Perks & Challenges of Writing in Multiple Genres

Today I want to talk about the challenges and perks of authors who write for more than one age group. I’ve written for three so far: middle grade, young adult and now in new adult, which is the 18 to 26 year-old set. This seems a natural segue from Julie's post on genre confusions and mash-ups.

Why write in more than one genre or level? The proverbial writing advice is to find your “natural” voice, not only the lyrical/syntax aspect but also the age of the voice. Call me a multiple, but the fact is that my truest expression falls into three categories.

Part of me is that active, prankster-ish ten-year old tomboy, ripping holes in my jeans from roller-skating down crazy steep hills, or making my hamsters ride in plastic jeeps. Another part is definitely lodged in my teens—about 17, where one’s sense of impending freedom is heady and the ability to carve out both an identity and a love relationship explodes in a creative omega point.

Now, a third part has emerged: my twenty-something girl. Maybe it’s about graduating to the next age, expanding the YA self I know so well into the phase of leaving home, setting up an apartment, getting that first crap (or amazing) job or live-in lover. But I don’t think so. It’s that author’s expression, demanding passage.

What about branding? Sure, it’s probably not a wise thing to be all over the map before you build a comprehensive brand. In my case, that would be my YA novels (Refugees, Fireseed One, Ruby’s Fire). But after you have a clear author identity there’s no harm in extending it.
For me, the YA audience is a natural feed-in to my new adult reads. Kids don’t stay 17 forever, right? But there are challenges. New adult lit is steamier; it’s 18+. So, I had a thorny decision to make—keep all my work under one author name and run the risk of having my books banned by high-school librarians. Or create a pen name. Which is what I did. So for NA I’m using the pen name Kitsy Clare (Model Position).

Do you write for more than one age group? Do you have a pen name? Share your experience here.


  1. I love writing for different age groups. Making sure to get the voice right can be a challenge, but it's a welcome challenge and it's fun :-)

  2. Writing for different ages can be a challenge. For me, I think most of my writing falls into the YA/NA category. I write adult occasionally too, but I get slammed sometimes that my adult sounds too young. *shrugs*

  3. I write YA fantasy and Upmarket Women's fiction. They're very different genres, but honestly they fill and deplete my creative energies in different ways so it refreshes me...at least, most of the time.

  4. Yes, I figure if good actors can play completely diverse characters, so can we--write them. As long as it feels natural.

  5. Oh man! I've tried writing for other age groups, but they all turn into YA's! I admire anyone who can branch out, because it's hard to do!

  6. As a reader rather than a writer I am grateful for each and every one of you who steps out of your comfort zone to enrich my world.

  7. I write for mostly adults, but once in a while, I'll write a short for a YA or NA audience. I do love to write in various genres, though. I like taking myself out of my comfort zone because then I stretch my muse's muscles and maybe discover something else I might like.

  8. I write mostly literary, but I'm currently writing a literary crime-- it is fun to mix up the tropes of both to tell my story.

    Also, thanks for returning to AZ again this year :)

    I'm wondering if you signed up for the A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal?

  9. I'm writing YA for now, but want to branch out. I can see the need, especially between MG/YA and NA, to have a pen name. It's the sex thing. YA want it, but NA are having it, LOL. Gotta protect the kiddies.


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