Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thursday Thoughts

Good grief, I started this blog three different times, writing about three different subjects, and I just couldn't get into any of them. Aargh! I'm uninspired today. Then I started thinking about genres and how they're progressively changing, and I have strong opinions about this. Well, there you go. That's my topic for today's blog.

My name is Karen and I'm a genre bender. That's right, I admit it. I braid genres like a sailor braids knots in a rope. I twist adventure with mythology and thread romance through it while coloring the strands with paranormal elements ranging from the traditional to the totally made-up. I'm a crooked storyteller and proud of it.

I can't write a straight anything. I've tried. I get bored. I like to mix it up and I love reading other books that mix it up. I'm very excited to see more and more genre benders on the shelves and I feel this trend of multiple genre bending is on the rise, but it's a tough sell to agents and publishers who are afraid to take risks.

I think it's funny how so many of the small presses have taken on genre-benders when the big mass market publishers turned them away. If it's new, the big guys look at it askance, then wait and watch to see how the little guys do with it. When the new genre blend becomes popular, the big guys swoop in and make a killing. I just wish the smaller publishers could reap more reward than they do for taking the risk in the first place.

I'm thinking about all this genre stuff as I go through the sloooow and laborious process of finding an agent to champion my genre-bending book. Who will dare to take on something different? I mean, if any agent was to ask me what my book was similar to, all I could do is blink. My novel's not similar to anything else I've read. So does that mean it's the red-headed bastard step child of fiction? Or is it the proverbial diamond in the rough. For my sake, I hope it's the latter.

It's good to be fresh and original, and to write outside the box as long as you can still tell what the box is. I'm not exactly sure I've accomplished this, but I've sure tried. And I love the result. Question is, will an agent love it, too? How about you? What is it about your writing that makes your story unique?


Catie said...

Iiiii don't think I'm a genre-bender. I think what makes my books work is I have a very distinct voice--which is most heavily present in its natural form in the Walker Papers--but I'm pretty good at changing that voice to suit new characters without losing the basic knack of telling a good story...


Krista said...

Good question.

I'm not so much a genre-bender as a genre-mixer. Usually my WIPs are a slightly unbalanced mix of my two favorite genres: fantasy and romance. I say unbalanced because some stories tend to be romance heavy while others are definitely lean more toward scifi/fantasy. All I know for certain is that I can't write anything without throwing romance into the mix.