Friday, September 11, 2009

Different Flavors

I read many many different genres of books, but I only write in one.

I love to read biographies, autobiographies, histories, humor, thrillers...the list goes on and on. For the past three years I have had a fascination with the first years of WWII - which has lead to the creation of my books. I started reading about English history (mainly the Tudors) back when I was in Grade 5. Cathedral architecture is another of my subjects - and I have spent many many hours in England's magnificent structures. You can feel the history seeping out of the stones.

But I don't write histories. Or chick lit. I write mysteries. These are the plots that come easiest to me and this has been the case for years. They come so easily that I never paid much attention to being able to do it. I wrote many 'murder nights' for various theatre companies and never gave it a second thought. After all, it was easy. It was only about 5 years ago that someone came up to me and said "You could make money doing this. Not everyone can write these things", which led to my murder mystery games (which now number 12 games and 2 scripts).

I'd like to try my hand at other genres. I've written two plays and I'd like to write more as I found the freedom of only having to write dialogue rather a relief. I can write fairly decent comedy - and comedic moments have found their way into everything I've written so far.

But I'll stick to mysteries for now - both the games and the WWII era books. Why do we gravitate to one genre? Is it our own personal history? Is it personal likes/dislikes? Or are there talented people who can write in many genres and leap nimbly between them?

It's a mystery to me....


  1. I admire writers who can do different genres, or at least different types of stories within the same broad category Action/Adventure for example. Michael Crichton and Ken Follett come to mind as an example of the latter.

    Best Regards, Galen
    Imagineering Fiction Blog

  2. I write in several different genres--book reviews, magazine features, short stories, an endlessly evolving novel--and I read even more variously. Omnivorously? I think I have a peripatetic brain, which has its pluses and minuses when it comes to finishing long projects. But I definitely admire a writer and reader with broad interests. The love of nonfictional detail seems particularly appropriate for mystery writing, yes?

    Anyway, I'm glad I found your blog. I've added you to the blogroll of Talking Writing ( you could do the same for us? All the best!

  3. Thank you Martha, and I'll be happy to return the favor. I love the idea of reading omnivorously. It's perfect.

  4. My mother was a mystery buff, she read tons of mystery books over the years. She watched true crime shows, Perry Mason, and the later Court TV, anything to do with murder, cops, and the courtroom, you get the picture. Her favorite board game was Clue, of course!

  5. Elizabeth; I rule at Clue! In fact one of my mystery games is "Clue inspired". Players have to solve the Who. Why and Where. Not the What.

  6. I LOVE chick lit but unfortunately, it's just not selling anymore. So I've been trying to do more of a hybrid. The humor and female friendships of chick lit worked into romance somehow. Or women's fiction, with the humor and fun in it. But I wish Chick Lit had stuck around.

  7. Funny, I don't really enjoy reading chick lit as much as I do writing it. And even the chick lit I write has more of an oomph than most of what I read. Most of what I've read in the last year has been more to make sure that I'm marketing my own book in the right genre.

    I don't know that I gravitate toward one genre in terms of reading, but I know that most of my favorite authors are male, and I tend to be a creature of habit and stick w/ the same author once I find one I like.

    Stephanie, chick lit seems to be a bad word these days (even my kindle sales pale in comparison to a good friend of mine, who wrote two very commercial thrillers). I think the market got oversaturated. The new genre is women's fiction, and I'm not even sure how well that's selling.

    Write something smart, and the audience finds you. At least that's what I tell myself. And smart can also be commercial.

  8. I don't necessarily read the genre I'm writing. I know it's some great rule that you should read what you plan to write, but to me that seems wrong. If you read too much, you could just end up sounding like everyone else. Reading a genre to find out how to write it...not sure it's a good idea.

    Hmmm...future blog post!

  9. Just wanted to introduce myself (hello, my name is Melissa) and say how glad I am to have found your blog.

  10. Melissa; Glad you've found me! Hope you stick around! Welcome!


  11. Mysteries are mainly what I read, so I felt more comfortable writing them.

    Mysteries have so many sub-genres that I could keep from getting bored just switching between them!

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  12. Wow, great blog! I'm enjoying it. I also commend you for writing in the one genre I can't imagine tackling. But you never know. I've written law articles and I've written about bugs. I write poetry and some consider that a mystery...;-)

  13. Heather! Thanks for dropping by! Hope you continue to!

  14. Great blog, Elspeth! I read in a wide variety of genres as well - mysteries, rom susp, sci fi, fantasy are the current faves. I write mysteries with a romantic/relationship edge. I like the plot to develop alongside the relationship. That's been my focus for the last couple of years anyway. As to what the future holds? I have no idea :)

  15. Thanks Jemi! Always great to meet another mystery writer!


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