Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Let's discuss popular genres...

OK, what is up the world's fascination with fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal novels? I'm not going to knock the genres because I'm sure there is a strong subset of people out there who say to themselves, "Who cares about stories set in a historical time period?" Plus people have a right to read what they want, so I could never knock that freedom.

I think what bothers me about these genres is that they're the going thing right now. And seemingly everyone is cashing in on it. But really? How many novels can you have about vampires and werewolves? Or mythical beings rising from the mists of Arthim-I-Can't-Really-Pronounce-This-Land (although I would really like to do authors come up with the whackadoo names in fantasy novels)? When has something just been done to death? I'll hazard a guess and say that when Jane Austen becomes populated with zombies and may be time to put a trend to rest.

Of course, there are problems in the historical fiction realm as well. It seems to me that the recent trend has been writing novels in the Tudor and Elizabethan times. Sure, I had a fascination with Henry VIII and his six wives when I was younger, but how many times can you re-tell Anne Boleyn's story? I can't help but think about all the other lovely time periods that are going largely ignored because of this trend. What about the Victorian period (although I have seen an increase in this) or Restoration England? Now that was a fascinating time and it should sell, I mean everyone was getting it on, right?

I guess I'm a bit unlucky in my choice of time period. Some readers probably feel about the Civil War, the same way that I feel about the Tudors. But you know what? My characters would not fit in anywhere else.

I started thinking about this after agent extraordinaire and blogger, Nathan Bransford, recently posted that you have to write about what you love, not what is popular. I guess I'm lucky that historical fiction never really goes out of fashion, so I've never had to make a choice between writing what is popular versus what is my interest. I'll be the first to admit that if I had written Julienne to be a vampire or a Tudor era lady-in-waiting, I'd probably get representation right away. But I refuse.

What about you? Have you ever been tempted to cash in on a pop culture phenomenon or are you content to write what you want in the genre that suits you best?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Progress...I guess

So I am happy to report that my post on procrastination spurred me to some small amount of progress at the end of last week. I am positive that Julienne and her amour were quite happy to get off the sidewalk and to the charity ball.

Interestingly enough, I am still discovering facets of Julienne's personality. I think by re-writing this section of the novel, I am making her easier to relate to in that even though she's a bad ass super spy (OK, that is a slight exaggeration), she's still completely vulnerable. Of course she tries so desperately to hide this facet of her personality (behind smirks and acting generally disaffected). The internal war that ensues as she falls in love is at times heartbreaking and yet very funny. One minute she is determined to ignore the guy, and the next she's inexplicably attracted to him, which annoys her to no end. At the end of the day, she is just a very sad individual who is adrift. She was not raised to be a simpering miss, but the two anchors in her life (her father and twin brother) are both gone. She has suffered so much loss that she is a bit gun shy when it comes to investing herself in other people. And being that she is considered a eccentric in her society, Julienne is very suspicious of any man who would pursue her--alas, for our poor hero! Fortunately, he likes a challenge.

So, character progression... Did you know every facet of your character's personality before you began writing the story, or did they leap off the page as you went along?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Procrastination: I haz it

Yes, I know it has been a while. But as the title of today's blog suggests, I am not someone who is always on the ball. I think I earned this trait honestly... My dad has a tendancy to procrastinate. Actually, that whole side of my family does. I suppose that is why we're always late and generally present birthday gifts wrapped in Wal-Mart bags, but I digress.

I think procrastination is my worst enemy when it comes to writing. I think it's pretty clear given that it's taken me nearly 10 years to finish a novel (and heck, it's not totally finished, either). Sadly, I'm not one of those writers who can set writing goals for herself. I can't tell myself, "Caroline, you're going to write ten chapters this week." If I did, my writing would stink. I just can't write well when I'm not "into" it. But when I'm on, I'm on, baby! I barely stop to eat or sleep, I just write like there's no tomorrow.

I haven't been writing much lately. I blame the fact that I've been living out of a suitcase. And looking for another job. First it was commuting 100 miles one way to be with my hubby on the weekends, and then I took a trip to Texas (which was awesome). And finally, given the distance between the hubby and me, I've attempted to find a job in the same city as he. That's not going so well (damn economy). So to say that I have been distracted is an understatement. Plus it doesn't help that any writing I do is confined to my sad little cube at work due to my lack of a laptop at the moment. Oh please Santa Claus bring me one for Christmas! I've been good this year...for the most part!

So, does procrastination bring you down? Or can you put the blinders on and crank out a novel in a few months? If you can, will you pass some of that motivation on to me?