeline Wickman. At first I couldn’t wrap my head around why she would do that, but once I read one of Madeline’ s books I understood. It was to protect me, the reader, from tumbling into a woman’s fiction thinking I was getting a light, funny chick lit. And it was well appreciated.

    Reese

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