Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Koda Post 4

This weeks Koda Post is something a little different to what we've shared with you in the past, so hold on to your seats as your in for a ride.

Hippity Hop, Where to Stop?

I have a problem with my writing. I didn’t realize I’d had this problem until yesterday, when I began thinking about a new story involving a character I’d created over a year ago, and have had on my mind ever since.

You see, the character was created for an online role play, and he’s 11. So is his girlfriend, who is a very sweet girl for someone who wants to perform dark magic. Yes, she’s a witch, and my character, Kerry, is a budding wizard, and I have a supportive Muse who wants me to write their story.

I’ve never thought about doing Young Adult before. Sure, it’s sort of fantasy, and I’ve already decided to place their story in a universe I created for last year’s NaNoWriMo. So where is the problem?

It comes from wondering, “Am I getting into a genre that I have no business being in? Because, I’m already in like three—“
When you examine the works of authors, you tend to notice that they don’t stray from their comfort zone very often. While Theodor Geisel did, at one point, write some nifty propaganda during World War II, his real claim to fame was children’s books. Stephen King tends to stick to horror and mainstream drama. James Elroy is into his own brand of straight-up mysteries and political thrillers.

But where do I place myself?

I’ve a self published modern-day horror story, and I’m working on another. I’ve also finished a science fiction trilogy, as well as written another story in that same universe. And, my NaNo Novel, it’s pretty much a combination of science fiction and fantasy—though with magic, vampires, and a demoness in the mix, it’s really more paranormal fantasy than science fiction.

Is it wrong to flop all over the place, trying different genres like this?

No, I don’t think so . . .

I’m a firm believer in two things. One, your story should be as long as is needed to tell your story. If three thousand words does the trick, so be it. If you need thirty-five thousand, it’s what you want to do, right? Don’t cut it, or lengthen it unnecessary, to get your story told. The writer controls the tale, not the other way around. (I know, some of you are saying, “My characters control my story!” Right. And fairies with gossamer wings bring me my ideas. You are the ruler of your universe; slap those characters around and show them how to act!)

And the second thing I believe: if you have a tale to tell, does the genre really matter as long as you get your story told?
When it comes right down to it, stories are drama. Yes, you can write comedy, but that’s definitely not me; I am not a funny person. But regardless if it’s horror, paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, or mystery, it’s still, at the core, drama. And that’s what you go for. You go for the drama, and add in the trappings of the world that is (enter name of your selected genre here).

I mean, what is Young Adult? A different kind of drama, that’s what. And while Annie and Kerry’s story may be a little harsh in places, YA had grown up considerably in the last two decades. I should go back further than that, because Edgar Pangborn’s “Davy”, and Robert C. O’Brien’s “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH”, and “Z for Zachariah”, were considered science fiction young adult from the 1960’s and 70’s, and they weren’t afraid to go places other YA novels of the time didn't.

The story calls to me, and if it needs to be written a certain way, in a certain genre, so be it. There’s nothing wrong, in fact, with being able to bridge other genres anyway.

I mean, we’re all writers . . . just write. It’ll all make sense in the end.

This weeks posting was brought to you by Raymond Frazee


  1. Quite a number of writers write for more than one genre. They used to hide under pen names but more and more are coming out of the closet. Look up Jayne Ann Krantz with 3 names or James Patterson who is expected within the end of the year to have at least one book out in every genre. David Weber writes sci fi and now young adult sci fi. Those were 3 I could think of without giving the topic any thought. There are many more. So go for it Raymond.

    1. Oh, I understand the pen names thing; Alice Sheldon was famous for her pseudonyms. Interesting story: years back I bought a paperback titled, "The Long Walk," and about half way through I remember saying, "Wow, this guy's style is a lot like Stephen King's." Well, we all know what happened to Richard Bachman . . .

      The point I was going for was that a lot of writers, particularly those starting out, sort of can't decide if they should write in this genre, and once they do, can they go over to that one? I'm like, "Write. Enjoy. And if you want to try that genre, go for it." We put too many restrictions on ourselves when we write some times. Rather, we should feel free to experiment.

      I'll probably have a pen name one day. After all, when I've become globally famous, I know I'll get a message from a fan saying, "Did you really write that piece of erotica called (title here)? Because it was trash!" At that point I'll tell them, "That wasn't me; that was my evil twin." Everyone should have an evil writing twin.

  2. Good article. I like the idea of slapping my characters around. I do have a violent streak! LOL

    1. I used to run a lot of role playing games, and I would always tell my players, "No matter how big you think you're characters are, I'm god. And god always wins in the end."

      Sure, my characters get to do a lot of things. But that's only because I let them. No free will for those monkeys: they dance for ME!!!