Friday, August 22, 2014

So--you're a romance writer... *snicker*

The two or three people who've read my work know me as a romance writer. Two of the three novel-length works I've published to date are contemporary romance/romantic suspense, and I tend to get a little defensive about my 'romance writer' label for two reasons:
I decided to count my genres when I read Che Gilson's post "Writing Bucket List", and realized I write in no fewer than seven of them.

I write mystery. I've started a mystery novel that I'm very excited about. It's set on a fictitious Caribbean island and explores the other side of the tourist destination ethos of the region: no smiling 'natives' serving drinks with umbrellas but real people with real struggles, out of control violent crime, white collar corruption, and yes, a little realistic romance.

I write memoir. I've written one on raising my son and it's awaiting a final edit before I submit it anywhere.

I write literary fiction. One of my short stories has been published in a literary journal, another was shortlisted for a lit prize, and several others are cooling their heels on my hard drive. One of my WIPs is a novel which draws on my family history and may be categorized as literary, women's fiction or mainstream. Not sure yet.

I write science fiction. Just one so far. Yup, surprised me too, but I woke up with the story in my head and could not get it out. So I wrote it. Not sure yet what exactly I should do with it, and don't know if I'll be writing any more.

I write poetry. I don't consider myself a poet, but I've always written 'poemish' things. Last year I took a poetry writing class and although I got an A I still don't consider myself a poet. Not too sure what I'll do with that collection of sonnets, haikus, tankas, ballads, acrostics, villanelles, dramatic monologues, modified forms and free verse, but it sure was fun writing them.

I write flash fiction. Submitted my favorite here, and I see more FF in my future.

Seven genres, and I've probably overlooked a couple others. I was told by a well-meaning friend years ago that I should stick to one genre and develop a fan base there before moving into other genres. But I'm wayward. I write what I want, when I want. And with the growth of indie publishing, I can also publish what I want, when I want. Am I making money doing my own thing? Very little thus far. Am I happy doing things my way? You bet I am.

Do you stick to one genre? Or do you juggle multiple genres like I do?



Charles Gramlich said...

I could never stay in one genre either. I've heard that same advice but I just can't abide by it.

Liane Spicer said...

I can't either Charles. I tried for a while and it just didn't work for me.

Che Gilson said...

I tend to stick with speculative fiction of some sort. I need "something to hang my hat on" and no matter what other genre is involved it will usually have some sort of fantastic element. I'm pondering breaking that to write a contemporary Middle Grade novel.

G. B. Miller said...

I tell everyone I write "quirky fiction" but in reality, most of it is an offshoot of paranormal/fantasy/erotica.

Father Nature's Corner

Stefanie Worth said...

I've tried to write reality based stories with no supernatural additions, but so far it hasn't worked. I have to say, though, that I'm pretty comfy in my speculative fiction niche. With a little romance thrown in, of course.

KeVin K. said...

My wife wanted me (still wants me) to write romance. I've researched the genre and have to say it has a lot in common with science fiction. (Think about it: A world where men talk about their emotions. Pretty out there.)

I don't write poetry, but what I learned studying poetry informs my prose. (Last year my poetry prof said I wrote "prose poems" which sounds a bit like "math botany" to me, but evidently it's a thing.)

I think we write the stories that are in us. Genre is a label we attach after the story is written. I think telling someone to stick with one genre is like telling someone to stick with one verb tense. Advice best ignored.

Liane Spicer said...

Che, I think my equivalent of your fantastical element is romantic relationships. Good luck with the MG novel!

Liane Spicer said...

G.B., I guess 'quirky' covers lots of stories that can't be squeezed into a genre template. I've written a few of those myself.

Liane Spicer said...

Stefanie, I, otoh, tend to focus on reality-based stories. At least that's what I tell myself, but I've always found there's lots of magic in real life too, and it's creeping into my fiction in startling ways.

Liane Spicer said...

Kevin, yup, prose poetry is a thing, and we had to write those too (for the class). Former NS member John Brantingham recently published an entire book of them.

It's a bit confusing; as far as I can see, the only thing that makes it 'prose' is the absence of line breaks. The flash fiction piece I mentioned above actually began its life as a prose poetry exercise for the class.

Tell Valerie I too am waiting patiently for your romance novel to be born.

Jewel Amethyst said...

I write all kinds of things but I don't necessarily put them into genres. I find we get bogged down when writing in specific genres. If you like writing, then write what you like. The money will follow eventually, but its more important to enjoy writing, because it shows in your work.