Can You Write Any Genre Straight Off the Bat?


I’m sure many fiction writers have asked themselves this question.

“Can I really write a book in a genre that I’ve never tried writing before?”

This question, was probably posed after watching a nail-biting horror flick, and becoming inspired immensely by the gore on-screen, and the abject terror instilled within your bosom.

Or it was brewed up by something far more dainty and along the lines of reading a Mills and Boon novel, where a guy with a name like Dean Hunksword once again rescues the secretary ‘damsel-in-distress’, by kissing her at an appropriately dramatic interval.

Either way.

Sooner or later something jaw-dropping inspires us writers, and we come to a point in our lives where we wonder if we can branch out of our comfort zones, and challenge ourselves to write something spectacular.

The problem with writers is, when we get a great idea that involves taking a risk or a huge leap of faith – we bail. We become frightened by the possibility of failure, and the worst of them all, rejection.

Our paranoia gets in the way, and holds us back from doing what we do best – write, and write well.

For me, I feel it is perfectly reasonable and understandable, to assume with a little bit of effort and research, that yes anyone can branch out into a new genre. There’s no need to hold yourself back in fear that you will do a disservice to readers! You have to bite the bullet, and believe in yourself.

If you read a few books from authors who veer from one end of the spectrum to the other in the genre that is tempting you, you will be certain to build yourself a great foundation to start from. And those literary prose that readers of, for instance romance, are accustomed to, will begin to swirl into your brain.

You will form a backlog of information that directs you and defines your work as specifically a part of that writing genre. Of course, it is always important to include a personal touch here or there in your writing!

If you are in need of motivation and desire to be inspired. There are countless authors who took the treacherous leap from one successful theme, over to another.

These authors include:

  • Ian Fleming. He wrote the famous series of novels which culminated in the international man of mystery, James Bond. Ian took what one might say is a complete and utter u-turn, by writing a children’s picture book after his dreams of ‘spydom’ were quenched.
  • Roald Dahl; we all know him, and we all cherish the tales he has weaved such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the likes of James and the Giant Peach. But, Roald wasn’t exclusive to children’s tales, no! He wrote stories both criminal and lascivious. He delved into an underbelly of adult fiction, and brewed up macabre tales adults dare only peruse and children mustn’t ever glimpse!
  • A. A. Milne, the author that cemented most of our childhoods with colourful vibrancy – the creator of Winnie-the-Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and so forth. You certainly wouldn’t expect such a wondrous and whimsical author to delve into crime, and write a brilliant ‘Who done it’ novel, now would you? But, he did.
  • Iain Banks, he is the author of two well-received and VERY different novels; The Wasp Factory (Literary Fiction), and Consider Phlebus (Science fiction). Both books are so starkly different in theme and genre, that people become terribly confused whether Iain has actually written them both! But, you can’t blame these people when there is such a huge genre gap.

The list goes on and on.

Other writers who have taken the leap include  the likes of Anne Rice and Stephen King.

If all these authors can do it, and separate themselves from the books that have made them famous, you can too!

Sometimes the best medicine for writer paranoia, is to tell that little voice in the back of your head to shut up. And, to just bloody get on with it. We can’t always feed every nagging thought of dismissal, stress, and insecurity, can we?

We must make a stand, and we must write what we darn well please! If you want to write a crime thriller, go ahead. If you want to drum out a sappy love-story, start typing!

It’s all up to you.



4 thoughts on “Can You Write Any Genre Straight Off the Bat?

  1. I think the really good genre writers pick one genre and stick to it. They want to learn as much as they can about their chosen genre and that takes a lot of time. Crime writers, for instance, have to be really knowledgable about police procedures etc because fans of crime fiction will instantly spot any holes/errors and that could ruin the reading experience for them, by taking them out of their suspension of disbelief.
    I had to write a genre story for one of my PWE subjects – which I’ve never done – and I picked crime because it’s the genre I (thought I) knew most about, through watching murder mysteries on TV. I still felt constrained by my lack of familiarity with the genre. I had to do extra research on things like the rates of decomposition of a human corpse and how corpses decay in water. I had to abandon one of my plot points (a body being found in water) because I couldn’t find the information I needed to make sure my descriptions were scientifically accurate.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Shame to hear you had to change your story… I’m certain though that you pulled through, and that what you have is solid and probably a great read! And yes I too believe it’s best to research and study a genre if you’re serious about it and want to produce the highest-quality stories possible. But, sometimes (Though not always) diving in head first without a clue is rather exhilarating. However, us writers aren’t exactly paid to be exhilarated 24/7 that’s for sure! x


  2. Stephen King is another author who successfully writes across genres (also using the nom de plume of Richard Bachman). I didn’t know about A.A. Milne. He was my one of my favourite authors as a child because I loved the Winnie The Pooh stories so much. Cheers, Angela

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never knew that A.A Milne branched out either… Research and study, although it sounds dull and tedious, is occasionally rather eye-opening 🙂 Thanks for another comment Angela. I enjoy hearing what you have to say!

      Liked by 1 person

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