Write In One Genre or Two?

rocheller/flikr/journal/Writers question whether to stick to one genre or if it’s OK to write in more than one. There seems to be two schools of thought. One says it’s easier to get published if you  write in only one, that you’ll have an easier time getting an agent. The other says write where your heart is. I’m still trying to figure it out for myself. You can only spread yourself so thin.  I’m scattered right now trying to do justice to my children’s books and also write memoir. One week I joined SCBWI or Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the next I joined NAMW or the National Association of Memoir Writer’s.  www.namw.org.

I feel the definite need to set goals and manage my time so I can meet them. I’ve scheduled time for both genres on my calendar, setting time aside for writing and also setting time aside to do the business part of writing.

Part of the business of writing is that I’m working with an illustrator or should I say an artist, for my children’s book, Annie’s Special Day, by going to his studio once a week and talking about my character. I’m also previewing sketches. He hasn’t signed a contract yet but it looks promising. The draw back is that he’s never illustrated a children’s book before and needs a lot of info. I’ve been educating him about copyright and contracts, etc. He does have some knowledge about how his art will change once in the PDF format. And he’s printed some of his work for magazines so he surprises me sometimes with what he does know.

However right now, I’m of the opinion that if you are only writing in one genre stick to that. It’s a lot easier to focus and do your work justice. You can’t possibly learn all there is to know about or all you need to know about more than one genre.

I’ve registered for an online writer’s conference called www.writeoncon.com starting Tuesday August 16th through Thursday August 18th.  Mostly what I’ve seen in the forums are people who write YA and MG. There are a couple of good contests and there’s going to be agents and editors. Apparently one can find Beta readers and find critique partners. Just ask in the forums. And it’s free. It’s all free.

And except for the feeling that you need to be somewhere else doing something else in writing while your there, it should be a blast.

Have you had experience writing in more than one genre? Have you found it harder to get published when you write in two genres? Tell me what you think.

You might be interested in these related posts:https://clarbojahn.wordpress.com/?s=memoir ; https://clarbojahn.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/how-to-clear-up-our-soul/ ; https://clarbojahn.wordpress.com/?s=contract

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About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
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24 Responses to Write In One Genre or Two?

  1. Stacy S. Jensen says:

    That’s wonderful you are working with an illustrator (If I recall, I began reading your blog when you had a glitch in that process). I’ve been working on memoir, but attended a picture book retreat in July. I’ve wanted to write a PB for the last decade, but the subject of my memoir derailed those plans years ago. I think it’s been a refreshing writing break to work on PB projects. While I’m in the infancy stage of the process, working on PB has helped. I know a lot of people think writing in different genres isn’t good for a writing career, but they only say no agent wants a one-book writer. Good luck. Maybe I’ll see you on WriteonCon.

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    • Clar says:

      Yes, I believe the PB does make me happy as well. 🙂
      What is your name in Writeoncon? Mine is Clar. Hope to see there.

      Like

      • Stacy S. Jensen says:

        I think I’m just stacysjensen over there. I’ve just been able to watch some of the presentations. I haven’t had a chance to pop in the forums yet.

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  2. I write in many different genre and it works for me as I like to express different aspects of my creativity. Now I’m trying to find a way to brand myself so readers know where to find me. I write under two names and I have a blog and facebook pages under the name of one of my characters. It’s become a bit of a muddle. I’m open to suggestions from anyone who has dealt with this problem.

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    • Clar says:

      You are a good example of writing in more than one genre. Except I see and hear your pain. 🙂 .
      One suggestion I have for you is to have a gravatar photo of yourself so people can identify with that when you are on the net. It’s not a brand but one way for people to recognize you.

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  3. pattyabr says:

    What is YA and MG?

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    • nrhatch says:

      Young Adult and Modern Gothic.

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      • Clar says:

        OMG! :0 . MG can be EITHER modern gothic or middle grades. We don’t usually get children to read modern gothic so I think it’s middle grades 🙂 . Readers from third to six grade. They usually like to read about preteen issues and often go for teen issues if their parents allow it and monitor their reading. :).

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      • nrhatch says:

        Well there’s a reason to write in a single genre . . . so you know the lingo! ;)Well there’s a reason to write in a single genre . . . so you know the lingo! 😉

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  4. Clar,
    Good question! I believe asking the question is the first step in the clarification process.I think we all need to find our own way through the maze of writing options. Right now, I am working exclusively on memoir but I certainly have entertained the idea of branching into fiction “some day”. It seems to me that our stories find us and coax us along. Joining the different writing organizations is a great start to finding your focus. Congratulations on all you have accomplished with your children’s book. Thanks for the links to your conference too. Happy writing!
    Kathy

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    • Clar says:

      Thank you, Kathy,
      Good luck on your memoir. You have made an herculean effort at it. I hope to see it’s completion soon and will gladly be able to say, “I knew her when.” 🙂
      Hope to see you at the conference. Apparently their servers went down and crashed this morning because of all the new attendees.
      Happy writing to you. too.

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  5. I write in no specific genre, despite my stories mostly having odd twists… TwilightZone-itis, perhaps.

    I look at spreading myself over a wide range as one very powerful way of avoiding “Writer’s Block”, or rather “Writer’s Blah” as I like to call it. You can’t get bored with writing if you can easily switch to another project when the one you are working on bogs down.

    I write every day, sometimes on my novels (final, I hope) rewrite, sometimes on a whisp of poetry, sometimes on a radio script. Always on my blog. It doesn’t matter so much what I’m working on, but that I am working at all.

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    • Clar says:

      You are a fine example, Ric. 🙂
      I love reading what you write so write on! 🙂
      Thank you for your fine comment and for stopping and visiting. I find I can’t stop and switch so easily. I have to have a separate day for each. Maybe I take myself too seriously. :).

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  6. nrhatch says:

    Depends on the writer.
    No rules. Just write!

    Enjoy the journey as the path unfolds before you.

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    • Clar says:

      Thank you, Nancy.
      I am enjoying. In fact I’m living the life of my dreams. I love having these problems rather than the ones I could be having. 🙂
      I love your adage “No rules. Just write!”

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  7. Widdershins says:

    If you’re writing and publishing in different genres (or plan on publishing) it’s worthwhile considering writing with a pen name – consider Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb – it’s no secret that they’re one person and she has both identities on her web page, but it’s sufficient to differentiate between the genres she writes in.

    It may be as simple as changing hats!

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    • Clar says:

      I love that it may be as simple as changing hats! I could become real versatile just like my blog. And flexible!
      As it is my author name is the one my mother gave me, Clarike, but I kept my married names.
      Thank you for your comment.

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  8. great post clara. i’m really happy for u finding a promising illustrator. they’re fortunate to work w u. keep us posted.

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  9. Lara Dunning says:

    I mostly write in the fantasy genre, but I love historical fiction. I have a his fic piece I’ve been wanting to write, but it will take some travel and research. I think you should write what you want to write. The only downside is if you build your author platform in one genre, then how do you go about building it in another? Seems like that could be a huge hurdle.

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    • Clar says:

      I love historical fiction, too. I like what you’ve shown us on your blog and you are prolific so I have no doubt that you’ll finish that fic piece.
      The platform part is difficult and just like the commenter Bobbi Carducci says above, if you have any advice please spill. 🙂
      Thanks for commenting. I always appreciate it when you stop by.

      Like

  10. Pingback: Paying it Forward~The Irresistably Sweet Blog Award | Memoir Writer's Journey

  11. My pleasure, Clar:-)

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