May 30, 2011

What's In A Genre?

I’ve been reading about constructing paranormal novels. It’s interesting, but to be honest I haven’t learned a ton – yet. One thing I did learn was in order to be a paranormal novel, the element of the paranormal must be so integral to the story that if you took it out, you wouldn’t have a story.

Well duh. *Face-palm*

This isn’t exactly breaking news right? I mean, ANY novel you write must have the main element of the genre woven tightly through the plot. What’s Harry Potter without the magic or The Shining without the ghosts?

So, my question of the week is about balancing your books elements and how far you can skew that balance before your book becomes something other than your intended genre.

Case in point: Twilight

Before you throw Oreos at your screen (I know who you are), stick with me. Answer this question:

What genre is Twilight? Go ahead and think about it.

I've seen Meyer's books be lumped in with Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance and Romance.

Meyer's book is an interesting case study to me because it crossed reader (and generational) lines. I know women who would have NEVER picked up a book about vampires (or any other paranormal type romance much less horror or fantasy), but they are DIE HARD Twilight fans.

In fact, Twilight continues to be the only vampire book they have ever read. These women prefer sweet romance, chick-lit, rom-coms and women's literary titles. Bodice rippers are too much for them. Reading Twilight didn't send them to the bookstore with their money clutched tightly in their hands looking for more vampire/human romances. Why? Because these women know that 90% of the time vampires are creepy and the concept of being in love with someone who bites the heroine whenever they get turned on (and the heroine likes it) isn't appealing to them personally.

So, how did Twilight manage to sneak it's way onto their nightstands? Is it possible the paranormal elements were softened enough for non-paranormal fans to accept?  Perhaps Twilight isn't so much about the fact that Edward is a vamp, but about the development of the all encompassing romance via Beauty and the Beast.

If Edward weren't a vamp, but a hunky underdog/loaner vying against Jacob the personable jock for Bella's attention, would the story still work?

To be fair, I'm not accusing Meyer of manipulating her story for maximum exposure. In fact, based on an interview posted on Amazon's website, it appears that she doesn't normally watch TV, movies or read books about vamps, which might explain a lot. She didn't try to write a bestseller. She wrote what was in her heart and got lucky when a gagillion other people thought it was pretty cool.

I don’t have answers (sorry). It’s just something cruising through my mind as I analyze the books around me. I want to hear what you think. Am I off base? What am I missing? How do you categorize your book? Would you pare down specific genre elements of your book to gain larger readership?

January 21, 2011

Significant Other Blogfest

Hi everyone! Today is the Significant Other Blogfest hosted by Talli Roland and DL Hammons (thanks to both of you for such a fun idea). Please go check out the other posts today!

Beloved Husband has prepared this for you:

So, here it is after 4:30a on the 21st. As of 10:30 last night I was going to let Kari post some lame-ass answers to the three questions, but I woke up with these thoughts running through my head, so please excuse the inevitable rambling that's about to ensue, but A) I'm not a writer & 2) I'm half asleep. Wait........

It seems to me that the purpose of this little exercise is to "Get to know your blogger better". I don't believe you can REALLY know someone until you meet them & have an honest to god, face to face real conversation. Not texts, e-mails, facebook or twitter & yes.... not even through blog posts. I think so much communication happens non-verbally & we don't even realize it. Perhaps this is why writing is so hard??? That said, let me try & give you an insight or two about my lovely wife.

Well, I basically married my best friend & even though we've only been married for 7 years, we've been together for nearly 20. That should tell you something right there, she has tolerance & patience above & beyond. Kari is a graphic designer by trade. She has always been very creative (you should see the "Art project area in the house") so when she said she was interested in trying to write a book, I thought this was just another phase. I was right at first, but then about a year ago there was a small, but distinct change. I knew this writing thing was not just another "creative kick" when I saw that look on her face & that ever so subtle twinkle in her eye when she talked about the writing classes or her blog followers. It's the same energy she has when we go to (or even talk about) Walt Disney World. It's fun to watch Kari get exited about..... well about anything really. At 37 she has been able to hang on to a tiny corner of what it feels like to be 6 years old. To experience that all you need to do is spend a hour with her during Christmas. She gets so much pleasure & enjoyment out of decorating for the season. Actually her attachment to & affinity for snow globes might be boarding on unhealthy.

As I said, Kari's writing has just gotten going in the past year, so this is all a little new to me. Maybe 5 or 6 years down the road I'll feel differently, but at this point for the most part, I like the changes I see in her. Vocabulary for instance. She's started using words & phrases I've never heard before. She's learning & growing in this new found passion & that's always good!! There are some slight annoyances that have come up, but it comes with the territory. This past July I decided it was time to get an iphone. That meant I would
have to switch cell carriers. To have her on sprint & me with AT&T wasn't going to work because in order not to spend our entire income on phone bills, we need the free cell to cell minutes. This meant we both got iphones. In mid August, while sitting in the couch one night, I turned to her & said "I think I've created a monster". She's ALWAYS doing something with it. First it was a game. I don't know the name, but I called it "the stupid waitress game". Most recently it has been reading & commenting on blogs. Another development has been the early rising to go write. I don't care so much about that, I mean any idiot knows that 6:00a is the middle of the night, but whatever floats your boat. It's the consequences of that at bedtime that tends to be a problem. I'm sorry, but I'm just usually not tired at 10:00p, but I'm afraid if I don't go to bed with her & least once in a while, we may never have sex again!!!

All in all, I'm behind her 1000000%. Especially if she gets published & makes a million bucks!! She tells me that's VERY unlikely, but if anyone can do it she can.

Thank you BH. I love you honey. I'll work on that million bucks.
*Makes note to buy lottery tickets*

As a special treat, I've included the Questions and "Lame answers" he referred to in his post. (Since I had them all prepared and everything.)

1. What food or drink is guaranteed to return your loved one to a good mood, even after a bad day writing?
BH: I don't know. Something crunchy? Seriously nothing. I know, a clean kitchen.
(BH is right, a clean kitchen would brighten my day every time.)

2. What one thing would you change about your others writing habits?
BH: Nothing.
Me: Nothing? Seriously? The 6 am alarm clock, the binders all over the place...nothing?
BH: Nothing.
Me: Wow.

3. How hard is it to sit by and watch someone you care for struggle to attain a dream...knowing there's very little you can do to help?
BH: I reject the premise of the question.
Me: Huh?
BH: It's leading.
Me: okaay.
BH: It's not.
Me: What?
BH: Hard
Me: Should I be offended?
BH: No. You're learning new things. It's supposed to be hard. You like it that way. You are growing. It's a good thing.
That's all for today. Thanks for stopping by my little blog. Please go check out the other participant's posts. I will be going around and checking them out too. I've got a full day of work today; so I won't be around to comment until later this evening or tomorrow. I can't wait to read all of your posts.
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