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  • Writer's pictureKate O'Connor

University is hard, man

Two weeks in to Trimester 2, and guess how far behind I am? If you guessed two weeks, you'd be spot on! Catching up on lectures on this lovely Sunday evening (I originally typed Friday and you have no idea how much it hurt me to realise that was wrong), and Dracula is beckoning me to come read some more.

But before I do that, I wanted to muse a little bit over the unit I'm doing this trimester. It's called From Horror To Romance: Genre and It's Revisions. We're focusing on Horror, Crime, Lifestyle, Sci Fi and Romance. The lecture I just watched was about genre in general, how they change and evolve over time in response to societal values. It's going to be an interesting unit for sure, and one with an actual published author as the lecturer!

The discussion about genres got me thinking. I knew a long time ago that I wanted to write horror novels. I love them. Stephen King has been a huge influence (in case you haven't already figured that out). But as it turns out, I apparently write a pretty good romance story as well. So I started thinking about writing romance under a pen name. I've come to realise, however, that this may not be the best idea. As it turns out, readers sometimes feel betrayed when they find out the author to their favourite book or series is someone else. The last thing I would ever want to do is disappoint anyone who had come to enjoy my work. But I still worry that writing both horror and romance under one name might not work out. Research tells me that it has worked for plenty of authors, and that pen names aren't as popular as they were years ago when there were plenty of reasons to have one, e.g. women wanting to be taken seriously so they write under a male name, or when traditional publishing only allowed an author to publish one book a year but the author wrote more than that and so published under a pseudonym. Those restrictions no longer really apply in today's world.

So is it only my fear of being labelled a smutty romance author and not being taken seriously when it comes to horror? Or is it a genuine concern to have? I know there's nothing wrong with writing romance. Hell, it's the biggest selling genre out there. Danielle Steele? Nora Roberts (who actually writes futuristic sci fi police stuff under a pen name)? These women make astronomical amounts of money out of writing romance. I know I could bang out a romance novel in a lot less time than I could a horror one. So could writing romance get me into the publishing world and see me through while I work on a horror novel? Could I publish horror and romance in the same year and have the books treated as separate from each other?

The ridiculous thing is, none of this matters if I don't actually write something of substance. If I never sit down to work on a novel, horror or romance, I'll never have anything to publish and the whole conundrum will become nonexistent. Is this another way of sabotaging myself into not even trying? I do have a nasty habit of getting way ahead of myself...

Right. Get the story out first, then deal with whatever comes next.

Ok Dracula, I'm coming.

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