Friday, 6 August 2010

Changing Hats

Welcome to rainy Chesterfield ladies and gentleman (Good to see you back Cap'n). I'm skint, so there's tap or rainwater as you wish, and dirt or some raw herbs from the garden to nibble on. Mind the berries -- they're belladonna.

We had a post a week or two ago about writing for different genres and whether you should use a pen name. (I don't as it happens). My question today is similar. How easy do you find it to switch genres? Not having made any sort of impact on the writing world, I generally write for competitions and have poetry, horror, erotica, paranormal, humour and crime fiction storied published, plus a few non-fiction pieces on BDSM and polyamorory. How easy do you chaps find it to switch genre? This week, for instance, I write zombie humour in the mornings, poetry over lunch and horror in the afternoons. Does anyone else do that? How do you switch genres, if you do?

19 comments:

Leatherdykeuk said...

Putting a new hat on to get comments e-mailed.

JJ Beattie said...

Oooh, interesting question; a less interesting answer I fear.

I don't so far switch genres. I write something along the lines of mainstream fiction though possible more female than I admit to... I contemplate writing YA because I really enjoy what I read of it.

I shall be more able to answer that question when I start properly on my non fiction pitch in the next few weeks!

Graeme K Talboys said...

I've written sci-fi, fantasy, spy fiction, historical fiction, contemporary surrealist stuff, 'literary' (not a term I'm comfortable with but until someone comes up with a better), poetry... I don't have trouble switching. In fact, I like to move about as I believe it helps to keep me fresh. Plus, although the genres are different, the basic themes of work remain the same - I just use the most appropriate setting to explore specific ideas.

Debs said...

I love switching genres, although mine generally are romantic fiction, YA, and I'm now researching a historical novel.

I think after spending so long on one book, it's refreshing for me to have a break on something completely different.

Cathy said...

To date I haven't switched genres much, except while doing the OU creaive writing courses. But actually I think it's quite a healthy thing and I should do so more often...

Cathy said...

And I can't spell, or rather can't type, *creative*. Sorry.

Karen said...

My novels are commercial women's fiction so I only tend to switch genres when writing short stories. That's how I discovered I love writing about ghosts!

Denise said...

So far I've only written science fiction, but I think I'm going to try some crime writing soon. I'm more worried about getting different storylines/characters muddled in my head, rather than the switch of genre. This probably means I'm going to have to finish one before starting the other, but am curious to see how everyone else does it in case they have good tips. Maybe you're just good at focusing on one thing, then switching to the next? Not sure I have that skill!

Leatherdykeuk said...

JJ -- I look forward to your future thoughts

Graeme -- I knew you were a multi-genre master. I think we discussed it last time we met.

Debs -- I can understand that :)

Cathy -- I've never done a writing course so i can'r comment on that!

Karen -- Commercial women's fiction is something I seem unalble to do. Last time I tried it ended up as a paranormal again!

Denise -- I think it depends upon how well you know your characters. Sometimes I lose the plot, too.

sheepish said...

I was going to say that I only write one genre then realised that I do write poetry aswell. Switching is not difficult because I'm hardly writing anything at the moment. I blame it on long sunny days and diy but in reality I'm just feelng lazy at the moment. Although I am doing some thinking does that count for anything!!!!

WriterMelS said...

I like switching around too. I want to try YA, have two more ideas for women's fiction and oodles of book ideas for the crime series.

Still can't crack the short story market though, although I have only written three (all rejected). Apparently it takes about fifteen...I don't know how they do it.

So yes I change genre but I think the style of my writing is the same. Easy read, can't do anything else.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Sheepish -- We're allowed to be lazy -- it's called 'soaking up experience'.

Mels -- Short stories are the best way to develop your style, I think. Tight plotting becomes essential.

HelenMHunt said...

I do a bit of lots of things - short stories for women's magazine market, non-fiction on a variety of subjects and my novel which is women's fiction. In an ideal world - ie one where I didn't have to have a job as well - I'd love to 'zone' my work, maybe workiing on short pieces in the morning and the novel in the afternoon.

Sadly, I tend to flit from one thing to another according to what feels most urgent. Non-fiction stuff tends to be more likely to have deadlines if it's a piece an editor has said yes to and is waiting for. Short stories come next because all though there are no actual deadlines (other than my fortnightly sub to online writing group), I like to keep a good number out there at any time in order to maximise hits.

Book reviews also sometimes have deadlines if a publisher has sent it out with an expectation that the review will coincide with a publication date.

Unfortunately, that means my poor novel does tend to get neglected and left to the bottom of the pile.

I'd love to know how to manage it all better as just writing thaat down has made me feel dizzy!

Leatherdykeuk said...

Oh, Helen - I'm impressed at your organisation. My book reviews tend to become senryu!

DOT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DOT said...

I know the industry loves genres. It helps them sell - so they say - when what they mean is it makes life easier and safer insofar as they can judge within a genre what has been successful before and so to what extent a me-too is sufficiently similar, but with a soupçon more seasoning to differentiate it, to ensure sales without undue exertion on their part.

Though, of course, it is those who cross the boundaries who create wild success, e.g. J.K. Rowling. Or who move literature forward, e.g. Haruki Murakami or Paul Auster.

I have just finished Carols Ruiz Zafón's The Angel Game - a mind numbing creation - where I found myself at one moment believing I was reading what would be called a literary novel, the next a graphic novel in text, a love story, most enduringly a gothic work, and finally a metaphysical treatise.

When I write, I write what comes to me because my desire is to create an original piece of fiction, not the latest sci-fi, or whatever, novel. It is a luxury I can afford because I do not depend on writing to survive. If it were otherwise, I would indubitably have to abide by the rules.

If you want to further understand the source of my cynicism, I recommend Foucault's The Archaeology of Knowledge.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Thanks DOT :)

Captain Black said...

Hmm, I'm not sure about the unfiltered Chernobyl juice, better make mine a tap water.

There was a post from Rowan a while back about breaking out of your comfort zone. Genre switching is a great way to do this and it's something I enjoy doing, in a slightly perverse way. I won't list all my attempted genres here, but there are quite a few of them. Switching is only a problem if I flit too quickly between them. I need enough time on each to get a sufficient level of immersion into the characters and the story.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Thanks Captain.
Unfortunately, I'm still in last weeks 'horror writing head' wheras I'm supposed to be writing erotica this week. Go figure.