It’s fascinating to me that so many authors start with a story, and that story becomes their first finished rough draft and then, their first published book–no matter how long it takes them to accomplish each of those stages.
That is not how my writing journey started. The first rough draft I ever finished took me 5 years to complete and it’s still sitting on my computer unpublished, 11 years later. I’ve never even attempted to get it out on the market, and here’s where the plot thickens…
I write Erotic Romance. That’s my favorite genre to both read and write. Any kind of erotic romance; dark, light, kinky, paranormal, psychological, a combination of all of the above, it doesn’t matter.
But, my first completed manuscript was Epic Fantasy.
So, not a Quantum Leap, but…close-a-freakin-ough. Not only that ms, but the nearly completed sequel to it. Ready for the next plot twist?
That first book that gave me the thrill of writing “The End” is a spin-off from the first story I ever had an idea for when I was only 17 years old, and would take place between books 1 and 2 of the planned trilogy that has yet to be written.
Don’t look at me like that. I wish I could say it’s an exaggeration, but sadly, it’s not. However, I’ve already written a lengthy post about that dilemma right here, so I won’t rehash. What I really want to know is this:
Have any of you started off writing in one genre only to end up publishing in a completely different one?
If yes, did the genre(s) you were reading at the time play any part in that?
I didn’t take a direct reading path. One day I was a kid, reading children’s books, and the next I was grabbing books off my mom’s shelf, staying up too late reading V.C. Andrews and Ann Rule. Then, I went through what I call my ‘research’ phase, where the only books I read were about ancient Egypt and anything I could find on Vlad III of Wallachia.
My research on Vlad led me back into reading fiction for pleasure, diving right into Paranormal Romance with L.J. Smith, then taking a giant leap forward to Anne Rice. I was 14 when I read Interview With the Vampire, and that was two years before it was made into a movie. I gobbled down The Witching Hour after that and spent a lot of time dedicated to the Mayfair Witches before going back to the vamps.
Then, on a whim (aka I liked the cover art), I bought Kashiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey and no one even checked my ID at the cash register.
Being introduced to High Fantasy and EXTREME Sadomasochism all in one book was a real eye-opener for my 16-year-old self. Christian who? Sorry Mr. Shades, you ain’t got nothing to bring to this table that hasn’t already been here waiting for you to catch the fuck up. #stillwaiting
Carey was a bit much for me to handle back then, not because of the whole *R.A.C.K. aspect as the main plot driven by an extremely masochistic protagonist, it was the High Fantasy of it all. Meanwhile, I was still reading Anne Rice like any dedicated fan would, but then a friend introduced me to Mercedes Lackey and I fell instantly in love. Not only was Epic Fantasy much easier to consume, it still had sex in it, so score!
I know it was a combination of these early influences that sparked my Epic Fantasy idea into life at 17, I just never expected it to become like the Venus Flytrap in Seymour’s basement; way too big and hungry for more.
But, despite it still being unpublished, completing that one Epic Fantasy manuscript knocked down whatever mental barrier had been standing strong in my head, and within two months I had written my second full-length novel start to finish; a Futuristic Romance, that would land me a contract with a publisher and become my first published work three years later.
I just had to prove to myself that I COULD finish writing a book, and it opened the flood gates. So, keep that in mind all you aspiring writers–sometimes it just takes reaching that finish line once, even if nothing comes of that particular draft! 😉
So, there’s my oddball confession. I’d love to hear from any of you who might have similar situations with switching genres or who might have also never published their first finished manuscript. Thoughts, feedback, questions, all are welcome–we creative types like knowing we’re not alone.
Unless, it’s for a book title. Stop using my book title ideas! ಠ_ಠ
❤ Happy Meh-day
*R.A.C.K. stands for Risk Awareness Consensual Kink, which covers the more extreme areas of S&M where physical injury, scarring, paralyzing, and even death have a higher chance of occurring.