Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Is Your Genre Your Life?

Good morning folks!

It's not yet 9:00 a.m. in Texas and I've finished my coffee...although I'm wondering if this is going to turn into one of those "Two-Coffee Days". So far I'm managing without the second one. Go me!

Anyway...the title of this post might be a bit confusing. Genre being your life? Huh? You lost me, Bethany! Here's what I mean...

A comment on my last post made by J.J. triggered the idea for this post (so kudos go to her today).

She mentioned she's writing a YA Paranormal filled with religion, legend, Indiana Jones elements (I'm guessing action/some type of discovery), etcetera. Ironically, I wasn't confused. She had me at YA Paranormal. My brain started clicking with all the possibilities that would fill the pages of her novel. In short, I'd pick it up, have a look and probably read it.

I read a lot of Paranormal/fantasy. Some ghosts. Some vampires. Magic. Fairytales. Time travel. That kind of thing. For example: I got into The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. I've been reading Kerrelyn Sparks' Love At Stake series.

I'm not into all vampire stuff, but if it's got the element of love, sacrifice for love, and characters I can come to love, I'm sure to read it. (I absolutely adore Kerrelyn Sparks' character, the vampire, Gregori. I think he's hailirious).

So what do I mean about living my genre? Well, I read paranormal/romance/fantasy, I write it, I often think in terms of it. People have told me all my life that different things are impossible. Okay, so maybe it's highly unlikely that a centaur's going to gallop through my backyard (ooo, story idea!), or that a unicorn is going to start talking to me, or even that I'll meet a crazy fairy with an odd sense of humor (reference to a character I once wrote named Femme de Noir; she was a bit on the nutty side), but, who's to say other things won't happen? You never know when someone might even train monkeys to wear hula skirts and dance to steel drums (odd, I know, but can't you just picture it?)

The point is, I don't negate wacky ideas simply because they're wacky (unless it's a guy telling me they're the most awesome man that ever existed, then I'll have to put it aside--1. because I can't stand egotistical men, 2. I'm married and could care less, unless it's my husband and 3. they should be acting like puffed up birds to a girl who's interested in them romantically, not wasting their time on me. But you never know when that egotism will make an appearance in a story--whether it be my own story or someone else's).

You never know if it might make a great story line, or just a thought to crack you up when you're on a sugar rush.

Living your genre is letting your brain/imagination run wild with possibilities. If you're a writer, it's about sitting there thinking "What if this happened, and this...and what if this person was this or that?"

I have a friend who generally doesn't like to be asked "what if" questions. He says they're usually made up of things that wouldn't really happen. That's fine for him. He's one of those logical, practical types (although he does love a lot of great fiction...)

For a writer, a "what if" question is often the beginning of a ride through another world...the world of his or her novel (or book proposal, if you're doing nonficition).

A writer has to think in "what if" at least sometimes. Can imagine if Tolkein or C.S. Lewis never sat there and let their imaginations answer the "What if" question? Would we even have The Lord Of The Rings or The Hobbit or any of the Narnia books?

How about if Anne Rice never sat there contemplating what her characters would be like. Would Interview With A Vampire have the same impact if she had just said: "So and so interviewed thus and so vampire, but we know vampires don't actually exist, so the point is moot." Huh? Then what would be the point of the novel?

Just imagine if J.K. Rowling never penned Harry Potter. The world wouldn't have met Hogwart's Castle through her style.

Readers and writers like the "what if" questions when it comes to novels because it opens the door to everything. It opens the door to a young magician going to school to uncover his talents, it opens the door to a sparkling vampire who can't bear the thought of being a threat to his beloved, it opens the door to a talking Lion who's often considered an image of God/Jesus, it brings out the power in a ring, it helped us meet a vampire named Lesat.

That's part of living one's genre. Going through life and suddenly thinking "What if this happened?"

Who's to say one day we won't have a story about monkeys who wear hula skirts and dance to the sound of steel drums? Just because it doesn't necessarily exist, doesn't mean it's impossible for an author to think: "Huh. I wonder if..." or "Hmmm...what if...." Then off and running with some tale about just that.

You never know. When you live your genre it's possible for centaurs to run around in your backyard (like I said, story idea, my brain is clicking!) You just have to know where to look.

Enjoy your genre life :-)

"What if...?"

Have A Wondering Wednesday!


Stephanie Faris said...

I'm pretty sure my life is a romantic comedy...although at times it feels like horror!

bethanyintexas said...


For me the horror could be when I look at my hair in the morning. I'm so lovely. Not. LOL

Regina Milton said...

This is funny and true. I do live in the "what if" of my favorite genres. I'm always thinking something is super secret spy related, or wondering what would happen if certain romantic scenarios came true...I'm always imagining the dialogue between fictional people.

bethanyintexas said...


LOL...guess you got centaurs in your backyard, too, huh? Way to go!

J.J. Bennett said...

Wow...I'm glad I stopped by. It's been a long day for me. But I love your post today Bethany...by the way, I have a character named Beth Ann in my book. (Just thought you'd like to know that.)

The "what if" questions are happening every moment a writer is writing a story. Every choice a writer has when addressing characters and situations all contain this "what if" idea. Without it we couldn't be writers...Just a thought.

Glad I could help out! :)

bethanyintexas said...


That's cool that you have a character named Beth Ann.

Thanks for the inspiration for the post!

J.J. Bennett said...

No problemo! ;)