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Writing for Multiple Lines

December 13, 2005 by in category Blogs tagged as with 3 and 0
Home > Writing > Blogs > Writing for Multiple Lines

By Crystal Green

It’s great to be back in OCC territory!

My name is Chris Green (writing as Crystal Green for Harlequin Silhouette), and I’m now an out-of-town member who misses coming to the meetings very much. If you haven’t met me, you might not know that I write Silhouette Special Editions and Bombshells, Harlequin Blazes, plus single title vampire books for Berkley. Yes, just a few different genres and romance sub-genres—and that’s what I’m blogging about today.

Writing for multiple lines.

There are a lot of authors out there who believe that writing in such an unfocused manner is a negative, and I absolutely understand their reasoning. “Branding” (making your name an easily identifiable product) is important to sales, and spreading out your “brand” (or what the audience expects from the author) only serves to hurt you in the long run. I can tell you firsthand that this is a scary situation for me because, oftentimes, a reader doesn’t know what kind of story I’ll be giving them from one month to another. They can’t depend on a definite “comfort read” from me. It makes Crystal Green, as a product, hard to pin down.

But my creative side loves that.

True, writing different types of stories is a business risk, but in my case, sticking to one thing is a quick road to burn out. First, I have eclectic tastes anyway—for instance, I read three books at a time and they’re all from different genres. This is obviously reflected in my writing: I love challenge and variety (Key words, here!). Second, I know that if I created stories for just one line, I wouldn’t be able to write as much as I do now. This past year, I had six original releases (that number isn’t including two reissues). Next year, I’ll have about four, but that’s because these single-title fantasy Berkley Vampire Underground books take much more time (as do Bombshells). In order to keep up this pace, I need constant challenge and variety. Let me explain further: my “home line” (where I made my first sale) is Special Edition; these books are known for their “home-and-hearth/community” qualities and the stories speak to the innocent side of me that loves a good happy ending. Blaze stories, which are “hot and steamy” romances, give me the chance to get a little wild. Bombshells feature more complex plots and they allow me to get a lot darker (I’ve written a vampire book—THE HUNTRESS—as well as a murder mystery that’ll be released in fall, 2006.). And then there are the Berkley Vampire Underground books…. These combine emotion, steaminess, mystery, adventure, and fantasy, so they’re a stew of everything else I write. So, you see, I’m getting plenty of that challenge and variety.

Third, and this is maybe the most important item for me, when I think of a story idea, it doesn’t always fit into a certain line. I go with what excites me, and that can be just about anything. When I thought of the concept for THE HUNTRESS, I was writing for Special Edition and Blaze. Sure, I was wary about taking on another line, but, daggonit, I really wanted to do this book. Branding was the last thing that would soothe the creative monster in me, so I went for it. And you know what? That decision is redefining my career—it led to my three-book deal with Berkley and is taking me in different directions daily.

Business versus creativity—that’s my biggest struggle right now. But everyone has to deal with it, and you have to come up with your own solutions. What’s the right decision for you? How is each story idea going to affect your career and/or your well-being?

I hope this gives you something to chew on. Happy Holidays and all the best. : )

THE HUNTRESS has been re-released this month as TWICE BITTEN, a vampire story collection that also contains Erica Orloff’s URBAN LEGEND. You’ll find PAST IMPERFECT, Crystal’s next Special Edition, on shelves this month, too. Additionally, stay tuned for a release date for the first Vampire Underground book from Berkley.
To keep current with Chris/Crystal, visit her Web site at
www.crystal-green.com, where there’s a great contest going on right now….

3 Comments

  • Anonymous
    on December 18, 2005

    But that time is far away for me…LOL I want to explore *grin*

  • Anonymous
    on December 18, 2005

    It’s a scary thing to think about–a real balancing act. I’m still trying to find a good balance, too. There comes a point where a writer might feel that they’re writing for too many lines, and then they have to decide what to weed out and what to keep–and what they keep should complement the other parts of your career.

    : )
    Chris/Crystal

  • Anonymous
    on December 14, 2005

    Thanks for sucha great post Chris! I often find myself wantign to explore other sub genres and thiis very encouraging. 🙂

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