Treading in Unfamiliar Genre

genre picture 2Last week, several ideas of a new story came to my mind. It was exciting. I mean, when is it NOT exciting to have new story ideas bloom in your brain? It’s a fantastic feeling, right?

I started writing down notes on this new story. Many thoughts and many questions. What’s the core of this story? What’s the main character ARC? And what about this idea or that one for the storyline?

Then it dawned on me that I was steering outside the usual path of women’s fiction genre I write to one I’d never really driven on before. Looking up the genre I believed my story ideas fell into, revealed it to be in the speculative and dystopian fiction realm.

I cringed a bit because I’ve never been into sci-fi, fantasy, or dystopian stories. From the stories I’ve read on my online critiquing site, I do have an interest in certain paranormal stories. And, I have to admit, one of my fellow critiquers writes King Arthur fantasy, and her story won me over through her excellent writing. But these examples are exceptions, not the norm in my regular reading regimen.

A few days ago, I finished writing the first chapter to this new story, and I loved it. I read it to my sons and husband. They loved it.

I have notes on where I want the story to go. But I’ve not been able to get back to the story and write it.

Now, how often has that happened to us writers? Pretty often, right? So, I wasn’t too surprised, but it still frustrated me.

Then I thought, “I just need to get to writing. Start the next chapter.”

That’s how I was able to finish up my last novel that took a year and a half to write. I had to push myself to start each chapter, even though I knew what I needed to write. The writing would start out slow, dull, and mechanical, like I was just writing to get the words down. And I was. However, around mid page, the creativity started to pour out, and I became immersed in the scene.

So, with my own experiences, I can use them and tell myself to “Just start writing”.

Try it if you haven’t already, my fellow writers. Just put words down on the paper or on the Word document.

Wish me luck on this new project. I’m hoping it comes out to be worthy of future readers.

 

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Required Reading

classic books in book shelf

The other day, my younger son, who’s in high school, informed me that he’d be reading the Hunger Games for his English class. Last semester he read In Cold Blood by Capote.

Times have changed, or it may have, depending on the school.

I’ll tell you the books I had to read (I hated reading when I was in school at any time from 1st-12th grade), but was pleasantly surprised, when I actually did read some of them. I actually liked them very much. Here are some that I had to read from junior high through high school and which ones I actually read (the ones I truly read are bolded):

The Hobbit

Call of the Wild

Romeo and Juliet

The Merchant of Venice (read in class)

For Whom the Bells Toll (didn’t get past the first page. Didn’t care for Hemingway’s simplistic writing)

Huckleberry Finn

A Tale of Two Cities

The Hound of the Baskervilles

The Great Gatsby

The Scarlet Letter

Out of the ones I read, the only one I didn’t care for was The Scarlet Letter. I really like detailed descriptions, but Hawthorne took it to the nth degree, and there were portions where he’d go off on tangents, and I’d forget where the characters were and where the scene was taking place.

But as for the others, I loved A Tale of Two Cities, The Hobbit, Huckleberry Finn, and The Great Gatsby.

In college, I had the good fortunate to be able to read all kinds of wonderful classics and interesting literature as well:

The Yellow Wallpaper

Frankenstein 

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (portions)

Metamorphosis

Pride and Prejudice

Lady Susan 

Othello

The Last Man (portions)

Things Fall Apart (portions)

Twelfth Night

Taming of the Shrew

Beowulf (sorry, didn’t like this one!)

And other books from other countries, like the Thirteenth Night.

Lots of great stories. I especially loved The Yellow Wallpaper, Twelfth Night, Metamorphosis, The Last Man, and Frankenstein.

The portions of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were brilliantly written. Stevenson’s words are like reading a psalm. Beautiful.

Mary Shelley’s writing is similar in that regard, as well. Poetic and stunning.

I read To Kill a Mockingbird on my own back in 2010 just because I wanted to. Great book.

So, I’m wondering when my son will be reading any of these or other classics. Perhaps I’m a literature snob, but the classics are incomparable and vital reading material for teens, in my opinion.

I wrote my son’s English teacher to see if he had a list of the books the students would be reading the rest of the semester. I’d like to see if there are any really good books on the list–classics, I mean. I’ve not gotten an email back as of yet. Hopefully, I will.

The previous private Christian school my sons were in in Lancaster, PA, had amazing reading lists with some of the books I mentioned above.

My older son took British Literature and World Literature his junior and senior years, and he read Fahrenheit 451, Wuthering Heights, Things Fall Apart, The Kite Runner, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, to name a few.

Am I being too picky? A literature or book snob? Do public schools not offer the classics anymore? Are In Cold Blood and The Hunger Games considered “classics” now? If the old classics aren’t being offered in English classes anymore, that’s a big disappointment to me.

I may have my son read Frankenstein on his free time over the summer. It’s a short book, and it’s awesome, with lots of important messages.

 

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Celebrating!

champagne glasses

If you’ve been following my writing agonies and struggles to keep focused on my WIP, What She Didn’t Know, I’d just like to say…

WOOHOO! I’ve done it!

The first draft of What She Didn’t Know is now FINISHED! 🎊🎉 🍾🥂🌟🎊🎉

I’m going to go out to dinner tonight to celebrate. It took me a year and half to finish this novel of 88,000+ words through much mental exhaustion, sweat, dedication, and love!

And. It. Feels. Darn. Good!

 

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