So you have a great idea for a story.
Now choose your genre.
Are you a one-genre reader, or writer? Ever thought about widening your tastes? The sage advice is to read extensively in your chosen genre – advice that should not be ignored, but that doesn’t prevent you from reading in more than one genre, or trying out something new.
What if your idea is not genre-specific?
Certainly some ideas will be, particularly if they are built around plot necessities such as advanced technologies (SF) or a historical setting.
But if your idea is character driven, as the most compelling stories tend to be, then have you ever considered setting it in a different genre, or even mixing genres?
If you are looking for sales, you may want to take a few moments to study figures – romance and erotica are clearly the best sellers.
On the flipside, if you are not driven by the need to sell huge numbers, with the advent of indie publishing it is no longer necessary to write within the strict boundaries of what a publisher will buy, which in turn has been dictated by the strict categorisation of the shelves in the book stores.
We can now write ANYTHING WE PLEASE!
Of course that doesn’t mean it will necessarily sell, but hey, if you want to write about werewolves in space, or a regency romance murder mystery – that’s up to you.
Some years ago I came up with an idea for a spy story in an SF setting. Until then I’d only written SF, and this was a way I could marry up two genres I love.
Then came news through my writer’s group of a venture offering to publish short novels, around the 30K word length, but they weren’t looking for SF; they were after, amongst other things, fantasy novels.
Being back in the days when finding a publisher was the only legitimate route into print, and these people were actively seeking authors, I spun my idea round and set it in a fantasy world, with magic instead of technology, but still the same basic story and characters. And hey, it made a fine fantasy; pity the company folded just as I finished it.
That novel, KISHTAN’S GEM, is the prequel to my very-soon-to-be-released (yay!) debut, THE PRINCE’S MAN. I’d done a hunk of world building and I wasn’t about to waste it. I now have several others mapped out in that world, and Kishtan’s Gem will see the light of day (on a kindle, at least!) at some not too distant time.
My point is, a great story with strong characters can often be translated into different settings, and allow writers to maybe try out a new genre, as I did.
And who knows? Like me, you may find you really like it.
So how about you, scriveners? Any genre jumpers out there? Or genre mixers?
Excuse me while I go write some werewolves in space…