Monday, October 21, 2013

Too much, Too Little

I’ve recently read an article about James Franco, which posed the question, “What, Exactly, Is James Franco Doing?” In the article, it talks about his many works in the arts, such as acting, teaching classes, he’s in a band, writes short stories, but because of all his ambitious endeavors, it has left him with a “lack of definition.” He’s done so much, that you wonder just exactly who he is and what he is doing.

I like James Franco. This article made me think about him and his achievements, yet I never really thought about ‘lack of definition’. His movies range from blockbusters to artsy, independent films. He reaches to great lengths to stretch out and embrace his likes. But really, who is James Franco? What mold does he fit into? Would we be surprised with anything else he attempts to do? For me, I’d have to say I wouldn’t be amazed. James Franco hasn’t defined himself as an actor, band member, writer, teacher, so I somewhat lost interest in his continued new attempts in the arts.

Too much, too little. It made me think about writers and genres. If a writer spreads s/he wings and ventures out into several writing styles, do they lack definition? Will readers find it difficult to connect with the author, therefore discouraging interest in their writings?

In some cases, spreading yourself too thin can cause an over-the-top reaction—an undefined overachiever. With writers, I think attempting new styles of writing, such as screenwriting, poetry, and short stories, only enhances their achievements and makes us wonder about other possibilities. It’s a great thing for a writer to move outside their comfort zone and try new genres. Sometimes writing within one genre style can become one-dimensional. Then again, some writers want to be genre-defined. I think other styles of writing help spark the muse, and bring the writer to new levels. A writer showing diversity demonstrates to readers that they are not afraid to experiment, and experiment alone heightens interest because of the unknown—shifting away from the cliché and mundane writing styles of so many.

What do you think? Is too much, too little for writers, or does diversity spark more interest?

Too much and Definition,


  1. I've struggled with the whole idea of genre since I started trying to write my book. As a reader, I'm just not particularly drawn to most genre fiction. I've settled on psychological suspense as fitting the plots my present and future novels. I think it's very important to focus, but not detrimental if a writer doesn't. In the end, it's about finding the right readers for your work. I'm drafting some travel memoirs, which will appeal to a different set of readers than my short stories. As for suspense and mystery, I"ve got a lot to learn ;)

    1. As a reader, I don't read a several different genres. I'm usually drawn to women and historical fiction. As a writer, I didn't want to fit into one genre category.

      I agree. Writings must find the right readers, but as a reader, if I like an author, I'll read other works of theirs even though it might not be the same type of writing.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Denise - I nominated you for an award on my new post. Here's the link:

    1. Thank you so much, Pat. I appreciate the award and for you willing to add my words to a photo of yours. Very touching.

  3. I can't post to your blog from my iPad. That is a bit annoying (blogger issue). I honestly think the only writers that fit into one genre are the ones who will only ever write a few books.

    For the writers that spend much of their time writing, that would cut their income drastically. You have to be versatile and willing to spend time not only in other genres but also nonfiction work too.

    With blogging, most writers have become a new kind of journalist just like writers long before the growth of the internet. Magazines and newspapers were once the mainstay of many writers. Books are the things you work on after you do the stuff that puts food on the table.

    1. Sorry to hear that you have problems posting with your iPad. I noticed that one of my comments from last week on one of your blogs didn't show up. It is annoying.

      I'm not as committed as you are to blogging, but I'm trying to get back on track to post at least once a month. It's taking me a while to budget my time for writing, blogging, promoting, reading other blogs, etc. I'll get it down one of these days.