Wednesday, June 13, 2012


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?


  1. Hi Elke! Great topic! It's really got me thinking.

    I have always written romance, because that's what I read more than anything else. I don't have a YA voice, and I can't think ahead and plot enough to write a thriller, so the other genres I read wouldn't be feasible for me to write. However, within romance, I have bounced between historical, paranormal, and erotica. It's just like you said: the stories come and there's no ignoring them.

    My short stories, however, tend to be slice-of-life stories, and with the exception of maybe two, are not romance at all. I've got a few on my website, and it's funny to me how different they are from my longer works. My longest "short" story clocks in at 12,000 words, and is pure erotica (no romance at all). I couldn't imagine expanding any of them to full-length novels, though, or shortening my romances enough. I don't know how people write 10k-word romances, honestly. There's so much that has to happen in the arc for it to be a believable happy-ever-after/happy-for-now ending that I would have a hard time putting it into a short story.

    I'm digressing...and maybe have found my next blog topic (*grin*). My point is that yes, I've written in other genres, but only differing lengths of work.

  2. I never thought I'd write erotic romance but here I am! Then I wrote a sweet romanctic short story. It just had to be told that way. When it comes to writing, I think we have to write what is urging to come out of her brain!

    Great post!

  3. I always start out thinking I'm sticking to historical fiction, but a few chapters in, I'll pause and say, "Wait...When did this become a thriller? And what's with the paranormal elements?"

    I've found that I like switching genres. It keeps things interesting.

  4. Funny you should bring this up. My short I published with TWRP was contemporary romance, but the one I just finished and hope to self-pub next month is YA through and through with elements of romance and suspense.

    I think rather than one muse, we have several who probably work a lot like Charlie's Angels. Depending on what job had to get done, we call on one muse or another. Perhaps we have a dominant muse, but occasionally she steps back to let the others play.

    The point is, we write whatever is in our heart and head at the time.

  5. Hey Elke...great post! I'd definitely want to try my hand at crime thrillers one day. I just don't have the time for the research involved right now. I love my books with elements of suspense already. I don't want to do erotica or historicals. Medicals I could get into and there are enough medical personnel in my family to either answer questions or tell me who to ask to get the answers. I'm scheduled for the Killer Nashville conference in August but have been thinking about cancelling since it will be so near my next projected release date. But DAMN I want to go to that...forensic doctors, medical examiners, criminal pshycologists...oooh it gives me chills just thinking about it! Yep...I'm definitely going to have to try writing some of that one day!