I read romantic fiction. I write romantic fiction. I read the blogs of fellow romantic fiction writers. For years (well except the blog part because that's fairly new) that was my world. I lived in a fuzzy, warm, pink bubble. It was really nice. Mostly, it still is. But part of me got an itch. An itch to explore other worlds because, frankly, I was bored with mine.
So I braved the unknown and started reading outside of my genre. Robert B. Parker hooked me the way Johanna Lindsey did way back when. I devoured his Spencer books. Then came Stephen Coonts. And after that Stuart Woods. I also explored western writers, William W. Johnstone and Larry McMutry. Not only did I enjoy these authors stories and writing styles, but I learned how to write tighter. How to take advantage of different POVs. Oh, and how men think.
I started noticing a change in my own writing. It wasn't conscious, but the words poured onto the page in a slightly different way. I'm still writing romantic fiction. It's what comes naturally. It's a genre that allows me to explore certain aspects of life and to spread messages that are important to me. But it's also important to me that I have a unique voice within that genre. I don't want to blend in, and that's an easy pitfall if your only influences are other authors/books within your chosen genre.
Not blending in, means stretching out. No more exclusive living in the fuzzy, warm, pink bubble. For this writer it means opening myself up to other influences. That extends to blog reading. Yes, I still frequent the blogs of other romantic fiction writers. They're my peeps, so to speak. We talk the same lingo, share the same ups and downs. But I now visit an equal number of blogs written by screenwriters, actors, directors, and authors outside of the romance genre.
Here's the thing. We're all storytellers. There is something to be learned by everyone. If even a teensy bit of their wisdom pertaining to craft rubs off on me than Glory Be! I'll be a more well-rounded, more vibrant writer (and person) because of it.
I write romantic fiction and I love it. But in the words of Cole Porter, Don't Fence Me In.
I don't want be pink. I want to be a rainbow.