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Posts Tagged ‘genre’

I have often talked about my love of space, and my personal belief (hope?) that there is other life out in the universe. For long-term readers, you may even remember I took a course on Astrobiology because of this interest.

For every academically rigorous course there is a more niche set of beliefs in abduction, ancient aliens and so on which I also lap up, watching tv programmes, films, and reading articles.

I won’t travel that road today, but maybe I will in the future!

This fascination with ETs is something I have often considered bringing into my writing – after all, there is clearly an audience for sci-fi and it’s something I find really exciting; I’m sure I could retain interest in the ideas.

The traditional ‘pioneers’ route is not my writing style at all; it’s more like a Western or perhaps even a historical empire-type novel transferred to a different location, and that’s not what I write. But could I write about a family living on a moon over the far side of the Milky Way? Probably.

The question is, would anyone read it? My genre is women’s commercial fiction. Genre writing generally – not always – follows certain rules and although the rules can be subverted there is no saying an audience would be interested. A tale of love amongst the stars might sound fun, but would someone shopping for a new book to take on holiday pick it over a story they could immediately relate to their own life?

I honestly don’t know the answer to that. I would pick it, but I’m not representative of my target audience! And as my first book hasn’t been picked up (yet) which may in part be due to its slightly contentious subject matter, should I worry whether it’ll be read anyway? If I want to write it, I just should.

One of my new exercises is to map out ideas and see if they have any real merit. Maybe I’ll have a special session for extra terrestrial stories and see what comes of it…

Who knows, a story about Out There might not be as out there as I think!

Happy writing,
EJ
🙂

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I have done a lot of reading this week. Three novels to be precise, by writers separated by a mix of gender, age, nationality and time period.

I compared them, seeing what drew me into them: characters, storylines, ideas, genre, settings all had an impact on my way of perceiving them, and it gave me a chance to think about what skills I need to develop in my own writing.

I was surprised how much the storyline of the third book appealed to me, as it was a crime novel, a modern-style ‘whodunnit’. I have found this genre more enticing over the last year or so, but historically it’s not really been that interesting to me and has never been what I would choose to write.

And yet… I think that might be a great way to get back into the art of writing. To try out a new challenge and a new genre. Not with any intention of getting a full novel or a marketable piece of work from it; more because I want to get myself out of the writing slump I am in right now.

There is something that puts me off completing my current work in progress, a sense that the tangled histories can’t be portrayed effectively using my natural style of writing.  The plot is there, the setting is there, the idea is there – but I am not sure I am able to sell it.  I think exploring a ‘whodunnit’ idea might help me with this block in my approach.  It will allow me to test out ways to mislead and misdirect the reader in a way that commercial fiction doesn’t really allow.

I remember being taught not to introduce ideas or characters that don’t affect story outline but that is precisely where ‘whodunnits’ succeed: they bring in red herrings, lines of enquiry that appear to go nowhere, characters who couldn’t have been the killer.  It is the way their information is used that makes them valuable, and that is the writing skill I want to develop.

So the next few weeks will see me planning a short crime story complete with cast, alibis, motives and of course victim.  If I can get to grips with the filtering of information from unreliable witnesses, untrustworthy narrators and unwilling conspirators I will be ready to go back to the work in progress and make something of it.

And if I can’t, I’ll know I need to consider another approach!

In other news – I am falling behind in the 100 novels list, but suffice it to say I haven’t read 66 or 67.  Now I am exploring the books I inherited I am far more likely to come across obscure and out of print books of the 40s/50s/60s than anything else for a while (just because these are currently the easiest to reach!) I am not going to add to my personal reading list for a while and will simply see where the tales take me!

And finally – with panto rehearsals, my new dance classes, book club and writing group, my evenings are going to be quite busy for the next few weeks, so I am not going to re-start the Thoughts on a Thursday posts yet.  I do, however, hope to get back on track with these once I’ve learnt all my lines and cues for the show.  Having never done any local am dram I may have taken on a bit more than I can chew with this one, but it’s all in good fun…

Happy new year to you all,

EJ

🙂

 

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