Jun 3, 2022 • 43M

Yes You Can Write In More Than One Genre. Here's how: Episode 318 flips the shelves.

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Entertaining, actionable advice on craft, productivity and creativity for writers and journalists in all genres, with hosts Jessica Lahey, KJ Dell'Antonia and Sarina Bowen.

Oh yeah we’ve been there. Heck, we are there. Pigeonholed. Safe in our little bunker. Maybe just a tiny bit typecast. Jumping genres can be exciting, scary, nerve-wracking. But it can be done.

Everybody gravitates to one genre or another when we get started. Maybe nonfiction feels a little less threatening—or maybe it feels too hard and fiction is your starting place of choice. Maybe you’ve been writing rom-coms but are sure you have a thriller in you, or the other way around. Are you giving up everything you’ve learned, or everything you’ve gained if you’re published?

That would be no and maybe kinda but not necessarily in a bad way, in that order.

This week we’re tackling the question of genre-hopping, in part because Sarina’s going thriller, KJ’s tackling magical realism and Jess is drafting fiction, and in part because listener and thriller writer Aggie Thompson sent us this plaintive missive:

I am a thriller writer, published by Forge/Macmillan, and my debut -- I DON’T FORGIVE YOU -- came out summer 2021. My second book is coming out this July – ALL THE DIRTY SECRETS – and I am currently waiting to hear back from my editor regarding my proposal for my the third book. Which means I refresh my email more than a couple of times a day. And I am at my wits end as to what to do with myself.

I don’t want to work on book no. 3 in case the answer is no, or even a yes – but needs lots of work. So start something new, right? But what I am yearning to write is waaaaayy off genre. Something light and funny where no one gets killed. Maybe it’s coming out of the pandemic, or just some personal stuff I have dealt with over the past two years, but I long to write some comfort fiction.

My question – when is it “safe” to veer out of your genre? And if it is never safe, when is it wise? I’m not getting any younger! I feel like I have so many other books in me. But it took so long to get to where I am, I don’t want to blow the momentum I have started building up as a D.C.-domestic thriller writer either.

Anyway, any wisdom or insight would be greatly appreciated.

We talked why, when and how to play the genre-hopping game. We referenced our Seressia Glass episode (because it’s always ok to consider the market). And then we admitted that sometimes, it’s better to have a little piece on the side but mostly stick with your main squeeze. (This outdated reference, with its totally terrible relationship advice, brought to you by the voices in KJ’s head, who are apparently speaking from a bad noir film from the forties.)

In reading, Sarina also veered wildly off genre with Tell Me Everything (which makes total sense when you think about it).

KJ caused herself to question all her writing skills with the brilliantly interior literary page-turner Kaleidoscope.

And Jess soothed her soul with the new Christina Lauren: Something Wilder.

Sarina’s butt is way out of the chair this week as she travels with her oldest kid. KJ’s is locked in place wrestling with revision—and Jess is gardening and thinking, gardening and thinking. There are lots of ways to keep your head in the game!

COMING JULY 1: It’s the #AmWriting Blueprint for a Book Challenge! 10 episodes, 10 guests, 10 weeks to you being ready to write your best novel, memoir or non-fiction book this fall. There will be homework. There will be deadlines. Complete all 10 weeks, and you could win a critique of that Blueprint from KJ or Jennie Nash—but you’ll already be a winner, because you’ll have a plan that will put you way ahead of the game. Play for free—or reserve an Author Accelerator critique for your finished product to hold your feet to the fire and make sure you do the work and get bonus episodes and write-alongs. Want details? Ready to sign up? CLICK HERE.

PS: Along those lines, Author Accelerator has opened registration for the 2022 Manuscript Incubator, an intensive, 7 month coaching opportunity that offers one-one-one support and guidance for novelists and memoirists planning to have a submission-ready project by early 2023—and includes the opportunity to have that project reviewed by a group of agents and editors when it’s ready. For more information, head to authoraccelerator.com/manuscript-incubator.