Thursday, July 30, 2015

Confessions of a Multi-Genre Author by Cindy K. Green

Cindy K. Green
When you start in this life we call the writing game, one of the first things you learn (after how to utilize proper POV, of course) is that as a published author you must brand yourself. That means you sell your name more than any particular book. When you pick up a Stephen King or Nora Roberts novel, you know what you’re getting before even reading the blurb. Readers need to get to know you—how you write and what you write. In the large New York publishing houses, their authors typically have to BRAND themselves and only write in but one or maybe two genres. But…what about those of us who love to skip around and experiment in the genres?

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. There are some big names who jump around in the genres. James Patterson is known for his mystery/suspense/thrillers. But he’s also penned some award-winning young adult titles and even a series of romances.  

When I’m asked: ‘What do you write? What’s your genre?’ I seriously have to make out a list. And I make no excuses for it. I love skipping from genre to genre, stretching my writer’s legs or fingers—or to be more precise my imagination and my writer’s niche. It keeps the writing fresh and exciting. I finally branded myself in a general sense with ‘Humorous, Heartfelt, Spirit-filled Fiction.’ My subgenres include: Inspirational Contemporary & Historical Romance, Young Adult, Chick-lit, Romantic Suspense. I’ve even written a high fantasy. I told you it was a lot.

So, I’ve been asked, ‘how do you write in all those genres? I feel like I’d get confused.’ Well, here’s my confession—it’s very easy to get confused. If you write in several genres you have to go through steps to bring it all together. Let me take you through an example.

I’ve recently been writing two different YA series. In doing so, I had to purge from my mind the voice and tone of my just finished historical western. I was now an almost eighteen-year-old girl full of insecurities while watching my life spin upside down. So, first step, I have to read some YA books. A little Meg Cabot, some Jenny B. Jones and a bit of Melody Carlson and I’m set. I listen to music that’s for the young or young at heart. And then I watch lots of teen movies. Basically, I get into the mindset of the American teen. (I also have a teen living in my house and that’s the best prep work there is.)

I do something similar for whatever genre I’m writing. It’s like I’m priming myself to write. You see there is a tone, a set a verbiage that is necessary to each sub-genre. I have to get myself into that place before I start writing. Now if you only write in one genre that isn’t really a problem. No matter what you are reading or watching it won’t affect your writing. You’ve trained yourself how to write your genre. But when you write several genres, you have to equip yourself to write many different ways and your muse needs a reminder as to what hat to put on today. 

Dora here. Do you write in multiple genres? If so, how do you "prime" yourself to write?
If not, have you considered writing in a different genre?

Cindy K. Green has worked as a middle school history & English teacher, a frozen yogurt server and a golf magazine employee. Today she's a multi-published, award-winning author, a mother, a wife, and a homeschooler too. This native Californian now resides in North Carolina with her husband, two boys, and two cats named Chloe & Kassey.

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Her latest release Andrea & the Five Day Challenge is a Christian YA novel, the first in the Aubrey Christian Academy Series. A Bible Study Challenge, a Prayer Journal and Homecoming. The combination just might change her life.

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