Sunday, August 14, 2016

What's wrong with writing multi-genres?

"Down that road, I go." by Leanne Dyck

My muse dances and I follow. I write picture books for children and short story collections for adults. I just gave my novel for young adults to my first reader. (Hurray!) To me, writing across genres is like trying all the flavours in a ice cream shop and not gaining weight. 


Oh, so now your writing in (new genre), Leanne
-literary agent

The emotion behind her words wasn't lost in her email. She was clearly frustrated. How could she package me when I didn't fit in any box? I wasn't surprised when she refused to represent me.


Everyone is mixing and mingling, the host steers someone in my direction. "This is Leanne. She writes."

"Oh, what genre do you write?" The someone asks.

"Fiction for adults and..." as I continue the list, "someone" has a weird look on her face. And I wonder am I boring, confusing or frustrating her. If I could simply say, "I write mysteries," she'd be able to walk away with a name and a genre. What can she do with the armful of information I've just unloaded on her? I fear the answer is nothing.

But I have to continue to dance with my muse.

I wonder, how do established multi-genre authors handle these situations?

Next post: Sunday, August 21 (around 5 PM PST) 
You've read about my experiences (and fears). What does an established multi-genre author think?
Please visit this blog next week when my special guest will be award winning multi-genre author Maggie de Vries.

Photo by Leanne Dyck

Picture Books in Canada

Field of Children's Literature
Picture Books for Children
Canadian Children's Literature

A few years ago, I took a children's literature course at the University of Winnipeg and learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Photo by Leanne Dyck

Sharing my author journey...

Last Tuesday, a Facebook post invited Mayne Island writers to

participate in an open mic night. 

Hey, that's cool, I thought. And I emailed a friend (because these things are fun to share). Plans were made and I choose a story to share.

It's now Thursday afternoon and...and... What have I done? What if no one likes my story? What if they boo me? What if I trip over my tongue? What if they vote me off the island?

All together now, "Get over yourself, Leanne!"

Thanks, I needed that.

I'll add to this and tell you how I did. 

Sometimes it's good to leave your comfortable nest. Right? Right?

Today, Sunday, I can tell you the whole story.

I read a sweet short story. I love this story and received compliments. But everyone else's readings were much darker. I felt like I'd brought a piccolo to a heavy metal stage.

But if things work out, I could get a second chance.


Darlene said...

I don´t know why everyone thinks writers should fit into a nice tidy box. Many authors write in a number of genres and do well. Can´t wait for the Maggie de Vries interview. I just love her.

Leanne Dyck said...

I was rather surprised by the literary agent's response. Until that email, I viewed my ability to write in more than one genre as a strength.
Thank you for your comment, Darlene.
Happy writing

Laurie Buchanan said...

Leanne - I think many literary agents (and publishing houses) view an author as a commodity. As with any other commodity, they want to be able to be able to give you a clearcut label such as: meat, produce, or dairy (you get the idea). Why? Because it makes marketing you so much easier for them — a road with no bumps in it; fabric without wrinkles.

And while my "main" genre is prescriptive nonfiction, I'm currently working on two other fiction projects. Cheers to writing where our hearts lead us!

Leanne Dyck said...

Very well put, Laurie. And seen in that light, I can understand the literary agents frustrations.
But... But...
Lifting a glass (virtually) to writing where our hearts lead us.