12 December 2020

Jack of All Trades

If you’ve ever tried writing anything longer than a work e-mail, you have an idea of how hard it can be for an author to put fingers to the keyboard and produce a work of fiction or non-fiction. Authors have different methods of writing. Some map everything out on post-its or note cards. Others jot things down in notebooks. Still, others just write until the vague notion in their brains comes to life. One thing many authors do, though, is stick to one genre when writing. Not so for some famous names, though. 

Also Known As 

For some authors, the best way to divide their work into different categories is to write each one under a different name. Take Daniel Handler, author of adult fiction novels Bottle Grove: A Novel and We Are Pirates. You may have read these novels. You may have not even heard of them. What you probably don’t know is that author Daniel Handler goes by another, more unforgettable name: Lemony Snicket. Mr. Handler writes comedic adult fiction while his alter-ego Mr. Snicket produces fantastic works of young adult fiction. Anne Rice writes fantasy fiction but uses the name A. N. Roquelaure for her racier works. 

No Use Hiding 

Some authors write in multiple genres but don’t bother with a pseudonym. It’s all down to a personal preference. When you run into Stephen King, you can ask him directly why he writes both horror fiction and crime novels without using a nom de plume. Jacqueline Woodson writes in both the same fields as Daniel Handler, but she uses her own name in both places. Then there’s Isabel Allende, who’s produced works of non-fiction in addition to her mystery and ‘magical realism’ novels. The truly prolific Neil Gaiman writes children’s books, short plays, comic books and poetry. 

While conventional wisdom from the publishing world tells authors to stick to what works best for them, sometimes branching out into something new brings both new success and new fulfillment.

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