Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Yes, This Post Is About Squirrels

Most of us have a genre we feel most comfortable with. Some like historical fiction, some like middle grade, and others prefer fantasy. And there are others who aren't so sure, but are working it out.

We're like little squirrels, trying to find a nice comfy hole to burrow into. (I tried to figure out a way to work some nuts into that analogy, but it's just not working.) Regardless, we each have our own little niche. Sometimes we pop out and try a new hole, but it's usually on the same tree.

But sometimes there's this other tree that looks like it would be so much fun. Maybe it has extra high branches or a super-tasty stash of nuts (yay!). Maybe it even has a water slide.

Okay, maybe no water slides for the squirrels.

But it looks like it's too far to jump. We're not flying squirrels, after all.

My point is, there are genres out there that we don't write that look like fun, but for whatever reason we don't write them. I would love to write something contemporary and fill my manuscripts with hyperbole about Picasso (yes, that's a Picasso squirrel you're seeing) and metaphors about Twinkies. That just doesn't fly when you're writing ancient Egypt. But Egypt is my thing. The closest I could imagine coming out of my chosen niche would be to write about some other historical time period.

Do you have another genre you've always thought sounded like fun to write? Do you think you ever will?

27 comments:

Stephanie L. McGee said...

I got a spark of an idea for a murder mystery. I even started a sketch of the detective. But it's just not my genre and I know I couldn't do it justice. So it's been shelved.

Love the post!

L. T. Host said...

SQUIRREL!!!

*Breathes*. Okay, I'm back. Anyway, oh yeah. I have loads. My first MS was fantasy, which still feels like home to me, because it's what I've always read, but it just didn't work.

So here I am, wherever it is that I am. :)

I actually have ideas in many, many genres. Maybe someday I'll be able to write in more than one, but where I am now fits better than even fantasy did. Great post, and love the squirrel pics :)

Stephanie Thornton said...

Stephanie- I almost included in the post that I'm just not capable of writing a mystery. All those twists and turns would give me a headache- I have a hard enough time with the few in historical fiction!

L.T.- Glad you liked the pics. You'd be amazed what Google will pull up if you type in squirrel. I spent more time picking pictures for the post than I did writing it!

Laura Martone said...

Hilarious post! And yet somehow apt.

I, too, have a nut problem. I'm currently revising what I think is contemporary literary fiction, but I have a hankering to try horror, western, and mystery (as separate genres, in case you were wondering) in the distant future.

I know you should never say never, but I will NEVER, NEVER, NEVER write romance. Phew. That felt good to get off my chest.

P.S. I especially like the waterslide squirrel. Think I'd have a heart attack if I actually saw one of those at a water park.

Susan R. Mills said...

I've never had any desire to write anything other than contemporary YA, but lately, I've been considering the possibilities of adult fiction. I'm not sure it's where my heart is, though, so for now, I'm sticking with the younger crowd.

Bane of Anubis said...

Actually, one of the first stories I wrote a few years ago was about a squirrel named Charlemagne and his adventure through South Africa (where he meets the lovable, but fox-obsessed Jack Basset and an amnesiac lemur named Corybant :)... My wife and I are huge squirrel fans.

Laura Martone said...

Then, Bane, you must've loved the movie UP.

Matthew Delman said...

I'm lucky in that science fiction and fantasy are fairly wide-open genres. You can write a historical one day, cyber/steampunk another day, and even a science fiction mystery or horror story if you really want.

That said, I don't think I could get the pacing right for a mystery or the drum up the right amount of tension for a suspense. There's just something about thrillers and the like that I can't wrap my head around.

Radka said...

Beautiful blog, have a nice day Radka.

Renee Pinner said...

I'd like to do something in Chic Lit-ish and horror. I'm with you on the mystery thing. I don't know that I could layer anything deep enough to hide the culprit. I haven't shared much of my horror. I'm a little worried about how the people who know me will respond. Someone might try to have me committed.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I'm with the pics. and early chapter books all the way, but I wouldn't mind doing an MG or two. :)

Lisa and Laura said...

Great question. I guess maybe someday we might try writing for adults. It sort of scares me though, we still kind of act like we're 17, so YA feels so much more comfortable than adult stuff!

Amalia T. said...

Hmm.
Well, I never in my life thought I'd be writing fantasy. I always figured I'd be a sci fi girl, since I have the background and the appreciation, but never fantasy. But every time I try to write something novel-length, somehow that fantastic element always manages to make its way into the book. Drives me kind of crazy, to be honest with you. It's one thing to write in a genre purposely, it's an entirely different thing to end up writing it because your subconscious can't leave it alone.

I'm not sure if that answers your question entirely, but thanks for the shout out! :)

Natalie said...

I have a dystopian YA that I really want to write. It's a huge departure from MG though, and I'm not sure I can hack it in the YA world.

Bane of Anubis said...

Yes, Laura, Up, Ice Age... yet, despite my love for bacon, my favorite kids' movie is still Babe.

Bethany Mattingly said...

Well, eventually, I think I might want to move out of the YA genre but considering I'm only twenty...I think writing an older character for a MC may be a bit strange. :) I tried writing a MG for NaNo and I think it'll be doable. I didn't finish it, but I think I will eventually. As far as drastic changes, I can't see myself changing from the fantasy/sci fi genre anytime soon. I do sometimes think about it though. I suppose I'll just follow my imagination and hope I can write well in what it comes up with for me. :)

Voidwalker said...

LOL... You deal with teenagers all the time and you can't figure out a way to work nuts into the analogy? Shame shame. :P Just kidding.

As for my genre, I would like to try a murder mystery, but I don't think I have enough of an idea for a good one yet that has enough twists and "mystery" lol.

Cort L. Lynn said...

I would love to be able to write a killer sci-fi novel with space travel and black holes and other scientific weirdness, but, alas, my brain runs in different patterns and fails to grasp all that cool stuff. I love to read it, but when I try to write it, I feel like I've suddenly started writing in Greek.

Very cute and effective metaphor, Stephanie. That first squirrel pic is to die for. Doesn't get cuter than that. The second, teehee, that's actually a prairie dog going down the slide, but I think the metaphor would apply to him too, since prairie dogs do live in holes. I don't think they climb trees though. ;)

Cort L. Lynn said...

At least, I would swear that's a prairie dog. Now I doubt myself. *sigh*

Bane of Anubis said...

So, Hattie doesn't say 'build me a structure that looks like an upside-down ice-cream cone, only with square edges, not circular ones, because I don't want a dunce hat?'

Stephanie Thornton said...

Cort- I've tried writing scifi, but it's always fanfic. There's not a lot of freedom in that, but creating my own world? Sheesh- that's a lot of responsibility! And maybe it is a prairie dog or a ground squirrel. It's the squirrel everyone is photoshopping these days.

Voidwalker- I try to avoid all references to nuts in the classroom! :)

Bethany- I had that problem trying to write an old woman once. I can't do it convincingly. Kind of like trying to write a childbirth scene. You have to have done it or at least see one to get it right.

Bane- So are you really just a kid? ;) And I love Charlemagne!

Natalie- I love dystopian stuff! I really like A Handmaid's Tale.

Amalia- That would be frustrating. I haven't had that problem yet- fantasy and scifi are over my head when it comes to writing.

Shannon- I'm in awe of picture book writers. I don't think I could come up with a solid concept for one to save my life.

Lisa & Laura- There's always time for that later!

Matt- Thrillers are beyond me too. I don't read the genre either so I'd be at a total loss for that one.

Radka- Thanks for stopping by!

Laura- I always have a little romance in my stories, but I don't think I could write a whole novel of them.

Renee- Sometimes I worry about being committed too. :)

Susan- That would be cool! I'll read your novel no matter what genre.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Bane- How did you know she said that? ;)

How in the world did the Egyptians survive without ice cream? Or Nutella? That's a crime!

Anita Saxena said...

I love that you started your post with a Squirrel analogy! I am playing with ideas for a second project and I can't decide MG or YA, first person past tense or third person past tense. Choices.
I'm fascinated with Egypt and pyramids and all that kind of stuff. Your project MUST be fascinating if it includes these things =)

Cindy said...

Just found ur site! love it! i'm a new follower! come follow me too if you like mine!

Stephanie Thornton said...

Anita- Thanks for joining! I love squirrels- they're just hyper and twitchy enough to be hilarious. And I'm obsessed with Egypt!

Cindy- Thanks for stopping by and joining!

Laura Martone said...

Steph - Oh, don't get me wrong. I love romance - I have a bit in my novel, too. I just couldn't write a Harlequin-type book - nothing wrong with 'em - they're just not for me.

Bane - I love all those movies, too. I get into arguments with my hubby all the time - over who deserved Best Picture more... BRAVEHEART or BABE. I always say BABE (but, secretly, I think he's right about BRAVEHEART). Frankly, they're two completely different flicks anyway. Just one of many problems with the Oscars. Wait, how did I get from squirrels to pigs? Was it something I ate?

Bane of Anubis said...

Ah, Oscars... one of Lady Bane's favorite events... one that I openly loathe.

Stephanie, according to my wife, I can be quite juvenile sometimes (which is fine by moi)