The Genre Ailment
I am a notorious genre hopper. It’s like an addiction, a disease. And in publishing it can mean sudden death for your stories. But there is more room to dabble in different types of tales now than ever before.
My first book was children’s fiction. My second, a paranormal erotic romance. They’re like polar opposites. And my most recent work is a science fiction novella series properly named The Embracing Entropy Series. I do draw from writers like Neil Gaiman who seem to give a big middle finger to the constraints that seem to be pressing on writers today. And instead of falling prey to the belief that you can only be good at one thing, I embrace the wide range of ideas that constantly attack my brain.
So how does one survive like this without losing their mind, and somehow continue to get published?
I can’t say for sure. I never set out to be a writer. It just kind of happened. I’ve always been one to let the wind blow me in the right direction and THAT I think is key.
If you’re struggling with a story, don’t force it. Never force an art form. (Writing, good writing, is still very much an art form. No matter how flooded the market is) Yes, make time for it. That can be difficult nowadays. But if the inspiration isn’t there, move onto another project, you can come back.
This is how I end up with a variety of works. Instead of being too broad, I find that I have more options than most of the writers I know. But a great deal of that seems to be that I can switch focus. I’m not saying write a book that can be 5 different genres. I’m saying write different books, each with their own genre.
I have a pretty good handle on paranormal romance, and science fiction & fantasy have always been favorites of mine. When I have a horror story idea I feel that I’m at my best because horror is my first love, but it never manifests beyond short stories for me. Writing for children is a whole other world.
You should always read books from whatever genre you’re writing to really know it and feel it out properly. I’m such a bookworm, I love reading everything, so of course that reflects in my writing. And once you’ve been at it for a while, you begin to know yourself better. This is where I’m at. I know I have insane amounts of originality. It’s been noted in my acceptances and rejections constantly. But I still need to work on my details.
Playing with multiple genres has helped me to discover these strengths and weaknesses. Exploring the options of other types of writing seems to have many benefits. One of my author buddies writes fiction, romance, and poetry and he’s met with success at a pretty young age. The days of genre hopping being taboo are over. I encourage everyone to test new ideas and see where they lead.
Jessica is the author of: The Embracing Entropy Series, Siren’s Snare, Tale of Two Bookends, and My Family Is Different. Her stories have been featured in numerous publications such as Everyday Fiction, The Lorelei Signal, Fiction on the Web, The Horror Zine and many others. She is a member of the St. Louis Writer’s Guild and is always weaving new worlds in the webs of her tales. You can check her out at www.jessicamariebaumgartner.com