Monday, 8 October 2012

Changing Tack

So... everyone have a great weekend? I did. I celebrated my 32nd birthday yesterday with a bumper crop of books as presents, and hopefully should get a few more when I go down to my parents' on Thursday. I sound really spoilt, don't I? Well, books are all I'm getting. I didn't ask for anything else!

Birthdays are a time for reflection, and as I work on edits for my second novel, I keep thinking that I meant to have a book published by 30 (having started my first one at 26). That now seems incredibly naive, but I do feel a lot closer since spending the last year blogging and soaking up the advice, camaraderie and support of my peers.

On a related note, one big advantage I've found from this community is I now feel much more broadminded as to my reading tastes. I've enjoyed reading chicklit from one of my best friends in the blogosphere (you know who you are!) whereas previously I would have dismissed it as insignificant fluff. It's not; it's about relationships and emotions, which every writer needs to deal with.

And I've become much more open to YA. I wasn't completely unfamiliar with the genre, having read authors like Rick Riordan to my teenage stepson, and I've read Terry Pratchett's novels for younger readers. Generally, though, it wasn't something I'd ordinarily choose to pick up and read for myself.

However, among the titles I asked my mum for for my birthday were Veronica Roth's Divergent and Lisa Shafer's Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire. (I've yet to see if my wishes come true!) Both are YA books that I've seen being raved about, but I don't think I would have considered them without this community.

Lately I've even been having ideas that have a distinctly YA flavour. I think I've homed in on one of these for my debut attempt at NaNoWriMo. It'll be something really different for me, and I find that very exciting. I hope this won't be seen as bandwagoning; it is merely me opening my mind to other possibilities and ideas. Which is pretty much thanks to you lot out there! We need to keep ourselves fresh as writers, and crossing genres seems a good way of doing so.

So, the question I want to ask is: do you switch genres? How many different things have you tried? Have you found this is necessary to find the one you enjoy the most, or have you stayed on one track all along?

Don't forget to come back on Thursday when there will be a giveaway and more soppy praising of the blogosphere! :)

38 comments:

Louise Bates said...

I never thought I'd write anything but YA/MG fantasy, but in the last few years I've had a lot of fun delving into other genres. Now I'll write just about anything that strikes my fancy, and figure out its genre later.

Happy Birthday!!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Happy birthday!
And I appreciate one book you read and reviewed lately.
Yes, since I've started picking up books by my blogger buddies, I've read a greater variety than the usual four genres I like to read.
And that book is closer than you think - just keep editing and pushing forward.

Shell Flower said...

Happy Birthday. You are so young! Divergent is really good. I hope you'll do some reviews as you finish those birthday books. YA is a great genre for NaNoWriMo. I am definitely a genre-switcher, but I do seem to gravitate towards YA. Maybe because I always read adult books as a teen?

Michelle Pickett said...

First, Happy Birthday! I hope it's a great one. :)

I hope your birthday wish comes true and you get Divergent--it's really a great book. I enjoyed it a lot.

I do switch genres. I write Adult and YA urban fantasy, sci-fi romances. I'm also trying my hand at a middle grade MS, but so far that's been the hardest for me.

I love NANOWRIMO! This is my second year. I'm also writing a YA novel. My screen name is Michellekp - look for me and we can be writing buddies. :)

Michelle
www.michelle-pickett.com

Stephen Tremp said...

Happy Birthday Nick! ANd I switch genre often. Reading and re-reading the Harry Potter series these past 12 months reintroduced me to YA and fantasy after a long hiatus.

L.G.Smith said...

Happy belated birthday.

I do think people should explore various genres to see what fits best. I started out writing crime/mystery stuff, then literary, then YA/MG, and now speculative fiction/fantasy. I read across all genres so I never really was drawn to one more than another, but I find my voice is better at the adult stuff, and I like adventure, so I'm pretty comfortable where I am now.

Kyra Lennon said...

*high fives* Chick lit can be insignificant fluff, but it's good that you've discovered it isn't ALL like that ;)

I may have signed up to NaNo too, though I haven't entirely decided if I'm up for it yet lol. I wish you the best of luck with it, though!

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Hi, Nick, belated happy birthday. I'm at a wi-fi cafe, so don't get to check the Internet every day.
I think your idea of books for presents is right on. Books last forever. Almost anything else you get is temporary.

I've switched genres at times. I started out writing short stories and poetry for adults, but years of teaching in the middle grades made completely different stories come to mind, and now I'm primarily writing for children. Although, I haven't completely abandoned writing for adults. I think experimenting in different genres keeps your writing fresh. And I'm seeing more and more well-published writers launching into more than one genre. So you are following a good tradition.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Happy Belated Birthday! :)

I thought I was working on a YA Horror but then I was told (by professionals) that it really could be general Horror, so I don't know. I'm writing the story that wants to be told and then I'll go from there and figure it out. Fingers crossed! :)

J.L. Campbell said...

Enjoy the birthday celebrations and your new adventures. As to writing, I write romance/suspense, women's fiction, family drama, action/adventure and young adult books. Variety is the spice of life. Enjoy NaNo. I love the madness, but will resist this year.

Suze said...

Happy belated, Nick!

I hope you're able to accomplish all of your aims with NaNo.

Suzanne Furness said...

Happy birthday, Nick. I have just finished reading 'Divergent' and have started 'Insurgent' - I'm sure you will enjoy.

I have found my reading tastes have expanded too recently.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Happy birthday!

The book I'm working on now will be my seventh and my third genre.

Tobi Summers said...

So far I've managed to mostly stay in the fantasy genre, but I've thought up and started books for all ages, ranging from the adult book I'm querying now to the MG series I'm hoping to write soon. I have an idea for a contemporary YA, but I'm not sure if I'll get around to writing it.

Good luck with NaNo!

Botanist said...

Happy birthday (second blogger in a row I've wished that today).

My main genre is sci-fi, but for reading I branch out into fantasy, I love Terry Pratchett, and I have dipped into action/thrillers. It's good to read beyond your genre. Surprising how often you can pick up ideas to bring back with you.

Linda Jackson said...

Happy birthday, Nick. I normally write MG, but if something else comes to me, I'll give it a try.

Angela Brown said...

Happy belated Birthday. Hope all you book wishes come true.

For myself, I write what comes to me. I'm self-publishing my YA paranormal right now. I have a YA dystopian that I may or may not get to do anything with if I can get some interest and I have a sekret project that is for a slightly different genre.

I try not to make myself write what seems fitting, but rather, write what fits me.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Happy Birthday!
I've definitely skipped around a bit in my writing from scfi to fantasy to historical fiction to an attempted romance (short story). YA seems to be where most of my writing has landed, although that wasn't intentional, and I do have some "adult" fiction . . .not adult in the way that most people mean, but just "regular" as in not YA or MG . . . ok, too much explanation for a simple idea. :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Happy Birthday!
I've definitely skipped around a bit in my writing from scfi to fantasy to historical fiction to an attempted romance (short story). YA seems to be where most of my writing has landed, although that wasn't intentional, and I do have some "adult" fiction . . .not adult in the way that most people mean, but just "regular" as in not YA or MG . . . ok, too much explanation for a simple idea. :)

Nicole said...

What an awesome mix of birthday presents! Hope you enjoy your day. :)

Chuck said...

Happy 32, Nick. Glad you got what you wanted and maybe more to come!

Peggy Eddleman said...

I haven't switched genres, but I'm not against it! I just really think I already found my niche. I'd love to experiment just for fun, though!

Morgan said...

Happy Birthday!!!!

NaNa rocks. You must keep us updated! :-D

Medeia Sharif said...

Happy belated birthday.

My favorite genre is YA contemporary, but I read other things and occasionally I write outside of it.

Nick Wilford said...

Louise - Thanks! That's how I work too - idea first, genre after. I never thought I'd write thrillers, but now I've done two!

Alex - Thanks! No problem. Nice to read some SF which I've not done for a while.

Shell - Thanks. I'll try to do some reviews - I've mainly kept them to Goodreads so far, but it would be nice to do some on the blog. Maybe YA is popular for NaNo because they tend to be shorter, so you can write the whole book in the 50k!

Michelle - Thanks! It was fun. I definitely want to stretch and try more genres. I'll look out for you in Nov!

Stephen - Thanks. It's great when our reading has an influence on what we write.

L.G. - Thanks. I'm glad you worked out what you like to do best. That's an impressive track record of genres!

Kyra - I hope you can do it - I'd be up for word wars! It does seem daunting, but I'm hoping I can throw myself in. :)

Elizabeth - Thanks! Yeah, books make brilliant presents. Not sure if I could write for really young kids, but you don't know til you try. Also, self-publishing makes it easier to switch genres, I imagine.

Madeline - Thanks. Yep, that's the way. Story first!

Joy - Thanks. Variety keeps things fun.

Suze - Thanks! Hopefully I won't end up stressed to the eyeballs. ;)

Suzanne - Thanks. I've heard great things about them. Blogging's good for broadening your horizons, isn't it?

L. - Thanks. Wow, you've done a lot!

Nick Wilford said...

Tobi - It's good to try out different things, even if they aren't finished, you've given it a go. Good luck with your querying!

Botanist - Thanks! Great points about lessons from reading that can be applied in any genre.

Linda - Thanks. I've had ideas for SF stuff, which I hope to work on soon.

Angela - Thanks. Exactly, I think if you write deliberately to a genre it might seem forced and even cliche. You have to go with the story that feels right.

Tyrean - Thanks. Lol. I know what you mean!

Nicole - Thanks! It was very nice and relaxed, esp as it was a Sunday!

Chuck - Thanks!

Peggy - It's great you've found your niche. But yeah, experimenting is fun!

Morgan - Thanks. Lol, I just hope I have time to keep you updated!

Medeia - Thanks! It's great to read widely. I wouldn't say I have a fave genre - just whatever sounds good at the time!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Belated Happy Birthday, Nick. Hope your mother will give you a copy of Divergent (you mentioned it on my blog). Though I write MG, I wouldn't mind trying a YA in the future.

Emily R. King said...

You're going to love Divergent! Happy birthday Nick, and happy reading!

ilima said...

Happy Birthday! I've written almost every genre, all with a YA voice. I think I've found my comfort zone in sci-fi, though.

C.B. Wentworth said...

Every writer I know has toyed with genre. :-) My first novel was more literary mainstream, but for my second I went in the complete opposite direction with YA urban fantasy, (which I have to say is where I found my groove). It seems the more we experiment, the more we channel our inner muse. :-)

michelle said...

Happy Belated Birthday, Nick!
Mystery/suspense/thriller has always been my favourite genre. Switching genres? I've never really thought about it...
Good luck with NaNoWriMo!

Lisa Regan said...

Happy birthday! I only switched genres once really. I took a stab at literary fiction before I fell into the suspense/thriller genre and it was pretty bad. I have no desire to change at this point because I love writing where I am although many people do. I know a lot of authors who write for adults are taking a chance at YA--the YA audience seems so big now. Good luck with it!

Lisa Shafer said...

Thanks so much for the shout out! A fair portion of the action in Confessions and about 2/3 of the action in the sequel, All in the Half-Vampire Family, takes place in Scotland.
(And I think you may be in luck, as I noticed a UK edition of Confessions was purchased a couple of weeks ago.....)

Angela Cothran said...

I think it is fun to experiment with different genres. I know there are some I wouldn't be good at like sci-fi. But I love to read everything :)

Happy Birthday! 32 is the new 30. So you are good.

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

First-Happy birthday!! Second - no not really changed genres but I do enjoy mixing it up a bit. My stories ted to be thriller/action type anyway but I mainly write supernatural thrillers with a twist of historical, romance, whodunit, and whatever else may seem relevant! Look forward to following yu and seeing how you do on nanowrimo!

The Golden Eagle said...

Happy Belated Birthday! :)

I think I've read at least one book in most genres and age groups. Exploring different kinds of books led me to Science Fiction, which is the main genre I write in--I don't think I would have written it otherwise.

Kelley Lynn said...

Happy Birthday!!!

I've written mostly YA, many genre. Contemporary, Science Fiction, Thriller and Fantasy. I also wrote one one adult thriller (by accident. haha) Good for you for going with your gut. We have to write what's in our hearts or it won't be our best work.

Good luck!

Nick Wilford said...

Rachna - Thanks, I hope so too!

Emily - Thanks. I've heard nothing but positives about it!

Ilima - Thanks. SF is a great genre, I really want to try it.

C.B. - Yeah, you really have to experiment and try stuff to find out what works best for you.

Michelle - Thanks! It's thrillers I've written so far, but I never had a big plan to do that. I'm looking forward to trying other stuff, NaNo will be a great motivator!

Lisa - Thanks. Literary fiction is tricky to do well, I hear. Kudos for trying it!

Lisa - I know you love Scotland from your blog header - I'm looking forward to reading those sections!

Angela - Thanks! You don't know you wouldn't be good at sci fi, though it's probably one where you have to really love the genre - I know not all do.

Pat - Thanks. Books with a bit of different things in them can be a lot of fun! I'd better get down to some planning for NaNo after my holiday - get those swirling thoughts out of my head and onto paper.

Golden - It's good that wide reading led you to your love of SF. It's important to read as widely as possible because every genre has something to offer. Thanks!

Kelley - Thanks. Yeah, I have to remember that YA is really an age group that encompasses many different genres. That's cool because you can keep a similar voice but explore lots of different things. I think mine is going to be a kind of dystopian, fantasy vibe.