My current novel is of the satire/humour genre. Another novel that is currently in the works is still humorous, but is more of a fantasy novel. A third novel that I am currently working on - I like to keep busy - is of the thriller/"morbid" genre and I have very good ideas for a further horror novel, also.

I have received highly positive feedback from numerous sources for each novel so far, which implies that I am able to successfully write across these genres, but I am enquiring as to whether it is considered good practice to write across multiple genres or to just stick to one?

I should also make it clear that I do not assume that I can write anything and that I am generally amazing - not at all. For example, I wouldn't know where to begin with a romance novel. However, I personally find that I am just as comfortable writing about horror as I am humour and would like to know if others have any experience of such a phenomenon (for lack of a better word)?

For example, how would we all feel if Stephen King were to bash out a few satire novels? Or if Terry Pratchett were to pen a couple of crime thrillers? Would it "tarnish" your view of their work in any ways? Personally, it would slightly tarnish my view as one of my favourite authors - Tom Holt - is popular in the humorous fantasy genre, yet he has also written some historical novels as well as poetry. In my mind, he will always be a humorous fantasy writer and, for some reason that I myself can't explain, this makes me a little uneasy.

Have others experienced the dilemma of not being able to pin down "your" genre, or is it possible that people may still view your work with just as much respect across multiple genres as opposed to just one?

This question addresses an element of the problem and a possible solution, but it doesn't quite cover what I'm looking for as it focuses mainly on pseudonyms.

Many thanks.

  • 1
    I've seen a few authors now who use pseudonyms when writing in other genres, like Iain M. Banks [Iain Banks] or Robin Hobb [Megan Lindholm]. Both use one name for sci-fi and fantasy respecively, and the other names when writing fiction and crime-fic respectively.
    – CLockeWork
    Commented Nov 22, 2013 at 11:14
  • Terry Pratchett did write some crime thrillers. Going Postal & Feet of Clay, at least, fit that definition. Perhaps also The Fifth Elephant.
    – TRiG
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 10:26

3 Answers 3


It will ultimately depend on the quality of the writing, but no, I have no problem with authors crossing genres. JK Rowling wrote a crime novel and... whatever the hell The Casual Vacancy was supposed to be after the Harry Potter series. It doesn't make me think less of her because she's not writing a fantasy or a "young adult" book. If anything, I'm pleased that she's stretching and proving she's not stuck in a rut.

  • 1
    You make a wonderful point. Thank you.
    – M.Y. David
    Commented Nov 22, 2013 at 11:34
  • I should also add that the quality of my writing has not diminished between genres - the feedback has consistently been highly positive. And for you sceptics out there, I have indeed received negative feedback, so I am not applying an unintentionally biased view of this!
    – M.Y. David
    Commented Nov 22, 2013 at 11:47

Have you established a reputation? Does your audience already expect more of the same? If yes, I would recommend not diluting your reputation. Pen names establish alternate reputations to not dilute your original one. If you have not yet established a reputation you are freer to craft your reputation.


I have the opposite problem. I'm constantly worrying that I'll produce something which can be labeled. I really care whether my work is original or not. Not fitting any genre makes a story more likely to fit that purpose. My stories have elements of literary fiction, subtle traces of magical realism/surrealism, as well as hints of horror and mystery. And I'm very happy with that. Regarding other authors, I tend to admire more those who produce work which can't be labeled.

Not being able to label your work or writing across multiple genres isn't a bad thing. Focus more in the quality of your writing. Just as Lauren says.

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