Genres, crossing the boundaries with your writing.

I had some happy news this week – I won a writing award (The Mary Grant Bruce Gippsland Writer in the FAW Literary Awards) for a children’s story and it was the second year in a row that I have won this particular award.  I don’t write many children’s stories, even though I have four young children myself.  In fact, the story that I won this award with didn’t start out life as a story for children, it just happened to be about young people.  A few comments from readers later and I redrafted it specifically for the younger age group.

I have won awards or had stories published in other genres too – horror, contemporary, humour, even some spec fic.  So, do I need to pick a genre and stick with it?  Or do I go with the flow and write whatever is in my head and worry about genres they fit into later?

There are some notable authors who have had success crossing genres: Agatha Christie is famous for her crime novels but wrote romances under a pen name, Mary Westmacott; Paul Theroux writes travel books and novels; Roald Dahl, famous for his children’s stories also wrote adult fiction.

But how difficult is it for emerging writers to get away with crossing from one genre to another, or even writing cross-genre stories?  If you’re seriously trying to make a name for yourself in a crowded industry would it be better to apply your craft to your more favoured style of fiction?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, but in the meantime, I’ll just bash out whatever comes into my head and see which box it fits.

About vickydaddo

I live in Gippsland, Victoria, Australia. I write short fiction and novels. My stories have appeared in The Big Issue Fiction Special, Award Winning Australian Writing, Women’s Day, That’s Life and other anthologies. I have won or been placed in many competitions including the Hope Prize, the Scarlet Stilettos and the FAW National Literary Awards. In 2018, I received a women’s writing scholarship through The Hope Prize. I am a Writers Victoria Regional Ambassador for Gippsland and President of the Gippsland Writers Group. I teach creative writing classes at Warragul Community House and help program the Latrobe Literary Festival.
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4 Responses to Genres, crossing the boundaries with your writing.

  1. This is quite interesting to me becuase I’ve never wondered about what genre i’m trying to fit into. I’ve always simply written and the story ends up writing itself in the end and by the time the story is done I can usually classify it in some sub-genre or other. I’m a big writer of spec. fic. but i’ve also done some fiction as well as a good amount of poetry.
    So i guess, in my experience I write the story I want and worry about where it fits in to genre once its finished.


  2. yellowlancer says:

    Congratulations Vicky 🙂 Will it be published? I won the same award about three years ago and signed the necessary FAW permission forms for publication but never heard anything more 😦 I should have followed it up again – it was about the time I moved and I was a bit distracted.
    I agree – bash out whatever comes and definitely go for a Mary Grant Bruce hat trick 🙂

  3. Novel Girl says:

    Congratulations on winning the award for the SECOND time! 🙂

  4. floridawasp says:

    I can understand why ppl would want to write whatever, but I would think becomming known/established in one genre first might be more successful. just my 3 cents worth, 2 plus inflation.

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