An Experiment in Genre Jumping

by Bruce Blake

I’m trying something new.

My hairstyle

My hairstyle

No, it’s not a new hairstyle..if you’ve had a look at my picture, you’ll get the joke. Nor is it a new suit, a new locale, or a fresh outlook on life. I’m quite happy with all those things (including the hairstyle), though my suits are probably due for a trip to the cleaner.

No, my experiment is a switch of genres. I have five novels available ( if you don’t have them yet, here’s a link–run over and get them, I’ll wait), all of them in the broad genre of fantasy. My latest project is erotica.

Right, so you’re probably thinking to yourself  “but Scott Bury, who writes for this very site, is also writing erotica”…and you’d be correct. In fact, I had the…ahem…pleasure of doing some proofreading of Scott’s soon-to-be-released One Shade of Red and, trust me, you’ll enjoy it. Just make sure you are either alone when you read it or with someone you like…a lot. But the fact someone else is genre jumping in a similar manner doesn’t make it easier; it’s still challenging.

But wait…it gets worse.

Sorry, not a very sexy pirate

Sorry, not a very sexy pirate

The story is set in the mid 17th century and involves Mediterranean corsairs. So now not only am I writing in a slightly uncomfortable genre where I have to detail the lives of sexy people doing sexy things, but I also have to research the damn thing. Remember, I’m a fantasy author; I’m used to making shit up, and most of it ain’t sexy.

Sounds challenging, right? There’s more! It is also a serial. Yes, a serial, like the old Batman episodes that accompanied feature films, once upon a time. Each part of six in total will run between 15000 and 20000 words. They have to feel somewhat complete, but still have a cliffhanger at the end. The first part comes out on April 1 (“hey, that’s only a couple of days away! Is there a cover kicking around somewhere?” There sure is-look here) and a new installment will be released each month until it is done. So do you see what that imposes on me that I’ve never had to worry about before? A deadline.

After all that, you are probably wondering why I’m doing this to myself. Why would I  go so far outside my comfort zone when I’m experiencing reasonable success with my fantasy books (don’t worry fans, the first draft of  Icarus Fell #3 is close to finished)? The reason why I have chosen to take a poke at erotica (pun intentional) is also my other challenge with writing it.

The beautiful and literary Miss Rosie Bitts.Photo courtesy of JoAnn Way Photography (www.joannway.smugmug.com)

The beautiful and literary Miss Rosie Bitts.
Photo courtesy of JoAnn Way Photography (www.joannway.smugmug.com)

I’m writing it with my wife.

You can probably see how hard it could be…sorry, I meant difficult…for a man and wife to write erotica together. First of all, we don’t actually write it together. If we did, I’m sure not much actual writing would happen–we would spend too much time in research. No, we plan and outline together, I write, she reads and does rewrites and tells me I have no idea what it’s like to be a woman, then I rewrite, then we both do final edits. See the challenge? As unlikely as it might sound, we’re still married and still like each other…perhaps it’s because of the research. (By the way, she insists on writing the sex scenes, but I try not to read anything into that)

At the end of all those challenges, I think we’re going to end up with a pretty darn good story. So if you think you might like sexy pirates, keep your eye open for The Invitation, part 1 of The Lady Corsairs, available April 1.

We decided she should have top billing on the project, which is probably for the best. Take a look at her picture…wouldn’t you rather know they’re her dirty stories than mine?

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3 comments on “An Experiment in Genre Jumping

  1. I like to think I’ve been a little more involved in the process.
    I’ve enjoyed the collaborative, back and forth style of this creative endeavor. Especially when we have to stop for “coffee breaks” in the middle of writing 😉

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