Wednesday, January 29, 2014

5 Signs You Need to Read a Different Genre

Reading is my favorite activity! I read everything--newspapers (mostly online), magazines (mostly print, but a few digital), non-fiction books (always print), and fiction (a mix of print and digital). Once I fall in love with a novel, I devour books by other authors of the genre. But...there is a downside. I've pinpointed five signs I need to switch my reading preferences.

1. In your mind, you've become an expert on all things related to the genre. 

Let's take Regency romance as an example. I've done zero research on this setting, but after reading dozens of books, I confidently mumble to myself "that wouldn't happen," or "he would never consider someone so outside his class," or "did that road even exist?" Yes. I'm a recovering genre-know-it-all, and I've stepped away from Regency romance for a few years.

2. The same character names appear in multiple books by different authors, and you can no longer keep this Kate straight from that Kate. 

It's true. You read one genre, and for whatever reason, the same heroine or hero name comes up again and again. I've read books where both the hero and heroine had the same names as another book I'd just read. Time to read another genre!

3. You not only know what's going to happen, you're "advising" the characters throughout the book. 

"Don't be a dummy, Gretchen. Leo is lying to you about the ex-girlfriend because he's scared that you're the one and he can't handle it. He'll call her in a few chapters. Just wait and see, or, better yet Gretch, don't wait and see. Go on a vacay. You're going to need one."

It's really bad when you've already advised Gretchen by page six. Step away. Open a classic.

4. Every title you've read in the last three months has been a riff on another. 

Broken Memories. Memory Broken. To Break a Memory. Pieces of Memory. Memory in Pieces. Broken Memory Pieces.

5. You've exhausted reading all popular authors in the genre and their back lists.

Guilty! I had a Jodi Thomas infatuation about seven years ago, and trust me, I hunted down her entire back list. Stephanie Laurens? The same. When I find an author I like, I read all their books. When I've read them all, I'm usually burned out. For a year. Then I go back. :)

Do you ever find yourself overly invested in one genre? How do YOU know you need to read something else?

Have a great day!


  1. Haha, this is good, Jill. For awhile, I felt that way with anything close to romcom in insy fiction--not that there's all that much that would fall under the "romcom" heading anyway in CBA. But for awhile I was pretty sure I'd exhausted every funny romance ever in existence.

  2. I love your list, Jill! Your humor is too fun. What's great about being uber familiar with a genre -- ESPECIALLY if you write in that genre -- that you know what NOT to duplicate. Invaluable on every level. :)

    1. It's true about what NOT to duplicate! Sometimes it happens unintentionally. That's life!

  3. You are so funny! I completely agree with #1. At various times in my life I've been convinced I could be time-dropped into Regency England and no one would realize I was from the future. And #4...Broken Memory Pieces!! ROTFL!

    1. I'm terrible, Regina!! Seriously. No research, yet I'm an expert! Ugh!!

  4. Love this!! Probably because I can so relate:) Just not sure if I can step's like chocolate, sweetly addicting;)

  5. I never stayed in a genre - usually it was one author who caught my fancy.

    These days I read a lot of history and memoir. I stay away from reading a lot of fiction, because I tend to mimic style without noticing it.


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