Thursday, October 7, 2010

What's your major?

The other night JRM asked me who I wanted to be when I grew up as a novelist (i.e., when IT happened). And I couldn't answer. I mean, I've written almost four books now, and while they're all YA, the subject matter in some is very different from others. And I really like them all...

Then I got to thinking, J.J. Abrams gave us Felicity and then Alias and then L O S T ... all very different from target audience to subject matter. And while you'll get different things from his shows, I bet you can tell they're all his joints.

Although, I suppose you could argue that once L O S T became the huge hit that it did, he hasn't done much differently. (See: Star Trek, Fringe, Cloverfield.)

So I got to thinking. Is it possible as a novelist to just write the stories you love? Or do they have to be all the same genre?

In my case:

  • Debut Novel, which I still hope eventually sees the light of day, is a YA romance-slash-mystery. (And the first in a series.)
  • Brand New Novel is more of an edgy YA romcom.
  • WIP1 is more of a coming of age YA. (First chapter's up on The Writing Show--woo!)
  • WIP2 is YA romance-slash-SciFi.
  • WIP3 is YA (light) historical romance.

I think I have a very distinct storytelling style, and at least they're all YA with romance... Just tell me now. Is this BAD?

What about my bleeps. What's your major? Do you stick to one genre when writing?

I suppose like most entertainers, once I figure out what the public wants from me, I'll probably just keep giving it to them over and over and over 'til I drop.

Unless I become a Grisham or a King and then I can write whatever the heck I want because I'm living on my own private island in the South Pacific...  (*a'hem,* what? Sorry, I dozed.)

In other news, I do apologize for being so slow making the bl'rounds these days. I'm at 45K words on WIP3--SQUEE! The end is in sight, and I'm feelin it!

In other other news, doing my interview today with Paula B. at The Writing Show. I'm hoping not to sound like a complete scatterbrain and will let you know when it's available for your listening enjoyment (and/or nonstop teasing fun!).

Until Monday, Love~ <3


Karen Jones Gowen said...

I've asked myself this question. My first book was a sort of memoir, second sort of autobiographical novel, third *um* sort of memoir/novel? The one I want to do next will be speculative fiction. Am I still finding my voice? Or just writing whatever the heck I feel like writing. Yep, I think that's it.

Natasha said...

I think the important thing is to write what you would want to read. You live with a book for such a long time, unless you love reading it, you are going to get fed up of it pretty soon.

About crossing genres, it depends on your level of fame- if you are a John Grisham, you can do anything you want as long as you label the book appropriately. If you are published, but not too many people have heard of you, you do not carry any baggage, and can do pretty much anything. It is the inbetween that would need to worry.

All the best for the interview.

Carolyn Abiad said...

Very good question...It seems once we're pigeon-holed into a genre/style, we'll have a hard time getting out. Publishers will want more of the same and we won't have the liberty to try new hats, unless we're uberfamous. So be a little promiscuous with the hats now ;)

Good luck with the show!

LTM said...

@KG: I think that's it--and it's so fun and self-indulgent to write whatever you want, yes? :o)

@Rayna: So true about writing what you love to read and also about freedom as a writer. Although, I wonder if Stephenie Meyer can write non-vamp books yet...? And hit those numbers, I mean.

@Carolyn: Thanks! And that's what I'm doing it seems... So far nothing's stuck yet as THE ONE. I wonder if anything will. :o)

Unknown said...

I don't write the same thing. I'm going to write a YA for NaNo and normally, I write mysteries. I don't think writers should be narrowed down to a genre.


Dr. Mohamed said...

Write what moves within you, write from your passions and fears, write with raw honesty.

RaShelle Workman said...

Leigh, my first novel is adult. All the others are YA or MG. I'm a crazy misfit. I belong on the island of misfits. I figure until I become famous (it could happen =D) or my fans say they want more of one thing. I'm gonna pull what comes from inside, out of me.


Stina said...

My first book was YA fantasy. The next one was YA urban fantasy. The book I'm now querying is YA romantic suspense, as are the next two I'm writing. But I do have another YA urban fantasy planned for sometime in the future.

Yep, I hop around YA, but I see nothing wrong with that. :D

LTM said...

@Clarissa: A YA mystery would be supercool! Unless, of course, you wanted to do a dystopian. ;p

@MM: I agree, and that's a beautiful way to state it. Thanks! :o)

@RaShelle: You are very fit... uh... that doesn't read right. I think I'm with you--what's inside, in the heart. And yes, then whatever the fans want. We are after all entertainers, yes? ;o) <3

@Stina: I see a connection btw fantasy & suspense. Maybe... I tend to agree that if it hangs around the YA vein and you have a distinct style, it should keep your audience. But that's just my opinion! :o)

Morgan said...

I think it's perfectly fine to write many different things if you keep one thing consistent, whether it's genre, voice, setting, whatever. If your consistency is storytelling style, that's great! Look at Neil Gaiman. He's written short stories, poetry, young adult, children's books, graphic novels and adult sci-fi/fantasy. Whoa. But it's all in his voice with his own quirky style.

Write what you're drawn to write. If you're keeping style and even keeping everything in YA, you're totally fine.

Congrats on the WIP3 progress!

Unknown said...

Way to go on your WIP!!!!! That's fantastic!!!

I'm a dreamer, I like to write what I feel sometimes that's adult and scary, sometimes that's magical and young adult!

LTM said...

@Morgan: Great example! And I think I'm doing that... I mean, IMO, my writing style's pretty consistent. Craft is improving, thankfully, but style is the same. :D Thanks~

@Jen: Shew! I'm at the pushing stage... Of course, I pushed for 12 hrs w/CGM, so here's hoping it doesn't go like real birthing... :D

You + me = same approach~ :o) <3

Melissa said...

So far I only have written in fantasy but I think I can branch out.

Julie Musil said...

I'm still sort of finding my way and trying new things. I'm writing nonfiction books and articles for children, I've written a middle grade novel, and I'm currently writing a YA. I'm having fun just trying stuff and seeing what like the most. Problem is, I like it ALL!

DEZMOND said...

I've never read YA, I must admit, but I love that your work has elements of sf and history too :) Those are my favourite genres :)