Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Can One Pen Create Multiple Genres?

From the director of X.

From the producers that brought you Y.

The author behind X, Y, & Z.

Those commercials have always made me squirm. As if because I loved Dustin Lance Black’s award-winning Milk, I’m going to enjoy his screenplay to Virginia just as much. Or because James Cameron did such an amazing job with Titanic that I simply MUST love Avatar too. Unless it’s Nicholas Sparks writing the same book/movie over and over or a Stephen King movie (so we know what we’re in for)…those tags on movie commercials don’t really do anything for me.

Perhaps that is my problem. I’m not a genre writer. I can’t sit down and write similar stories following the same private eye or a fantasy trip through a jungle of vampires (not that there is anything wrong with those): they are just not me.

I’ll admit – I get nervous when a reader relates to one of my stories and then turns to read another. They may come to me saying how they were so touched by Proud Pants and the addiction of my brother along with the relationship between him and my mother. But then they decide to read Well with My Soul and I find I want to warn them on the sex and religion between the pages of that book. Or the gay men that related to Soul sees the gay characters pushed to supporting roles in Patchwork of Me. (And we won’t even go into the other books that are written, but not out yet. Those may seriously send someone over the edge asking who is writing these books.)

I recently heard from someone who had loved Well with My Soul immensely and is reading Patchwork now. While he’s enjoying it, he told me it feels like a completely different author. It made me wonder if that’s a bad thing that I can change my voice and style (not to mention the amount of years that passed between writing those two even though they came out closely together) or if it is a good thing that I can be a chameleon when writing. I’m not really sure. Only time will tell.

But I do think it’s part of the reason those commercials have always bothered me touting the director, producer, writer from one project to another. Shouldn’t they be true to the individual project and not simply put their stamp on it so that we know it’s a <FILL IN BLANK OF WELL KNOWN PERSON> behind it?

These are the topics that get in my head at times and gnaw at me.

So naturally, I blog and share.   


  1. Good post, been struggling with this. I also write in several genres but have only released in the gay fiction genre. I've seen innumerable posts about creating a pen name for other genres and am still in the air with it.

    1. I believe there are pros and cons to doing just that. You build up your name and you want those followers, but then you don't want to confuse your readers when you switch gears. A tough one.

  2. I'm blessed so far in that no one has complained about the "multiple" genres I've written in (knock on wood). And they're up for even another one next. Stretch! The bottom line - a great read is a great read.

    1. That's a great way of looking at it, Arthur. And you definitely do multiples!! (Personalities and writing.) :-)

  3. I dislike genres as a whole because they pidgeon-hole writers, musicians, filmmakers, etc. I think that's why when musicians do "crossovers" I am so excited because it's an example of my opinion that music is music, plain and simple.

    I follow certain screenwriters because I love how they write dialogue, or certain directors because their "eye" comes from an odd or offbeat place.

    The same thing with novelists; I follow certain ones because of the way the craft a character or write dialogue, not so much because of the genre in which the create.

    But that's just me...

    1. I wish there were more readers/viewers/listeners like you out there! I must admit: I've recently been taken out of my usual reading material and I'm glad that I have. I found another great author by doing so.