Friday, April 1, 2011

What Genre of Writing Do You Wish You Could Write?

A good writer should be able to write anything, right? I mean, if you have the chops to write a good horror story, why couldn't you write a good thriller or mystery, or a romance even. Lord knows a lot of romances could be classified as horror stories. :) And yet, we don't have many writers who cross all genres successfully. Not to say we don't have some. Nora Roberts excelled at romance and women's fiction and then moved into thriller territory writing as J.D. Robb and becoming just as big a writer there. You have quite a lot of romance writers branching into closely related genres like romantic suspense or women's fiction. And, of course, just about everyone is trying their hand at a YA these days. But cross genre writing is not that common a practice even though I'm sure many of us have a secret passion for writing a genre we love to read yet can't for the life of us nail down.

I wish I was one of those writers who could write every kind of genre and write it well. I mean, my reading is eclectic and I go from YA to romance to thriller to literary fiction depending on my mood. I used to love reading horror but less so these days. So why can't I write in all of those styles? I know my strength is YA and romance, maybe one day branching into women's fiction though that's a tough nut to crack. But the one genre I love and wish I could tackle and come out triumphant is historical romance. I love this genre. When it's written well it has everything I need: great heroes and heroines, rich, evocative settings, intrigue, chivalry, dastardly villains, a foray into a past time that makes me forget the stresses of today. I'm not a big fantasy reader but the world setting done in historical is just as important as a fantasy world and, I think, even harder to accomplish because there will always be a reader out there ready to pounce on you if you've gotten something wrong. I was so in love with historical fiction that it became my first attempt at writing a book. Specifically a middle grade story set in medieval England. I called it Castle Walls and it sucked. Well, I could see glimmers of my future writing voice in there but it definitely wasn't a historical voice. My 14th century heroine sounded suspiciously like a 21st century teen. But it was so much fun finding out about the peasant revolt and describing castles and moats and things like that. However, it wasn't meant to be. Probably a good thing :)

So, come on, fess up. Are there any genres that you have a secret hankering to write? And do you think you will one day?


  1. Middle grade mysteries, the ones with great twists and turns. I always loved mysteries as a kid and there really are not a lot out there at this time.

    I settle for any great Middle Grade book though. :)

  2. Ohhh, so true. I'm a huge fantasy fan, but it's really too complex for me to write. I'm great at setting, but all the world building details, magic rules, monsters... it's too much organization for me! I'm so glad to hear other writers fess up about this!

  3. Hi Liz: Oh, those are great reads - and really hard to do! Good luck on writing yours!

    Hi Anne: You're right. Fantasy is one of the trickiest genres to nail. So many things, places, people (or whatever beings inhabit the fantasy place) to remember!

  4. Historical fiction, especially stuff from the Victorian or Elizabethan era. I enjoy reading it so much, but I hesitate to try it myself: I'm terrified I'll get obvious details wrong, especially in speech. I really admire all the research that goes into writing it, the way it makes history even more fascinating than it already is.

  5. Hi Mary: I'm with you. There's so much to think about when writing historical - those authors are amazing.