Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Switching Genres (Jill)

A long time ago, I was talking with a friend who knew I was writing a book. "You should write children's books. That's what we need more of--good Christian children's books."  While I agree with her (then and now), I have no desire to write in that genre. Maybe someday, but not in the immediate future.

Some authors are prolific enough and adept enough to  write in different genres. Harlen Coben, Carl Hiaasen, Roald Dahl, E.B. White, and A.A. Milne are just a few. (Here's an article that lists several more.) And by the way, Harlen Coben's YA Mickey Bolitar series is very good. So is Carl Hiaasen's children's chapter books. (But be warned: his adult books are not family friendly.)

While there's plenty of articles to be found on the pros and cons of switching genres, I'm very much in favor of it. Here are a few reasons why.

1) It beats boredom. Although I'm not bored with my current WIP,  I'm writing the last book of the series which means the next title will be something new. Lately,  I've been eyeing my notes and ideas thinking, This would be a great sci-fi plot.
2) It stretches your writing muscles. You may not make publication (traditionally) with your new sparkly manuscript, but you will learn new techniques and tricks you haven't used before. The more you write in this new genre, the better you'll get. And it will make you a better writer all the way around, no matter what genre you choose.

3) It may help you cultivate a larger audience. Although there might not be a lot of crossover readers, some will love your cozy Buddhist westerns, with others breathlessly waiting for your dragon satire comedies (Only examples. Trust me, I'm not doing either of these.)

4) Along with a larger audience is the potential for greater earnings. The one caveat? The author can't churn out garbage. Study the genre, learn the expectations, and hone the craft. If it's a good story, the readers will come, and the money will follow.

Switching genres can be done. I've done it, as well. Three finished and two unfinished Christian romance novels lay in my filing cabinet. I learned to write with those stories. But after I had children, I felt the urge to create YA fantasy worlds. I don't know if I'll ever go back to the romance genre completely, although I've been adding quite a bit of happily-ever-after to my stories lately. After all, everyone needs a happy ending, right?

If the muse is leading you to try a new genre, go for it. God puts the story ideas in our hearts. Who knows where the next one could lead you?


  1. Great post, Jill! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Good post! I love writing fantasy, but I do have a mystery story filled away that I'd like to finish one day.

    1. Ooh, that'd be fun! I hope you get a chance to do that. :-) Thanks for responding!

  3. I have several historical fiction stories (with romance and adventure) in mind, so I hope to switch genres someday. Your list of pros and cons is a great one. Janette Oke is another author who switched genres--she's well-known for her bonnet romances, but she also wrote contemporary romances. T. Davis Bunn has written just about everything, I think. Historical, contemporary romance, YA fantasy.

    1. Hi Elizabeth! T. Davis Bunn is amazing -- I know he write speculative under Thomas Locke. And you're right about Janette Oke -- another really prolific writer. I hope you get a chance to work on those historical fiction stories. :-)Thanks for commenting!

  4. Great post, Jill! I feel like there are so many directions to take in fantasy that I doubt I'll ever move to something else. But as you know, I've already switched between historical and contemporary within the fantasy genre :)


Please note that your comment hasn't gone through unless you see the notice: "Your comment will be visible after approval." We apologize for any difficulties posting comments or delays in moderation.