Tuesday, February 08, 2011
Finding My Genre When It Doesn't Exist
I grew up reading genre fiction. To be honest, I didn't realize the SF, Fantasy, Mystery (and Ian Fleming!) novels I pilfered from my brothers' bookshelves weren't just regular old fiction. By the time I figured out that some people thought genre fiction (any kind of genre) was something to look down on, well, I was already hooked and couldn't care less. When I decided to write for publication, I knew I'd write some type of genre fiction.
I've said, semi-seriously, several times in the last couple of years that I'm a writer in search of a genre. That's partly because I enjoy reading so many different genres that I've found it difficult to figure out where my voice belongs. I'd start a story, full of hope that this would be the one, only to end in confusion with an unfinished manuscript. Rinse, lather, repeat.
Since I've had so much difficulty trying to shoehorn myself into a genre, I decided that maybe what I need to do is invent my own. I've had a setting rattling around in my head for a few years, but I've been reluctant to try using it because it's...different and I haven't felt confident that I could pull it off. It's sort of a follow-on to Steampunk, only set later in history—around the mid-1920s—and I've sort of jokingly been referring to it as Decopunk. The images from the movie Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow are close to what I see in my head when I visualize this world.
I've been having a blast nailing down the framework of my Decopunk world, figuring out the changes to history and how things work. And, thanks to some timely brainstorming at the last RWA meeting, I'm getting a pretty good handle on the characters and the kernel of the story, including a romance subplot. Best of all, I can't wait to start writing!
What about you? Do you have a favorite genre or do you genre-hop? If you're a writer and like several different genres, have you ever thought about taking the elements you like best from each and creating your own sub-genre?