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Changing Tack

Tony Parsons writes highly successful novels about family, love and loss, but as a change of tack has decided to give crime fiction a go. Read his interview with GQ Magazine here.


How was the process of writing the novel as a venture into new territory?
It was a gamble. But you have to take chances sometimes.

[Q&A taken from the same GQ interview – above link]

Should we all hurl ourselves out of comfort zone and try something different – this isn’t just limited to writing. I have no doubt that, while it may have been enjoyable and a thrill for Tony Parsons to try his hand at crime fiction, it wouldn’t have been a walk in the park. But is that an excuse to prevent us?

Even though it’s not limited to writing, let’s stick to it; should we all venture into new territory?

We all could give it a go. Even if it’s not something that we would publish, maybe it’ll just be a good tool for writers. I’ve often spoken about reading different genres from what you normally do – so why not write the genres you might not normally do? I would probably give it a go, purely as a writing exercise; as a way to push my creativity – and skills – beyond what I normally would.

For me, a writer (and reader) of historical fiction, I’m also a fan of fantasy. And it’s this genre I might well try. In historical fiction you create fiction out of reality. Every detail (mostly) is there for you in historical documents – what the people wore, their religions, politics, speech, what the places were like etc etc. But with fantasy the world is one you fully create.


If I were to give it a go, it will just be as an exercise (although you never know). I’d plan the novel as if I were to write it, creating the world, the characters, the plots and everything else in between.

The main advantages you could get is to broaden your creative mind; to think out of the box, and try other ways of creating stories. And secondly, you never know. You  may not get a full novel out of it, but you may grab a single plot-line or fall in love with a character you’ve created that you probably may never have created in your ‘usual’ novel preparations.

Of course the main disadvantage is, or at least for me, is time. Do I have the time to embark upon something entirely new without the guarantee that something will come out of it in the end. Well, I guess that’s just writing generally. With everything we embark upon whether it’s in our chosen genre or not its always a bit of a gamble whether the story and her characters will work.

But whatever the outcome of the gamble, it could just be a little bit of fun. And while writing is hard work, it still should be fun. If we didn’t think writing was fun we wouldn’t write right? So why not get back to the basics of writing and have a little bit of creative fun.


One comment on “Changing Tack

  1. Really enjoyed reading this. Like most writers, aspiring or otherwise, I try to read genres outside my usual preferences or comfort zone, but it’s not often I venture into new writing territory – your post here as given me reason to pause for thought on that… thanks…

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