Wide Load

There’s an interesting discussion thread going on at John Rickards forum these days, and oddly enough it has nothing to do with monkeys or dirty old ladies. The question is whether authors ever get bored of writing in the crime genre:

Not another carefully-constructed character piece about Lives Gone Horribly Wrong? Not another Life On The Skids gloomy crime story? Just once I wish I could write something about dinosaurs/a grocer’s shop in Walthamstow/the Boxer Rebellion.

It’s an interesting question because, almost without exception, every crime author I know reads widely in the genre and across several others. Whether it be graphic novels, literary fiction, non0fiction, romance, or time-traveling character studies of small inbred mammals, the influences and inspirations are broad. But of those same authors, I don’t know of many who write outside their genre very often.

Sarah and I were sort of talking about this the other day. Both of us were a bit sick of writing what we were writing and admitted that if market and publishing concerns weren’t a factor at all, we’d both probably be writing very different things. My desire to write the great America chick lit novel is widely known in these parts. But what does that have to do with genre boredom?

I have actually written quite a bit in the short form outside of genre. that’s mostly because I was in a university creative writing program that frowned suspisciously on anything with plots or guns or strippers. But I mentioned to Sarah that I think this is how genres are reinvented. I think authors take on forms and genres they might love to read and mix in their other inspirations. You mix your sci-fi interests and your romance interests and such and voila, a new sub-genre is born. Or you fail miserably because you can’t be categorized. Okay, maybe this theory needs further exploration.

So how do you all avoid boredom with the genre you’ve chosen?