Monday, September 3, 2012

Writing outside your box

We all have a type of story we like.

I tend to write male protagonists, or female ones that lack feminine personality qualities. Mostly because I lack many of those qualities; girly girls irritate me, frequently, I don't get them in any kind of nuanced or detailed way.

But, occasionally, it's good to write something that you don't know. To step outside of the box or the cave or the secret fairy forest that you go to when you're in your creative space, trying to work your magic. Just out of college, I wrote a few short stories that were deliberate "chick in chain mail with big sword" fantasy, with a slightly hapless male sidekick. No romance involved, just hero --> problem --> solution style. Those didn't get me published either, of course, but they got me the first (and only, if I remember aright) personalized rejection I've had to date.

Now, with everybody in a frenzy over Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequels, I've wondered about why people latched onto it. In fact, my coworker and  I have a game we play. When one of the books comes across the desk (and no patrons are within earshot) we open it at random and read a couple of sentences aloud. Romance, you may have guessed, is not my genre. Erotica isn't either. However, I got the idea for a story that I could make fit into that genre.

The idea is kind of cheesy, has a mythology attachment, and will have a somewhat girly girl main character, her flamboyant gay friend, glitz and glamor and sex. I don't really write sex; we'll see how this goes. If it goes; it might still just be an amusing idea.

It's hard to think outside your box. Even when I wrote chick in chainmail fantasy, it was still writing that I tried to make as solid as possible. I tried to build something that I would want out of such a genre piece. Maybe that would be the key to breaking down this wall too, who knows?

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?


  1. I'm not a big sci-fi fan. Well, let me amend that statement - I'm not really a fan of sci-fi that takes itself too seriously. So what am I writing now, of course? Yup, a book with a very strong sci-fi component. And it's not a comedy. *sigh*

    Good luck with your romance!

    1. Thanks!

      Depending, you can think of Sci-fi as the future that hasn't gotten here yet. Or something. Good luck with your sci-fi!

  2. I am terrible, *terrible* at romance, but I've written it in to my current WIP. Partly because it fits in well with the story and partly because I wanted to try my hand at it. Let me know how your romance comes along...would love some tips from one non-girly girl to another ;)

    1. I haven't gotten to the actual "romance" part, so we'll see how it goes! Working at the library, I have a lot of books coming through my hands, so I frequently flip through the bodice rippers and cowboy romps to "see how it's done". I frequently end up snickering, but others are better.