Thursday, March 20, 2008
Writing outside the box
My name is Karen and I'm a genre bender. That's right, I admit it. I braid genres like a sailor braids knots in a rope. I twist adventure with mythology and thread romance through it while coloring the strands with paranormal elements ranging from the traditional to the totally made-up. I'm a crooked storyteller and proud of it.
I can't write a straight anything. I've tried. I get bored. I like to mix it up and I love reading other books that mix it up. I'm very excited to see more and more genre benders on the shelves and I feel this trend of multiple genre bending is on the rise, but it's a tough sell to agents and publishers who are afraid to take risks.
I think it's funny how so many of the small presses have taken on genre-benders when the big mass market publishers turned them away. If it's new, the big guys look at it askance, then wait and watch to see how the little guys do with it. When the new genre blend becomes popular, the big guys swoop in and make a killing. I just wish the smaller publishers could reap more reward than they do for taking the risk in the first place.
I'm thinking about all this genre stuff as I go through the sloooow and laborious process of finding an agent to champion my genre-bending book. Who will dare to take on something different? I mean, if any agent was to ask me what my book was similar to, all I could do is blink. My novel's not similar to anything else I've read. So does that mean it's the red-headed bastard step child of fiction? Or is it the proverbial diamond in the rough. For my sake, I hope it's the latter.
It's good to be fresh and original, and to write outside the box as long as you can still tell what the box is. I'm not exactly sure I've accomplished this, but I've sure tried. And I love the result. Question is, will an agent love it, too? How about you? What is it about your writing that makes your story unique?