There are several favorite writers of mine that switched genres in the middle of their careers. They went from writing historical romances to writing thrillers or mysteries, leaving me scratching my head and wondering how they could go from one to the other, since they were so different, not to mention leaving me heart broken when they stopped writing romance. I’d been writing romance for years and never had the urge to write in another genre and just didn’t understand.
When I returned to the world of writing, after being absent for several years, I was surprised by how the romance genre had taken on a life of its own, breaking into so many sub-genres that it boggled the mind (my mind).
Two years ago, while watching documentaries one night, I was inspired by two stories: one about a little girl who was sixteen, but had the physical appearance of a four year old, and the other about children of serial killers. Although sad stories, my mind started asking what if questions, and low and behold, two new stories were born. Much to my surprise, one is shaping out to be a thriller, and the other a medical suspense. Both have strong elements of romance, so far, but more importantly, helped me understand why writers chose to write in other genres. It’s not so much a conscious choice (although I’m certain some writers made that choice), but the stories or characters that reveal themselves and writers can’t and shouldn’t ignore them. After all, it could be the one that gets us published, our names on the map, or the next best seller, so how can we resist?
How open are you to writing in other genres? Are there stories or characters that moved you into a genre or sub-genre you never thought you’d find yourself?