While I do think of myself as primarily a writer of speculative fiction (a somewhat broad category which includes, but is not limited to, Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror), I’ve been mixing things up a bit lately. After writing fantasy for four years, I sold the second science fiction story I ever wrote. And at a work shop last year, I was challenged to write a military sci-fi story, which (although I never read military sci-fi) ended up as one of my favorites. The change-up in genre made me appreciate how writing in different genres can be invigorating.
So as I begin my ‘new’ writing practice for the year, with my resolution to write at least two short stories a month, I’m looking to add to my writer’s toolkit and not limit myself to only one or two genres. I don’t limit my reading to a single genre, so why should I limit my writing? And the great thing about writing short stories, is that if you flub it and in the end it doesn’t work the way you’d hoped, you toss it and write something else. At least you haven’t spent months on trying it out for a whole novel.
And writing in multiple genres has forced me to stretch my voice and plotting in ways I never imagined. I think it’s made me a better writer; and certainly a better storyteller. It’s both challenging and fun. Duotrope is a great place to look for prompts / story markets, as is The Grinder (which is free).
So go ahead; spice it up a little.