Writing in Different Genres

When to switch genres?

I am sure you have heard this before - you should really write - such and such.  Or why don't you write this?  Over the course of my writing career, I have had several people say such things to me.  Nine times out of ten, it's because that is what they read.  For instance, my husband who likes to read Science Fiction has said several times that I should think about writing Science Fiction.

Write what you know.  That is another mantra spoken to writers time and again.  Write what you know.  For instance, I have had people say - you should write about your children.  I think my children would hate to see their lives immortalized in print. I admit the events of their lives could make for a great story, but I agree with them - I don't need to traumatize them by putting their highs and lows in print.  If, some day, they decide to write about their own lives, so be it - I just hope I don't end up on some talk show because of it.

Then, of course - you have heard - if you love contemporaries, you should write them or if you love historicals, you should write them.  Now, this is advice that fits me perfectly. For as long as I can remember, I have been reading some form of historical novel - whether it is fiction or nonfiction. I love reading about the lives of people who lived in the past.  It just made sense for me to write historical romance.

I did write two contemporaries.  The first one I wrote when I was seventeen years old.  I used my old stenographers books and hand wrote the book.  Then I purchased a typewriter and typed it out.  I submitted it as an entry for college and got a scholarship based on my writing.  Of course, over the course of the next four years, I brought those chapters to my Creative Writing class and was repeatedly ripped to shreds by the jocks in the class who laughed at it and the teacher who said I would never make money as a romance author.  I was determined to succeed.

I wrote my next contemporary on the train going back and forth to work.  At night I would type it up.  I did send it out to editors and agents.  I secured an agent and paid them money to represent me.  Yes, I know, NEVER pay an agent.  I learned a valuable and expensive lesson.  The agent was later sued and taken to court for her practices.

So, how did I change genres and write historical romance?  Remember what I said before - I have always loved reading historicals.  I also love history.  My oldest daughter had to soak her foot in betadyne for 20 minutes every day (long story - remember I promised not to relate any stories of my children in print).  I would sit with her and watch Disney sing-a-long tapes.  (yes I said tapes).  One was the Pirates of the Caribbean and there was a pirate chasing a woman around a barrel, with the words "wench for a bride" overhead.  That was it - I had my idea.

I wrote my first historical.  After that, I wrote another and another.

So, are you ready for another change?  I will leave you with this - I wrote my first children's book a couple weeks ago.  Wrote and illustrated it.  I love it.  Am I giving up historical romance?  Bite your tongue!!!!  I will never give up my true passion - but in the meantime, I am having fun doing both.

Vivienne

PS - here is the cover for the children's book I wrote.


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