There are a litany of sayings in writing instructing authors to write what they know, write what they love, and write what they want to read. And every single one is true.
Except they also aren’t.
Contradictory? Yes and no.
Sometimes characters speak their story to you and it’s a story about something you don’t know (Hello, research, my best friend and mortal enemy) or it’s a story you would never toss in your Amazon cart. But it’s their story and they want you to tell it. So you begin to write.
However, there’s an issue. It’s a fantasy and you’re a self-proclaimed women’s fiction writer. Or *gasp* it’s a romance and you are firmly in the camp of cozy mysteries. What is a writer to do?
A writer is meant only to write. Don’t worry about pigeon-holing your work into the guidelines of the genre you think you belong. And, really, it’s okay if you are a strict romance reader but suddenly get an urban fantasy story pouring from your fingers. I promise you, there isn’t an ever vigilant Genre Overlord that will swoop in and rap your knuckles for venturing into a different category.
Besides, let’s be honest here, the genre landscape is an ever growing and contracting field. Did somebody say “New Adult”? A story that may fit perfectly in a genre that disappears by this time next year and may find itself in a new home.
Don’t stress, dear writer, just write. Write across genres, or stay where you are happy. Whatever you do, just keep writing.
Just in case you don’t know where you belong OR you want proof of exactly how fickle the genre landscape can be, Writer’s Digest compiled a thorough list with descriptions of genres and sub genres to help your writing journey.