Guest Post- Changing Genres

Article by Robin Leigh Morgan

Some of us who have chosen to write fiction come from a variety of places. And by “a variety of places,” I’m not referring to a physical location; I’m referring to our writing experiences.

There are some of us who have enjoyed writing since we were children, and each year, by writing something in school, it improved. For some of us, it continued until we graduated college and began working. Some of us entered the work force taking jobs, which required us to write, whether it was procedures, handbooks/manuals, or news stories. But all of these are non-fiction, and each one has a set of “rules” that need to be followed to write something well enough to be acceptable.

As for myself, while my regular job did not require me to write, for eleven years I wrote articles [commentaries/viewpoints] of what was happening in my community and my feelings about it. When I started to write these items, my writing skills were not honed. I didn’t have my ideas organized in a tight manner, although my writing had been informative. By the time I’d written my last item, I’d become quite adept at it.

When I started to write fiction, I somehow drifted to writing a contemporary romance story with a paranormal element running through the storyline, but after almost 9 years I still hadn’t completed it. That is, until someone suggested I should write for a much younger audience, which is what I did, cumulating in my first YA Paranormal/Time Travel/First Kiss romance novel entitled I Kissed a Ghost.

Anyway, making the transition from non-fiction to fiction, I’ve had to learn a new set of rules on how to write. Most of these involved dialogue, showing not telling, where before I just told. I now had to learn about the use of tags. I had to learn not to be overly descriptive of something, but allow my reader to create the image for themselves in their minds. In the beginning I found it hard to break my old writing habits. Now I’m finding myself with these habits essentially gone. The biggest issue I still have and am trying to get a good handle on, is POV [Point of View]. Regardless of what’s happening or being said it has to be in one character’s perspective, and you can’t flip-flop between two characters within a scene. There needs to be a transition from one character to another.

All these things have helped me mold myself into the author I’m today. I’ve also learned there are additional rules within a genre, depending on the sub-genre you’ve decided to write in. These rules apply to the dialogue spoken, which needs to be true to the time period you’re writing in, as well as how your characters are dressed, and their titles, if any, as is the case with the regencies sub-genre of romance novels.

So as you can see, writing is not merely a string of words you put together. There are rules that need to be followed if you’re to be well received by your readers.

If you have any questions, I’d love to hear from you.

I’m a retired NYC civil servant who has been married for 19 years with no children. We have two cats, a senior Maine Coon with diabetes, and a 10-year-old calico. For my second romance novel I’ve returned to writing the Contemporary romance I wrote about in my post.

I Kissed a Ghost is available on Amazon at:  

The Kindle version should become available around April 24, 2013.

If anyone would like to read several UNEDITED SNIPPETS from the book you can find under the category of “GHOSTLY WHISPERS” on any my blog sites: or 


You can also find me on:




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Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 6 local papers online, including the Oakland Press.The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]

5 thoughts on “Guest Post- Changing Genres

  1. This is brilliant Robin!! Talk about great timing- I’ve been trying out new genre as well and it has really taken some time to work through the learning curve. Your insight is helpful and appreciated. I was pretty upset when I struggled so much in the beginning. I lost a lot of the confidence I had built up and began to question if I had any ability to write at all. Slowly I realized that I was writing under “new rules” so there was bound to be a severe learning curve. It’s comforting to know that professionals like yourself need to learn new things along the way as well . Thanks for sharing your insights!

    • Hi Vicky

      Sorry for the delay in responding. I keep on forgetting I don’t get notified when I do a guest post on someone else’s site.
      I glad the insight I gave you from my own experience. When I started to write a Contemporary romance I had so many errors point out in a critique session on only about 5 pages, I felt if someone had pulled the rug from under me.
      Now with my first YA romance under my belt I’ve returned to writing that contemporary romance I’d started so many years ago with the knowledge I’ve gained. However, I recognized the fact I’ve got some new rules to learn which are part of writing in this genre as compared to the rules for writing a YA romance, part of which I’d learned by going to the critique group I went to in the past.

    • Susan, when I started writing those commentaries about 18 years ago I was a novice as well, However, as time progressed over the next 11 years I became more adept in my writing. By the time I stopped I could write a 1,000 word first draft in about 45 minutes, I also found the strength of my words had improved as well, being able to say more with less words. I’m glad my insight as helped you see that you’re not alone in the frustration you’ve been feeling.

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