I am pleased to have Benny Neylon on the blog today to discuss Multiple-Genre Writer Syndrome and of course, his favorite tea 😉 Benny is the author of several books, including two collections of short stories set in contemporary Ireland (Yarns, and Thumbprints), as well as his first novel, NSA.
He also happens to have a fantastic sense of humor and is a true pleasure to correspond with. Please help me welcome him. Thank you for taking the time to share and visit today Benny!
Benny has also offered to generously give away all 4 of his current eBooks to 5 lucky winners. This will be open internationally, so stick around!
Multiple-Genre Writer Syndrome
Help, I think I’ve got Multiple-Genre Writer Syndrome.
It’s okay, MGWS is not that rare – you’re going to be just fine.
Who are you, and what the heck do you know about it?
I’m Benny, and I too am a multiple genre writer.
Forgive me if I sound a little suspicious–
I am, really! I’ve written microfiction, essays, screenplays, short stories and novels in sci-fi, non-fiction, contemporary fiction, satire, thriller and parody. Hell, I’ve even dabbled in freeform poetry and haikus… what can I say, I’m sick!
Why is this happening to me? All I wanted to do was write a steampunk series and now I’m midway through penning a historical romance and a self-help manual!
I don’t know; it’s just how it goes with MGWS… That said, here are four off-the-cuff unproven signs you might have MGWS:
- You read voraciously and sponge up information, squeezing it into that giant soup cauldron we call the human skull. Later (usually inconveniently late at night), stories fall out, not always in the genre you’d imagine: [Thumbprints, my short story collection, materialised just like this.]
- You think to yourself, “Why the hell not? There are so many interesting things to write about, so many different styles of writing possible, that it would be an absolute shame not to try more than one.” I mean, would you want to go through life having sampled only one kind of tea, when the greatest tea in the world – Pukka’s Three Tulsi, see below 😉 – might have passed you by?
- You have developed a mental crutch to deal with those moments when you are struggling to write or edit one particular story: by switching to a completely different genre, you create a workaround for writer’s block. Then, when you return to your first story, it’s as if the barrier has melted away. [For example, I wrote The Holiest Bible Ever – a short and irreverent retelling of Genesis – as I wrestled with the form and message of NSA, my first novel.]
- Deliberate practice: you are a keen student of scientific methods and strive for excellence, figuring that working across different genres will make you a more complete writer because science.
[More unsubstantiated theories are available on request.]
Well then, what can I expect to stay the same with MGWS?
–Your voice: each writer’s voice is unique, from the way you arrange words, to where the focus is (or isn’t) in a scene, to what you as narrator notice in the world you have created. Unless you are consciously aping the style of another writer, that voice – your voice – shines through, whatever the genre.
–The end goal: creating fiction for others to enjoy, completing a work you are proud of, and crafting a story with something to say. You don’t need to force social or political commentary into your work, but just knowing that your story has brightened someone’s day will always be worthwhile.
That all sounds good… what’s going to be different?
–Your level of organisation may need to step up a notch with MGWS. Writing in a single genre, a particular character could drop seamlessly into one story from another; this is clearly not the case with MGWS. You must isolate and compartmentalise your genres, put them in separate buildings (or computer folders) and securely patrol the perimeters, to prevent handcuff-loving musclebound hotties from your erotica novella inappropriately slipping into your WWII-era historical thriller.
Putting the ‘mental’ in Compartmentalisation
–With MGWS, there is no cosy niche. Your efforts to find readers will be spread broad but thin, rather than focused in on one particular area. On the other hand, your work has the potential to reach a wider range of people, and if a reader loves your writer’s voice, they might just be willing to follow your writing and try a new genre, so everyone’s a winner!
So overall, you’re saying the outlook is…?
Positive and sunny – embrace the freedom of MGWS and enjoy writing about (almost) anything!
Want to know more? Ask any question on multiple-genre writing in the comments below and probably definitely receive at least one answer.
About Benny Neylon:
Benny was hand-reared on a farm in the west of Ireland and is currently alive in Barcelona. Previously, he worked in Europe, Africa and North America as a structural engineer.
His latest book and first novel is NSA, a political satire in the vein of Catch-22.
Benny is also the author of two collections of short stories – Yarns and Thumbprints – set in rural and urban Ireland, respectively. The Holiest Bible Ever, his third book, “finds the funny” in a retelling of the Book of Genesis. He is presently working on a science-fiction short story collection and a steampunk novel, amongst other things (He has MGWS, after all).
Benny’s Favourite Tea: Pukka’s Three Tulsi.
Type: Infusion (Bag)
Drunk: Hot water and patience
Website Description: “Sacred is the herb that shows you the way […] green tulsi for sweeping away the clutter, then purple tulsi for uplifting the spirits, and to finish lemon tulsi with a zesty twist to inspire you onwards.”
(But an honorable mention to Nomad Coffee, roasting coffee right around the corner from me in Barcelona)
*Must be 18 yrs of age or older to enter and have a valid email address. All winners will be announced on social media and contacted via email. This giveaway is provided by the author.