Lately, I’ve been thinking about the art of expanding genres in writing. Sometimes as we write, we can get stale in the genre we often write in. It’s not something we like to think about, but it does happen. Many authors will think about expanding their horizons by writing in sub-genres in their chosen fields, which allows them to benefit from their audience, but also gives them a bit more room to stretch and grow. Others will sometimes take the plunge and venture into a brand new genre– one they love to read but hadn’t considered writing before. Both ways are useful and I think can often bring a deeper appreciation to the author.
Right now, I write romance– in many varieties, flavours and sub-genres. I enjoy it. I like it. I’m known to cross various points together to make interesting stories and in turn, keep myself interested. In fact, I’m currently working on a story that’s sci-fi romance with hints of BDSM, pirates, fantasy, and erotic romance tossed into the mix. It works because of the plot and the great characters in play. I love it because of the depth of the work. Romance is one of my first loves as a writer. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed writing and I always will. But I do have other genres I love– fantasy, high fantasy ala J.R.R. Tolkien, Mercedes Lackey, Terry Brooks and the like. Give me urban fantasy, watch me read for hours upon hours! Another is mysteries–especially cozy mysteries. I grew up reading Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Hardy Boys, Nero Wolfe and other mystery books. I adore them. Love them. (I think you get the picture!) Now I’m reading Julie Hyzy, Carolyn Haines, and others. *Big wave to the Cozy Chicks Blog crew!*
It has always been one of my dreams to write a mystery. Even if there was a hint of romance in the mystery, that would be okay, but I’d write a cozy. I’d even try to get it published. For years and years, I put it off. The reasoning I gave was I wasn’t ready as a writer. I wasn’t good enough– yet. Once I had my breakdown after my mom’s death and my diagnosis of ADD, I felt like I’d never get it together enough to be ready for writing a mystery. Earlier this year, my writing seemed to come back online when I got a major boost from my support system and finding new ways to be creative. That’s also when I realized something interesting– I was ready to write a mystery. So began the research in how to write a mystery novel. Oh, I have craft books. Plus, once I get a day job, I’ll be joining Sisters In Crime. Oh yeah. I’m so there once I get a job. I’m ready. I wish my mom was here to see this– this is the other thing she was waiting for– to see me write my first mystery. Which is why my heroine will be bearing the last name of my mom’s family. It’s my tribute to the woman who taught me you can love romance and love solving crimes in the same breath while cooking dinner and cleaning house.
Which is why I’ve decided one of the things I’ll be doing is dedicating some of my blogging on writing mysteries. The creation of those specialized characters, the setting, the whodunit, the whydunit, and the howdunit. I might not give you the specifics of my story I’m working on, but I will show you what I’m learning and how I’m putting it into practice. You might find it useful in your personal writing. I will say this– it’s helping me in my romance writing already. I know, hard to believe, but it’s true. So, the benefits are paying off. I’ve always wanted to write a mystery– it’s a dream whose time has come. More importantly– I know I can do it, if I work hard. I will need to write, rewrite, edit, reedit, and keep plugging at it. But this time, I’m willing to step out of my comfort zone and go the extra mile.
How about you? Will you expand your horizons in your writing and see where it will take you?