Sunday, September 19, 2010

My Legacy!?

Shannon started off the blog chain with this question:

Imagine this: when you're gone, readers will remember your writing most for just one of these things: your characters, your plots, your settings, or your style. Which one (only one!) would you prefer over the rest? Why?

Okay, wow.


I mean any question that begins with "when you're gone" is a pretty big question already. But then even once I've wrap my head around the whole dead and gone thing, I also have to imagine that at some point before I've shuffled off this mortal coil - not only will I be published, but that this book or books will also be remembered as being good for something other than lining the bird cage.

I gotta say this question makes all the self-doubt parts of my brain light up like a pinball machine.

But let's put that aside.

And let's also not think about the fact that no matter how much I love books, (so much so that once again - after I'm gone - if someone did the math they would calculate that I'd probably spent a good quarter of my life inside of them) I am not very good at specifically remembering each individual one. The ones I love - I remember bits and pieces. The ones I really hate - I remember bits and pieces. Most though fall into the middle, and those I pretty much forget completely.

But (not to get all philosophical on you here, I mean really, this is a pretty simple question and I'm here turning it into this whole existential what's gonna be left of me after I die whole big dramatic thing. sorry, i get that way sometimes.) maybe it's more than what's remembered or forgotten. And more than writing a book that's treasured instead of sold at the next garage sale - or in this new digital age - maybe it would just be deleted out of existence (deleted out of existence? that's a bit much, right? I know, bring mortality into the equation and suddenly it's all over-the-top statements and quoting Hamlet. again, I apologize.)?

Maybe it's about what Shannon (who I would not blame if she is right now rolling her eyes and saying a heartfelt "oye" at where I have dragged her truly excellent question.) wrote about in her post about getting lost in books. And getting lost is what I love about reading. For Shannon it was setting - being able to take someone to another place. But for me, I need to get out of my own head. My own head gives me headaches (if you are still reading this post, you might be getting one too.). Books put me in someone else's head. In someone else's life.

And I guess that after all this my answer is actually quite simple (it usually is once you dig past all the nonsense). Characters. I want my characters to be my legacy. Even if they're not really remembered at all, in the moment, when the words - whether on paper or screen - are in front of your eyes, I want my characters to be alive... even after I'm not.

So what about you? Ready to contemplate your own epilogue? What would you have your written legacy be?

And to keep following this blog chain (which if it's true what they say about things you post on the Internet being there forever, this chain will still be here long after we're gone. geez talk about a legacy.) please check out Amanda's blog next.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Genre Jumping

This time on the blog chain Margie started off with a question about genres.

How did you come to write your YA genre (e.g. contemp, fantasy, etc.)? AND (yep, it’s a 2 parter), if you weren’t writing that, what genre would you be interested in exploring?

As I've mentioned before, I've already played around with a few different genres.

My first novel was a contemporary romance. Why? Because I've been devouring romance novels since eighth grade. The biggest influence in writing my contemporary romance was Susan Elizabeth Phillips, a contemporary romance novelist whose books I re-read on a regular basis. Also, at the time I was also reading a lot of chick lit, and elements from those books worked their way in as well. Unfortunately, I think my influences sometimes manifested themselves as imitation - and this ultimately hurt the book. However, I have two other contemporary romances that I began and abandoned in a file folder somewhere. Someday I'd like to hunt them down and give this genre another go.

My second novel was an urban fantasy. And genre wise, it's actually not that big of a change from contemporary romance. Like my contemporary romance this book had romantic entanglements - just no happily ever after. And the setting was the same modern world... except with a few demons thrown in for flavor. My biggest influence here was Buffy The Vampire Slayer. And all things Joss Whedon.

And now, I am working on a young adult urban fantasy. Again, not that far of a jump. Still in an urban fantasy world, just with a younger protagonist. It was really the idea I had for this one that demanded the young adult genre. For me, it wasn't Harry Potter or the Twilight series that brought me back to the YA genre as an adult (I'm actually not a huge fan of either of those series). I actually found my way back to YA in my early twenties, when I was in that section of the library picking out a book for my youngest sister. Turns out, she have any interest in reading the book, but I did. The book was, A Killing Frost by John Marsden - the third in his Tomorrow series. I ended up hunting down the entire series at the library, and then everything else he had written, and after that YA books were regularly rotated into my reading queue.

As for other genres I might write in... well, I don't know. I'm actually pretty happy with these three, but I also wouldn't rule anything else out. Who knows there might be a Western lurking somewhere at the far reaches of my mind... but I doubt it.

What about you? Are you true to one genre, or do you also like to play the field?

And make sure to keep following this chain. Shannon's daily pie post was before mine and Amanda will be up next.