Wednesday, July 25, 2007

genres, genres everywhere!

The question of the ages... does a writer stick to one genre or can he or she hop from one to another? I know the arguments for both, but am still struggling. I just asked a question on a writer's forum about crossing genres and they said I should stick to one because it takes at least 5 books to create a readership, and readers like to know what they can expect from an author. While I agree that it's comforting to know that if you pick up a Stephen King book, you are going to get a certain kind of story, I also think it isn't right to put authors into these little boxes. If someone wants to stretch their writing muscles, they should be able to do it. I guess that's why people use pen names. It's a perfect solution, really... a writer can use different voices and write in different genres without alienating any readers.

So how does one go about choosing a pen name? Do you just think of something that seems right for the genre and then google it to make sure it's not too common, or taken by someone else? For instance, I had a nice idea for a pen name for the inspirational romances, but when I googled it, I found that it is the real name of a production coordinator for some fairly prominent television shows. She even has a page on imdb! Does that mean I shouldn't use it? When do you use your real name? Or do you ever use it? I'll admit I want to use my real name at some point. How many is too many? Obviously, I have some research to do. I'm not ready to give up on ideas just because they are not all the same genre. I have ideas with potential in far too many. These are just the ones I've started...

Juvenile Fantasy (series)
Inspirational Romance (series)
Chick Lit Mystery (series)
Young Adult Fiction (2-3 that will stand alone)
Children's Christian Fiction (series)


  1. Anonymous11:25 AM

    I use six names, at least, and I have some more tucked away.

    Some of them are on the site under "noms de plume"

    I play with names and sounds and associations until something feels right.

    I think it's b.s. that you can't move genres. Only narrow minds think that way. But the names protect you from those narrow minds.

  2. Thanks for the comment, and I totally agree with you. Writers shouldn't have to stick with one genre or one voice their entire career. You're right, it's the product of narrow minds.

    I've been to your site and looked at your names and I love how they are each so different!