Monday, January 28, 2008

A Note About Genre

Tonight, I'd like to say a little something about genre. I consider myself a poetess, albeit a poetess-in-progress. Today, though, I'm thinking about my forays into other genres.

I have tried to write fiction, and I have the start and outline of a nifty fantasy novel. The reason it's not finished? Oh, there are lots. I'm lazy and don't like to stick to one story for too long. the thought of a whole novel is completely daunting to me. I have bits and pieces of a story, but not anything I can say is finished in my head. I'd love to write my mother's memoirs, since she has led such a fascinating life. But these are neither here nor there. They don't have deadlines, and they live, happily splintered and half-alive, in my head.

On the other, deadline side, I volunteered to submit some pieces to Milestones for American Women: Our Defining Passages, an anthology scheduled to come out in late 2008 or early 2009. I figured, hey, I've got some important passages. Folks might be interested in reading about them. the editors sent me an enthusiastic "yea," and told me to get the articles in by January 30th.

And here I sit, on January 29th, wondering why I thought that writing was writing, and that if it was my own life, I could probably write it pretty well. Ernk. (That is a buzzer sound, right there.) I feel like it comes off as flat an unimaginative. Perhaps it's just that my life isn't as exciting as I think it is. Maybe I need a ghostwriter. or a few drinks - I hear that worked for Hemingway...

Anyway, my realization for the day is that a writer is not a writer is not a writer. This is probably patently obvious to everyone else, but I'm a little late. Now, I knew I didn't prefer to write fiction or non-fiction, but I figured if you write in one genre, certainly you could tackle the rest with ease. Mea culpa. A mistake I won't make again! Not that i won't attempt to write in another genre, but I'll be sure to have lots of lead time for rewriting, deleting, and revision.


Anonymous said...

this is very interesting to me. as a developing writer and an avid user of sound effects. 10 points for your 'ernk' buzzer sound, that's one i have never phoneticized (<-- probably not a word).
but in all seriousness, i stick to mainly poetry and essays, usually in respective phases, and have never thought of myself as a fiction writer. but as you seem to have discovered and i have gleaned from your post, maybe it's just that i haven't given over to trying it.

very interesting.

Colleen said...

hey, I'll accept phoneticized as a word. I'm all about people making up their own words! If you've got an interest in fiction, I say try it. There's no harm in it, you learn a lot about your writing style, and you may just come up with a gem.

As an updated, both of my essays were accepted for the volume, so what do I know about good? *grin*