What do you think of when you hear the name Gabriel García Márquez? Magical realism, most likely. Maya Angelou? Inspirational verse, no doubt. Robert Ludlum? Ah, my hero, Jason Bourne.
Choose a genre, get good in it, stick to it, create a lasting reputation, say the experts, the blogs, the "how to for authors" articles. That's how you become known as an author. That's how you make the big bucks. Whatever you do, don't go skipping from one genre or one form to another!
I thought I had it figured out. Started at 13 with a novel. A fantasy, complete with a rune-based alphabet I'd designed, riddles in iambic pentameter, and a parallel world. But by the time I was 14 and close to finishing it, I was, you know, SO much older and wiser, and what my 13-year-old self had written was just lame. Years later I wrote my first short story. Loved the format so much I wrote another, and then another... and then another. One of them dallied just a little too long in editing and turned into a novella.
The same fate awaited another short story that was inspired by a single ray of light in New York City... and it made me think, is this a pattern? Why can't I write a true short story? So I did. I kept it short.
One of my readers wanted it longer.
When a new publisher came calling for historical fiction works for middle grade readers, I sent in a proposal. They loved it, signed a contract and off I went into an intense six-month research and writing period. And thus was born my first middle grade historical fantasy.
Did I mention journalism, screenplays, and stage plays for children. Creative non fiction? Did that too, inspired by the birth of my daughter.
What about a photography book? Check.
My current WiPs include a children's book and a thriller.
Sorry, oh sacred advisory bodies, I just can't do it. I can't "stick to one genre." I'm done for as an author.
Or am I?
Isn't the point of literature and writing, to tell stories, to share ideas, to open minds and inspire dreams? Is it the form or the genre that matter, or is it THE STORY?
You decide. You're the author.