Write Life Saturday: do you write in different genres?

Some of you may know that I’m a contemporary YA writer – I write about real circumstances and school and friendships and sometimes talking spiders (which is the only fantasy element in an otherwise contemporary novel, and I have no idea why I did it). But lately I’ve been wanting to branch out.


The first stories I wrote, when I was little, were fantasy. They had fairies in them, and wizards, and my first “novel” was called Daughter of Merlin (I don’t even want to look at that pile of rubbish anymore).

But then I hit some sort of turning point, and I started writing contemporary with my novel Hoping for Rain (which is also rubbish, so let’s not go there). After that it was Mutual Weirdness and The Language Barrier (working title) and Granny.

All of those are contemporaries.

But my most recent ideas are not. I want to write an Alice in Wonderland retelling, and an MG from the point of view of a villain. I want to write a sci-fi about a girl with depression who is assigned a clone of her former self to help combat her mental illness. I want to write about mermaids and fairytales and real situations and I want to write ALL the things.

This doesn’t seem to be very common in the writing world. There are authors like John Green, who write only contemporary, and writers like Cassandra Clare who write speculative fiction. There aren’t many authors I can think of who dabble in all different genres. Well, I know of one fairly large one: J K Rowling.

hp 1the casual vacencythe cuckoo's calling

But people have actually criticised her for going into different genres. It seems like as an author, people need a specific brand, something that makes them identifiable. But I don’t want to limit myself to contemporary YA when I haven’t even explored the possibility of being better at some other genre.

There are so many opportunities out there to write about different things. I love writing contemporary, and I’m sure that will always be my dominant genre, but I also love READING other genres, so it stands to reason that I’d like writing them as well. I don’t even know if I’ll stick to writing YA – which isn’t a genre, it’s a category, but still, that might change! I don’t want to be defined like J K Rowling has been defined as a “children’s writer.” Really, she’s just a writer, and she should have the freedom to write about whatever she wants.

In some ways, I’m glad I’m not published or agented or any of that, because it gives me the opportunity to write whatever I want, whenever I want, and however I want. I guess I should cherish that freedom while I’ve got it, right?

Do you write in different genres? Why or why not?


17 thoughts on “Write Life Saturday: do you write in different genres?

  1. Oh gosh, if it’s a YA genre, I plan to try it. I’ve dabbled in sci-fi, epic fantasy, paranormal, contemporary, and apocalyptic. I think it helps you find what you like best if you try lots of things. I totally don’t think authors should stick to just ONE genre. I would never have known I looooved writing sci-fi if I didn’t branch out and try it. I know Natalie Whipple, Lauren Oliver and Dan Wells all write in multiple genres as well. Dan Wells is pretty successful for his contemporaries AND dystopians, too!
    Oh and seriously, the book about clones and depressions? Can I just say THAT SOUNDS FREAKING AWESOME. I would pick that up off a shelf in a second. *hint hint* You should totally write it…and then let me read it. *puppy dog eyes*

    • I can tell from the sound of all your different projects! So diverse 🙂 as for those authors who write in different genres, for some reason they seem to be the exception rather than the rule. It’s weird, isn’t it?

      Haha, I have received your hints and I’m now more excited about this story than I was before! I’ve never written sci-fi and I’d love to try it! Thanks, Cait 🙂

  2. >>I want to write a sci-fi about a girl with depression who is assigned a clone of her former self to help combat her mental illness.<<

    OH MY GOODNESS I would read this in a heartbeat. PLEASE write it.

  3. I write in ALL the genres. I’m more of a fantasy person but I’ve dabbled in all the sub genres and a bit of contemporary. I’ve also dabbled in a few different age groups. I’d say write what you want to write and you’ll grow no matter what. If a book is good, people will read it, regardless of authorship. And you should write whatever you’re passionate about at the moment. Suzanne Collins wrote a MG Fantasy before writing the Hunger Games, a YA dystopian so there you go.

    – Aimee H.

    PS: I started writing a fantasy novel in my early years called ‘Eye of the Dragon’. Talk about something I never want to look at again *gags*

    • That’s like I’m more a contemporary person but have dabbled a bit here and there. Basically if I have a great idea it doesn’t matter to me which genre it is – just that I’ve read more widely in some genres than others, so I’d be better at those. But since I’ve got more into blogging, I’m reading a much bigger variety of books, which is always good for writing. Haha, I know what you mean about early year books – although they’re fun to look back on if you put them away verrrry quickly!

  4. My goodness. How amazing all your ideas sound! And – please – write what you want. Don’t worry about branding. Lots of authors write in piles of different genres, sometimes under different names (examples include the Irish writer John Banville who also writes under the pen name Benjamin Black, and Stephen King’s alter-ego Richard Bachman). I’m with all your other commenters re. the ‘clone-mental illness’ idea sounding all kinds of awesome – write that! And then write whatever you want, and carry on doing that for the rest of your life. I think you’ll do great. 🙂

    • I mean they might be good as ideas, but once they get down on paper (well, a word document) – BAM, they suck. Until I make them pretty, that is. Pseudonyms are definitely a popular way to go with different genres, since I guess they’re different audiences. I will definitely write what I want to write, because if I’m passionate about it, maybe others will be too! I can only hope 😛

  5. This is an interesting post! I think it’s good to explore different genres because you never know, you might find something out there you like but never realized until you wrote it. Or read it, for that matter. I only became interested in other genres when I started reading about them. But that’s something I’ve never really thought much about until I saw this post.

    My first few novels were urban fantasy, then high fantasy, one paranormal (which was about vampires; I shall never speak of this novel AGAIN) followed by a couple of dystopia/sci fi ones (my The Hunger Games stage lol), before I reverted back to the urban fantasy and high fantasy genre for awhile. I’ve only written one contemporary (my NaNo 2012) which, oddly enough, is my best work in my opinion. I never thought I would even be able to write a chapter of that genre, let alone a whole book. I think, ultimately, the high fantasy genre is my favourite one to write and is where my passion lies…but this year I also plan to do some more dabbling in contemporary.

    In essence, though: it doesn’t really matter what you write if you’re enjoying it. But I think writing other genres can be beneficial to a writer. (:

    • I think it’s really fun to experiment because you never know what you’ll be good at writing. I’m REALLY excited for my next few ideas – it will be nice to have a break from contemporary. After all, most of the books from my childhood are fantasy, and it’s the first genre I fell in love with. High fantasy is a great genre to read, and even within fantasy there are so many different options! And mashing genres together is fun as well 🙂

  6. Pingback: What Happened This Week: Stacking the Shelves (3) and Rainbow Books | The Loony Teen Writer

  7. That gif is the coolest thing ever, it’s official. I could watch it for hours which of course would be an excellent use of my time. I find that an truly amazing author can not only master one genre but many. That’s why I think J.K. Rowling is such an amazing author, people who are dissing her need to chill haha.

    Personally I try to write in a bunch of different genres. If I stick with one I find all of my writing starts to be formulaic and sounds the same. Writing in different genres tends to be refreshing for me and turns up some interesting work.

    Loved this post Emily <33

    • There’s SO MUCH DETAIL in it I just aslkasdlkmdf. So cool. You make a good point about good authors being able to go beyond a single genre. And I really loved The Casual Vacancy no matter what people say.

      That’s starting to happen to me with contemporary. Which is why I want my next project to be fantasy or sci-fi…or something. More of a plot!

      Thanks so much 🙂

  8. “There are so many opportunities out there to write about different things.” Exactly. I think it’s beneficial for writers to be roaming in their genres. I started off with YA contemp. mystery, but I now seem to write more sf/f. Naturally, now I’m at uni, the plot ideas that clamber into my head are NA contempories. In between, however, as well as the various short stories, the MSs I wrote were a YA historical mystery and a romance where the MC was 30 and her love interest was 36.
    Also: I guess it’s not that weird that I’m also considering a Alice in Wonderland/Looking Glass Fantasy retelling – Lewis Carroll is one of my favourite authors, and his writing is so incredible.
    More also: that first gif is beautiful. *grabby hands*

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