Changing genres to save your life

Hop on over to to see my blog entry on this subject.

6 replies
  1. Abe
    Abe says:

    Hi Tess,

    I found this on another site and it just sounds right:

    Does the new genre enhance the writer’s strengths?
    If your strength is, say, comedy, it’s broad enough to fit comfortably into various genres. If your strength is suspense, that too opens the writer to many genre options. But if your strength is writing male/female relationship stories, then the best possible genre to showcase your work is evident.
    Look at your work and determine your strength. Then determine if the new genre embraces those strengths. Not just tolerates, but embraces. Maximum strength to maximum potential–that’s the goal. So that what the writer is best at is what is most important to the genre.
    Why link your strengths to a weak area? See what I mean? Strong + Strong = Powerhouse. Don’t settle for less when here you can shine.
    If you love the new genre, great. If you don’t, don’t bother trying to write in it.
    Sounds pretty bald, stated that way, but it’s just cutting through the clutter. If you’re switching genres to sell, that’s the wrong reason, and it negates your odds of selling to it, as well. If you’re switching genres because the novels in the new genre captivate you, you feel as if your storyteller has come home, then you’re on the right track and doing this for the right reason.
    That right reason is significant. It gives you the discipline to write and the desire to write well. It motivates you to not settle for anything less than your best. And all those things greatly increase your odds of selling.
    Over the years, I’ve often heard writers say that they can write anything, so they just go after what’s selling. They’re chasing the market. A few–very few–have been successful. Most have not.
    Because storytelling is about creating magic, and to create magic you must feel it. If you don’t feel it, it shows in the work. And translated, that means no sale. You can’t fake it; the truth comes through in the work in thousands of little ways. So it’s best to just accept it and invest your time–your time is your life, so be picky how you spend it–in stories where you do feel the magic.
    If you feel driven to switch genres, then do. But do so not on emotion, not on a whim, and not because you’ve come upon a challenge and wish to switch rather than fight. Switch if purpose is driving you to switch. Do so with your head and your heart, and make sure that you’re switching to a genre where you are unleashing restraints that bind your potential. If you are, then hack through that which binds you, and soar.


  2. therese
    therese says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Abe. I’ve applied for access to her “library” because this quote in her post intrigued me.

    “Author Theme

    Every author has one. If you’re not familiar with the term or frame of reference, there’s an article on it in my web site library and I urge you to read it. If I’d identified mine earlier, it would have saved me a lot challenges. ”

    This “Changing genres to stay alive” is really sweeping through blogs and shows many authors concerns about their chosen career. I agree entirely that writing a four page sex scene is excruciating. Especially for someone like me, who when I come across one in a romance, just flip through to get back to the real story. 🙂

    Thanks to both of you, Abe & Tess for these posts. Of course this is a topic that I am pondering myself for different reasons. Maybe I’ll learn more about my ‘author theme’ when I get access to Vicki’s library.

  3. PackingPadre
    PackingPadre says:

    Have a happy Christmas, Tess. I think Maeve the wonder dog and I will stay put, given the uncertainty of the weather. But add in a leg of lamb, sweet potatoes and veggies and that’s not bad at all.

    Father Daniel

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