Welcome to my self-indulgent location for the stories (good and bad) that I can't prevent myself from writing. All comments and criticisms welcome. I post on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Eclectic (#atozchallenge)

First, on a slightly unrelated to the A-to-Z Challenge, Carol Riggs is hosting and critiquing the first 250 words of one of my WsIP, UNDERGROUND, a YA Dystopian novel. Head over to her blog to check it out, and feel free to critique it further. That's what it's there for. Trust me--I can take it :)


Welcome to today's post on the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. My challenge, as I have chosen to accept it, is thus: I have asked on my Facebook and Twitter accounts for people to contribute random words beginning with today's letter. From Random.org, I have selected one of these words, and will below challenge myself to connect said word to writing.

For the letter E, I received 42 suggestions. Random.org selected number 32: eclectic.

PS--My Mondays and Wednesdays have me running around without good internet access all day until 9pm EST (US). I'll get back to you, but it might be late tonight. 


[i'klektik] -- adjective: deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.

Is it okay to be eclectic as a writer? What I mean by this is: Are we limited to the genre in which we market our first work? Or can we branch out? Can a romance author pen a cozy mystery? Can an MG author for boys write YA for girls? Can a picture book author write an adventure series for adults?

And does that author HAVE to use a pen name to do it?

Don't get me wrong, I understand the need to focus on what we're good at. And, well, I'm not ready to walk away from my 16-23 year old girls and women quite yet (yup, that's my select audience). But, if I wanted to, how would the publishing world (assuming I could break into it) accept my wanting to try something different?

I'm not saying I'm going that route now. I'm just saying, shouldn't it be possible?

What do you think? Is an eclectic writer bad? Would you read a romance author's attempt at a thriller?

PS--Today I'm taking suggestions for I. Have some? Leave them below.


Jules said...

Oh yes, it should be possible! But beware, Patricia Cornwell tried that and she still hasn't made her way back. Another Jack the Ripper victim :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Christine Murray said...

I think that it's possible to cross over, as long as it's not being done cynically, as a way to cash in on a hot market that you have no liking for. As long as you respect your readers then I think it's perfectly possible.

As for the pen name, I don't think that's necessary. Everyone has different facets of themselves, why should writers be any different?

Hart Johnson said...

I almost think in this domain there is a curse of success--if you do well in a genre, then agent and publisher keep pushing you to do that, again and again... You know what's funny to me, though--there are authors like John Grisham or Ken Follett who were SUPER well known for a very specific genre (legal thrillers and spy novels) but I think in both cases, their first genre break was far better, even though I liked all the earlier books.

I'm going to try to dual it initially--yes, my contract is for a pen name, so that will be easy, but I have an idea for a sassy mystery series (like a cozy but sexier and rougher--yes, I made up the genre name), but i also think the family-based suspense that sometimes falls YA and sometimes adult will remain my most compelling stuff.

Carol Riggs said...

I love eclecticism! Especially with music tastes. Not sure it's so easy with writing, however. Not that publishers and agents want to cram authors into tight boxes, but it does make marketing and readership following a lot easier. If the genres and age groups a writer writes for are similar (like, say, fantasy or sci-fi and then veer to dystopian), then it's not so bad.

Hey, your post on my site is up now! :)
Artzicarol Ramblings: Rosie excerpt

TheyCallMeVarmit said...

I'd read an author;s attempt at a new genre. If the talent is there, it should be able to be done. Talent is talent.

Marjorie said...

I think a little versatility can be good for an author.

Margo Lerwill said...

I think writing in more than one genre under a pen name is a good idea (though I don't see any reason why a writer can't be open about what all her pen names are). The most compelling reason for using a pen name came from Seanan McGuire's blog (if I recall correctly) when she was talking about why she used Mira Grant to write FEED. People who loved her Toby Daye books would see her name on FEED and pick it up based on that alone, only to find out it's not what they thought it wasgoing to be based on their experience of her. Some might like the change, but some people get mad and feel tricked. By using the pen name and being open about it, she gave her readers fair warning. They could try the new genre if they wanted to, but they wouldn't be doing so accidentally. I have to admit, I would be disappointed if I picked up a Seanan McGuire book based on name alone and it was a hard sci-fi. I don't like hard sci-fi.

Ju Dimello said...

I would love to be eclectic ;) I think to some extent it is cultivated too...

Following you from A-Z challenge!

Claire Goverts said...

Nice post.

I think we should be able to write in different genre. It's good to stretch those writerly creative muscles by writing something different. It may be hard to sell, but who knows, maybe some readers like their favorite authors enough to follow them into different genre. (Depending on the intended audiences)

Anonymous said...

I love eclectic writers. I don't mind when authors cross genres.

iZombie said...

great gravy post... i wish i knew.

A to Z Blog Challenge Participant
Jeremy [iZombie]

Marie Rearden said...

If you find out, let me know. My ideas are all over the atmosphere.

It sounds kind of like actors. If they're well known for a certain type of character, they get jobs for that kind of character. Hmmm...

Great post!

Marie at the Cheetah

Lynda R Young said...

more often than not I think the publishers would prefer pen names if the writer wants to branch out because readers gain a genre expectation from writers they know.

nutschell said...

I think its possible to jump between genres, as long as you have some kind of pen name so your readers know what to expect from you.

Marsha A. Moore said...

I write both fantasy and romance combined. I'd get bored with just one genre.

Bz said...

I agree with most of the comments above, I'd rather know that the author is trying out something new, rather than expect a certain genre and be disappointed.

Nice to meet you through the A-Z Challenge! Hope to see you around! Great post, and a wonderful discussion! Thank you!

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