The Joys and Perils of Genre Jumping

Hey there, Casey here.

Change is hard. Even when you want to change, it’s still a challenge to teach your mind that what you’re doing is okay. That it will all work out. That you shouldn’t panic!

OSV - Grape Arbor

Last summer, I wrote a contemporary romance called Over Easy. I did it because I wanted to grow my writing skills and to try something new and challenging.

All of my books have been paranormal romances. And while I love the genre (and I don’t intend to leave it all together), I need to stretch myself once in a while. So I had this idea about a woman and a struggling diner in a small town in Vermont.

The idea percolated in my brain while I wrote Mystic Hero and Lachlan’s Curse (which I recently sold – yay me!).  I knew going in that it would be hard to switch from one genre to another. Sure, they are both romances, and in theory, the heart is still a love story. . . but. . .

. . . But here’s the thing. They aren’t the same. With contemporary romance, I wouldn’t have magic, evil villains or explosions to rely upon to get my hero/heroine in and out of jams.


I’d have to rely on good, old fashioned emotions. Every day problems. Accessible issues. Hearts and flowers.


Those were kind of scary to me. In real life, I don’t like drama. I hate confrontations. And I don’t like overly emotional situations. Heck, I’m not sure I’m even that romantic.

Well, personal fears aside, I wrote the book.

It came out too short. And while it was okay and my beta readers liked it (it even placed in a contest), I knew it wasn’t as good as it could be.  So I did what most writers do in that situation.

I let it sit. And sit. And sit some more. Then panic and doubt set in, until it morphed into THE. WORST.BOOK.EVER.

That’s when I knew it was time to ask for help. I’m lucky that my RWA chapter has a mentoring program. And I’m even luckier that my mentor is well-versed in the genre.

After a frank assessment of my work, I have new path to follow. I’m learning how to be less plotty (yes, that’s a thing) and be more real. AND to face all those emotions that scare me. Yup. I’m digging deep. It’s uncomfortable, but I’ll live.

In order to write the best book I can – to hatch a beautIMG_1086iful butterfly – I need to return to the cocoon and start again.

See? Maybe there are some hearts and flowers in me after all.

Has anyone else faced the same problem? How did you deal with it?


2 thoughts on “The Joys and Perils of Genre Jumping”

  1. Kudos to you for forging on and asking for help rather than shelving the idea for good, Casey! And congrats on the contest.

    My problem was almost the opposite. I was all hearts and flowers (and teen angst), and not much of a plotter, so when I switched from writing contemporary YA to a Dystopian trilogy, I thought my brain would explode. I had all of these cool ideas, but had no idea how to plot out a three book, action-packed sci-fi/fantasy that would keep my readers turning the page.

    What I also didn’t count on was that I would have to find an entirely different readership. As it turns out, readers of contemporary YA are not generally readers of sci-fi/fantasy or dystopian. Switching subgenres kind of derailed my momentum in terms of creating a faithful fan base, but do I regret doing it?

    NOPE! I loved writing the Chronicles of Lily Carmichael. It was a wonderful growing experience and I learned so much about plotting, character development, and revision that I can almost guarantee that my next books will be so much better for having done the trilogy, whether they are contemporary YA or even adult romances–if I choose to follow my creative brain and branch out into yet another genre.

    Whatever we do, a new learning experience is never wasted…and we just might find that we are on exactly the path we’re “supposed” to be on.

    Thanks for sharing your journey!

  2. Casey, refreshing, all this. I never gave paranormal venue a thought, but I found revealing how your characters get out of jams with explosions, and other severe happenings. Well, even though my romance is all hearts and flowers, that’s how I get my ‘not paranormal’ out of jams. Guns, fires, floods, and other types of disasters, and of course, conflict between the hero and heroine. I would imagine the recipe is similar between ‘paranormal’ and ‘normal’ if there is such a thing as normal. Good luck and have fun.

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