One Trick Ponies
Most people know me as a science fiction writer. That’s not terribly surprising, given that I’ve got four SF novels out, plus a bunch of SF stories in various markets. I’m active in conversations about SF in various online locales (Google+ is a hotbed of great discussion lately) and I’ve attended SF-themed conventions as a participant and speaker.
If the above isn’t a description of a science fiction writer, I don’t know what is.
I’m not just a science fiction writer. Aside from the fact that I’m not just a writer, I write things that don’t even come close to being classified as SF. Not wanting to get into a “this is SF, this isn’t” argument, I definitely write outside my most recognizable genre.
I started writing seriously as a poet and I’ve had classic haiku published recently. I’ve got a mainstream novel cooking away in edits and I’m getting into straight-up mystery writing. That’s just what’s going on now – who knows what I might do in the future.
Plenty of writers don’t stick to a single genre, and there are certainly anecdotal stories of well-known writers being hamstrung by their readers’ (or editors’) desires to make sure they keep doing what they’ve always done, rather than what they want to do. Which is a shame.
Genre shouldn’t be a cage, whether gilded or rusty barbed-wire. As writers we need realize that one genre-based readership isn’t necessarily going to be interested in our work in other areas, but that should not stop us. Working in other genres is a way to create new readers, plus it keeps us excited about our work. A win-win.
So what do you write that’s not what you’re known for?