Thursday, September 29, 2011

The New Genre-ation

Firstly, I'd like to say - I'm dying without my laptop.  Secondly I'd like to say, James's computer chair is entirely too uncomfortable for me to be creative and imaginative in.  That being said... I'm jonesin' and decided to give in and write from this frigid, ill illuminated, marigold/mustard colored room.  I've been reading - A LOT lately - and it's been helpful in inspiring me.  I've definitely gotten some thoughtful insights about the world of YA literature, more so than I did in my Adolescent Lit class the last semester of college, or from any one of the many books I've got lining the shelves of my bookcases.  I've decided I'm much more inclined to fall in love with a series rather than just a single book from some random author.  L.J. Smith has been my most widely read author these past few months, and though the majority of her stuff was written in the late eighties/early nineties, that woman can write.  I don't care how lame and outdated the covers are to her novels, or if her choice of "authentic" slang/dialogue has become a thing of the past.  She's not afraid to litter her "teen fiction" with words like: melodious, ebbed, malice, succumb, belligerence, sinuous, or supine (and that's not even delving into specialized fields she tends to focus on like witchcraft or psychology).  Sure it all comes wrapped up in brooding young lovers and paranormal activity, but it's inspirational because she's not afraid to use wholesome, well-defined characters or real human vocabulary that might make her readers need to pick up a dictionary.  Her stories do fall well within the typical confines of the teenage-style plot line, but she does it without compromising her intelligence or her writing flare.  I admire it, quite frankly.  It's kinda what I aspire to.

I think what I love most about "young adult" fiction is that it's so filled with those overwhelming "butterfly" feelings of your first kiss, that intense climactic problem that must be overcome, cresting to that intimate sexually-heated encounter without ever really going over the edge.  It's filled with mystery and wonder and fascination and takes me back to the days when I thought I could conquer the world.  It re-instills in me those longings I had as a teenage girl pining over that particular guy or wishing that I could do this or that impossible task.  It's all so innocent.  It's all so inviting.

That being said, I do love me a good sex scene.  I can hardly stand those ridiculous romance novels.  You know, the books with scantly clad women hanging onto topless cowboys or Fabio-men shielding their lacey chemise-bearing lovers splattered on the covers.  Or the ones with titles like "The Captain's Forbidden Miss," "Desert Prince, Defiant Virgin," or "In Heat: Mating Call" (yes these are actual titles, and though I haven't read them, I'm certainly not advertising their content, only exploiting their detestable names).  But I do love that intense feeling that a love scene arouses in you (no pun intended here).  My problem is that there isn't really a genre out there that encompasses both these aspects: the full force of adult content (elegantly done, that is) mixed with the timidity of young love.  That stage of life between adolescence and full-blown adulthood.  That gray area where it's still possible to be involved in not-so life-threatening/life-changing situations, but where you're old enough/capable enough to deal with it on your own if it does come to life and death, without that fear that your parents will find out, if any of that makes sense.

But it doesn't always have to involve romance - I'm just itching for life situations that aren't either kid or adult.  I'm not interested in reading about a husband that cheats on a wife (because frankly, if you're my age and already/about to be divorced, there's a serious problem with the world) or a wife who kills a husband (nope don't have any slasher fantasies here people).  I'm not interested in reading about how a woman lost her husband and her job in the same day and doesn't know how she's gonna feed her kids.  On the flip side, I don't want to read about a girl who's involved in a secret relationship with a teacher.  I don't find interest in mundane childish problems like failing a test or getting your first period.  I also don't want to read about the scary bad guy (vampire, werewolf, witch, wizard, fill in the blank) who wants something that the main character teen has but thinks needs to be protected and he/she has to fight the battle with the help of his/her sidekick teenage friends - kids are dumb these days and I don't understand why they NEVER go to their parents when things get too difficult for them to deal with it on their own.  It's a stupid unwritten rule that YA literature depicts adults/parents as the enemy.  I must be an anomaly because I actually liked my parents growing up.  When something went wrong, huh, whodda thunk I actually went to them with my problems.  Even as an adolescent I didn't understand that aspect of literature.

Anyway, my goal, is college-age fiction.  I want to start a revolution, a new genre, a new generation of readers.  Okay maybe not ME personally, but I want this idea to become popular.  Sure I'd like to get the credit for it, but I really just want new stuff to read.  Real-life problems for twenty-something year olds, possibly combined with a ton of creative, imaginative twists.  That's what I'm trying to write, and I hope that people are as desperate for a change in the genres as I am.  If not, everything I'm doing is all for nought.  Not for nought, because I'll get personal satisfaction knowing I'm not just following the curve on what's "popular," but honestly, what writer writes without the hope of getting paid eventually? (:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Confessions: writer's block

As the cool kids say, it's been a minute since I've posted a blog.  I've noticed on facebook that many of my "friends" have started blogs of their own, and I commend them, honestly I do.  It's a lot harder than one would think to post a daily/weekly/bi-weekly blog, especially considering (well for me anyway) that writing is what I breathe for.  So seeing all these "Oh hey here's my new blog" posts is making me realize it's been a month since my last post and I need to jump back on the "bandwagon."  I hope you all stick with it, but I'm a bit of a pessimist, so we'll just see how long that lasts (:

Here recently with all these things happening ALL at once in my life (and the harsh reality that I'm a television junky and find watching stories unfold holds much more immediate gratification than writing one and making it unfold - wow how many dead writers are rolling over in their graves right now????), I've not been writing as much as I want or need to.  I'm halfway through a pretty fantastic manuscript (if I do say so myself?!) and can't seem to get out of the funk I've fallen into to finally finish it and hopefully start in on the 2nd in the series.  I've come to a point where I seem to be stuck.  It all started when I decided to make one of my characters British.  Though I'm a huge fan of British television, humor, and quite frankly life, when faced with the difficult task of being an American-born, American-residing writer trying to dialogue for someone from another country, one from a place I'd never been, I became irritated and flummoxed.  (Do people still use that word?)  I fell to the all-knowing world of the internet, navigated by Google, and came up with the typical, generic, boring, retarded answers to the question, "What's another way that a Brit would say dude or man other than the obvious mate?"  I got chap (really people, really?  I'm writing a 20-something year old male college student here, not a 43-year old global studies professor), ace, bro, cock, and chum.  Yes, someone actually suggested I used the word cock as an expression of fondness for a male sidekick.  So basically I got nothing.  And it wasn't just my need for British synonyms for friend that I was looking for.  I was seeking some guidance on how to make my character believable.  I wasn't really getting anywhere, and unless I wanted to watch all 200 seasons of Doctor Who (I have to say I so don't get what all the fuss is about over that show!) or scour through interviews with every famous British actor making money in American films, I was stuck with just sorta winging it.  To make a long story longer, I pretty much just got frustrated and decided to take a breather.  Step back.  Reevaluate.  Decide if this was the right move for my character and if not, go back to the drawing board.  But somewhere along the way, I just got... bored isn't really the right word, but sidetracked might fit better.  Because I honestly believe in what I'm writing.  I think people will like it and it's pushing my boundaries as a writer - I'm challenging myself.  And maybe that's what my problem is... this isn't easy so I'm trying to sabotage myself?  Argh. 

In any case, I know that I'll finish, I just want to do it by the end of the year.  The last manuscript I finished took me three years, which is a horrible turn-over rate, especially if I want to make real money doing this.  I hope to make this the first book in a series of four, so I better to get work, huh?  Thing's not gonna write itself and me complaining isn't getting it anywhere either!

Here's to hoping I find a way to resolve both mine and my characters' internal struggles.