There are two times in your life as a writer when you will very possibly find yourself switching from one genre to another. Embrace the change!
The First Switch
You get an idea. You type up that first draft. You read back through it and discover that it has morphed from that cute little romance story into a mystery or even a horror story.
This can happen whether you’re a “plotter” (you outline your plot and follow it as you work on the draft) or a “pantser” (you have any idea where your story is going but want the freedom to write “by the seat of your pants,” that is, in flow with your ideas).
An example is my manuscript for Hammil Valley Rising, which was originally titled Hammil Valley Rose. The intent was a sweet romance between a widow rancher and a bachelor rancher in that valley. The story grew to involve so much more along with that romance that I had to make extensive rearrangements and edits, turning the manuscript into the literary fiction genre.
If you really want to keep to your original genre, be prepared to dump ideas along the way that don’t fit. That takes discipline (which I apparently lack) and a willingness to abandon those ideas (which I don’t want to do).
If you go along with the change, bear in mind that you might not be able to present it to the same literary agents or publishers. And if the manuscript is part of a series, you could throw things off.
The Second Switch
You finished the manuscript for that sweet romance. You have an idea burning in your brain for a horror story. What to do?
If you are known as a writer of sweet romances, you might give your reading public a shock. You could write out the idea and save it for some later date or publish under a pseudonym. Better yet, some experts recommend that you just alert readers that this book is of a different genre.
Having written almost 2.6 million words on The Freelan Series, I had an idea for a horror story. Typing it up was almost like taking a mental vacation. And then I saw it as the start of a series and am now working on the fourth story. Meanwhile, I revisited short stories from years ago in various states of completion, revamped some, and got ideas for others. Now I switch between working on The Freelan Series, the horror series that grew out of that first story, and those other short stories. I’ve redone the site a bit to reflect this. Nothing published so far, so I don’t have to worry about people getting confused or disappointed.
Being open to switching genres can free up your creativity. Whether you want that or not is your choice. Either way, write what inspires you.
Hope you found this helpful and have been inspired to start and/or continue writing!
Please check out my works in progress (WIPs). And thanks for reading.
My article on genres.