Balancing Two Genres


Art by Jem Yoshioka.

I woke up thinking about my hawt master-beekeeper in the third book of my romance series. You’d think this would be a good time to write about him. But in the mean time, I’ve gotten edits in on my mystery series so I have to set aside the romances. I love taking half the day to write mystery and the other half romance—the trouble is it rarely happens like this anymore.

I’m not the only genre writer who balances two names and two genres. Sometimes it feels like we walk a tightrope of deadlines and beginnings. We all develop tricks and efficiencies along the way. One thing that I’ve found is that when I get edits in, that work tends to be my priority. Otherwise it will just gnaw at me while I’m trying to write or edit anything else. So I just give in to it.

I usually take the edits one step at a time. I go through the manuscript and tend to easy fixes first. Later, I dig deeper in and not go back and forth—just keeping moving ahead until I’m finished. Then I will read through the entire manuscript to see if I’ve messed anything up by fiddling with it. And this happens a lot at this stage. With the next stage, copy edits, it’s really just more about polishing and making certain facts are straight.

With this particular manuscript, I’ll be adding in a good bit of text so I’ll need to read through to make certain it flows and that everything still connects.

In the mean time, the first three chapters of the next book in the series is due May 1, along with the outline. So once I’m done with the next round of edits, I’ll take a break and work on those chapters before I go back to the next layer of edits. My plan is that once I turn it one of these projects, I’ll get back to my master beekeeper, due in August. Currently its first draft is almost halfway done. I hope to go back to my half day of writing each genre.

So my of my writing career has been like this—stopping and starting and going back to the middle of things when I can get there. But I find that even though it can be tricky, the balancing keeps me on my toes and the stretching back and forth feeds my brain. Any others out there who are writing in two genres? How do you do it?

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  • cmkempe
    April 9, 2013 at 9:10 am

    I know the feeling: I leap from noirish crime to erotic romance and then to academic analysis. Fortunately it seems to suit my magpie mind, but people always seem to find it peculiar. I just know it works for me! But I’m looking forward to end of term so I can have the option of longer concentration — I hope!

  • LizEverly
    April 9, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Ahhh, yes. Longer concentration. That would be a good thing–all magpie minds can use just a little of that from time to time. Thanks for commenting.

  • Elizabeth Shore
    April 9, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Insightful post, Liz. I work in historical and contemporary, and that becomes a juggling act of sorts. I have to switch my mindset from “yes, my lord” to “cool, dude!” and I’ve sometimes blurred the lines. But that’s the great thing about revisions and polishing until it’s smashing! And awesome!

    • LizEverly
      April 9, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      Oh yes, I can see that it might be easy to blur those lines. Cheers!

  • madelineiva
    April 9, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    I’m doing a FAST EDITS online class with Candace Havens right now. She says that when the mind is writing we’re letting the subconscious rule. Then when we edit it’s a very different part of the brain we’re using. You’re so lucky that you can go from one to the other in one day. —Although she points out that the first part of the editing process when you’re adding and filling in things you missed is STILL creating and using that same creative part of the brain.

    I find that when my creating brain is on, I’m a horrible editor. I miss everything. Maybe it’s because I see what I want to be there and not what really is there.

    You’re very lucky that you can go from one to the other and I wonder if there’s a particular habit or transition process you use to switch gears like that. An exercise class? ;>

    • LizEverly
      April 9, 2013 at 8:31 pm

      Yes. Now that I think about it. It could be exercise or just stepping away from the computer to take a shower. Or eat lunch. I tell my self, “After I take my shower, I’m got to work on revisions (or whatever).

  • LizEverly
    April 10, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Reblogged this on Liz Everly and commented:

    Wondering where I am?


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