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Multiple pen-names?

How common is this? Is it something you’ve considered?

Until now, it hadn’t really crossed my mind. I wasn’t concerned because pretty much everything I wrote was speculative in nature, until I decided to revise Mocha Nihilism and publish it…

I am still waiting on feedback from my critique buddies, but one of them said something about it being different to what he expected. He’s read a bunch of my short stories, so it would be fair for him to assume he’d have a rough idea of what he was getting. His comment made me think about how different from my other stuff it is.

I may be taking what he said completely the wrong way (and, I have no idea if it was a good thing or a bad thing – he’s being a hold out until he gets his comments together [I had to write that just in case you’re reading :-P]) but when I compare a story like Birth Rights to Mocha Nihilism – well, they have very little in common!

I do want to write more light stuff, more fun stuff, more stuff set in the real world with no speculative elements. Stories free of killers, and crazies, weird stuff, magic, science, wonder and fantasy (which I totally love, and will continue to write forever).

In your opinion, would it be a good idea to keep the two separate? I would hate to build an expectation with one name, only to frustrate and annoy (and no doubt confuse/lose) readers, because they have found stories that are of a completely different nature.

That said, would that mean I need to build two platforms? Or should I just stop being a genre slut and narrow down my field of focus?

Thoughts welcomed! What would you do?

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Kicking down walls.

When I was a teenager I was firmly dedicated to one type of music. I flooded my room with Nirvana, Offspring, Korn, Disturbed, Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, Hole and other bands like that. I wore the oldest cardigan in the world (it had been my fathers I think) with a million tatty holes in it.  I had bracelets made of paper clips, my nose was pierced and most of my clothes were purchased from op shops. Complete with t-shirt with foreign phrase that I never bothered interpreting. That was a cool T shirt. It had a camel and a palm tree on it.

Anyways….

I flat out refused to listen to anything else. It was part of my identity, and there was no way I would allow my ears to be tainted with other stuff. Not the mainstream. No. Nothing popular. Nothing with mass appeal. I confess there were times I enjoyed something and then got rid of it when it caught on with the in crowd.

Oh boy. It’s kind of embarrassing to admit to really. I was SUCH a music snob. What’s worse is that I was limiting myself by placing that definition on me. I was grunge, baby, I was rock.

These days I listen to a huge variety of music. I’ve finally cast off my self made shackles and enjoy anything that takes my fancy. It spans the range, and may change at any point in time.

Which brings me to my writing.

For so long now I’ve said I’m a writer of speculative fiction. Well, I am. Predominantly. That said, about 20% of what I write, is not.

I know as writers we tend to put ourselves in boxes. We write this genre, or that. But Gods, we’d never consider writing that. I’ve said it before. It’s an easy thing to say: I’ll never write romance. I couldn’t do mystery. Writing about normal people in the real world is boring.

Those are my words. I’ll own them. But I’ll also say that like my music tastes, my writing follows what captures my interest.

We use sentences like the ones above to help us define ourselves, to figure out where we fit into the world and how we relate to those around us. Attaching a genre to our writing is an easy way to identify people who might be like minded, who might make good writing buddies, who might become part of our writers inner circle.

We need to surround ourselves with people who *get* our writing. Who appreciate what we’re working on and what we’re aiming for.

And yet, I find myself currently writing non spec-fic. General fiction, probably. And loving it.

Like my music tastes, my tastes in what I write and read are widening. I’ll give anything a go these days. It doesn’t have to be horror, or science fiction, or some type of fantasy. Whatever takes my fancy.

It’s liberating, kicking down the walls I’ve imposed on myself.

Yes, I’m a writer of speculative fiction. But I also write other stuff 😉

Yes I love to read spec-fic, but if the story is good, if it captures me, then I couldn’t care less what genre it is!