Lessons in Writing: Diversify

When I started writing, just like a lot of young writers, I focused on a single genre. I grabbed books in the fantasy aisle and wrote only magic and sword play. Reading Lord of the Rings was a yearly tradition and I stuck my nose up at romance, mystery and other writings. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. But I was so focused that I completely missed out on some great works. Maybe at that time you could have considered me a book snob, and I probably was.

My writing centered around the same type of ideas that  most beginning writers start with.  Lots of tropes and Mary Sues.  I had nothing original, nothing to offer that hadn’t been done before.

Then came the internet (yes I was slow to jump on that) and the opportunity to view a very wide world. There was so much to view, to read to look at. And slowly, subtly my writing began to broaden out.

But it wasn’t until I started marketing my work that I realized how difficult it would be if you only wrote one type of thing. There are literally thousands of places to send your work to and hundreds in the fantasy genre, but not every one wants the same thing.  A horror market might specialize in humor, monsters or psychological terror. If your submission doesn’t fit their guidelines you will get a rejection, no matter how much they like the story. It is also very difficult to write a story for one genre and then try to change the details to fit into another.

Because there are all sorts of markets wanting a variety of different stories, branching out makes perfect sense.  One of your stories might be horror, while another might be literary fiction.  You just touched on two more markets.  More markets, more possible sales. More people reading your work. And really, isn’t that the point?  More readers?

I’d like to point out that my first two sales are not even in the fantasy genre. “Rachel’s Journal”  and “The Gammi Experiment” are both science fiction stories. Other works that I have had published like Tasting Humanity and You Don’t Belong sure aren’t Sword and Sorcery (S&S).

So don’t write yourself into a corner and write only one type of story. Branch out, read widely voraciously, and take notes on what makes those genres different from what you write. Because those lessons are going to help you along the way.

Keep reading and writing friends.

Comments and questions are always appreciated.

Thank you



2 responses to “Lessons in Writing: Diversify

  1. I agree with everything you have said. I think a writer should always read outside his or her genre and definitely try and write outside. I think it’s important to broaden your perspective in this profession. It gives you increased exposure and the practice is very helpful later on down the road.

    Good post! 🙂


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