Over the last fifteen or so years, I’ve had my writing published in various forms: editorials, poems, book reviews and feature articles. As my desires and ideas changed, so did my writing. I researched how to write in each new form, then gave it a try and eventually got pieces published. Then one day I got it into my head that I wanted to write a novel, and figured I had nothing to lose. So I did it.
The idea for the book (humorous women’s fiction) had been rolling around in my head for years. One November, I finally bit the bullet and participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It was great fun, and I surprised myself with my commitment to writing over 1,600 words every day. Then I put the book in a drawer and didn’t think about it for a while.
Fast forward three years. I had an idea for a historical novel that would not leave me alone. So I did more research, both on novel writing and for the book itself. Then I wrote it. Two years later, I began sending out query letters in search of a literary agent.
But the truth is, I haven’t given up on my first novel. As I wait patiently while the slow wheels of publishing turn, I have gone back to that first manuscript. I’m working on it again, putting all I’ve learned about novel writing in the interim into an updated draft. Friends ask me, “How will you sell this if it’s so different from your other book?” and “Are authors allowed to write in different genres?”
I had the same reservations when I started the historical novel. But historical fiction and humor are my two favorite genres to read. I’d written across genres long before I started writing fiction. Why should I let the new format stop me?
Publishing has changed a great deal in just the last ten years. Just as no one should ever start writing a book so they can become rich or famous, if you have stories from different genres that you need to tell, you shouldn’t let the question of marketability stop you.
How have you stretched muscles in your writing life?