Friday, 18 December 2009

Welcome guest blogger, Desert Breeze Author, P.I. Barrington


With the explosion of fantasy and computer graphed movies such as Twilight and now James Cameron's Avatar, more and more entertainment formats are intertwining genres' of fantasy, science fiction, murder mystery and romance. This is especially true with books, which spawned the crossover of genres' that literally began this snowball effect.

This, as Martha Stewart would say, is a good thing.

It's my belief and my practice to read as many different genres' as I can, with the exception of non-fiction. Not only does it expand your mind, it expands your creativity and skill level.

One genre' can help another. An example would be world building and dialogue. If you're writing a science fiction novel, reading an historical genre' can help with using deferential dialogue: in other words, if you learn how people speak to a king or god or leader, you can transfer that type of dialogue into your science fiction if you have some type of authority figure that needs to be addressed with reverence or protocol. Historical genre' can also help with constructing a hierarchy of society in science fiction right down to where robots and/or alien characters stand. Cross-genre' reading almost always expands a writer's vocabulary, lending credence, authenticity, and descriptive prose to your most important tool: words!

If you write crime thrillers, reading a cozy mystery can give you comprehension of the way clues are distributed and relevant, an indispensable gift when crafting a murder plot. Cozies can also teach you how to create a suspect list and how to use 'red herrings' to throw the reader off for a surprise ending/twist.

Fantasy can give depth, conflict, excitement to your romance novel and make your characters not only interesting but on many occasions loveable in both the platonic and physical sense. Examples: Legolas in Lord of the Rings; Edward and Jacob in Twilight (definite romance/fantasy); Harry Potter & cast. Your characters' conflicts can grow and deepen as well with fantasy and/or paranormals and can include your main character's relationship with the supernatural. They can fear and hate it; you can give them the choice to sacrifice the fantasy/paranormal for love, hate, etc; they can use their fantasy/paranormal relationship to solve problems or crimes. Again, Fantasy and Paranormal can assist in world building and hierarchy construction as well as expanding on both these issues.

Reading different genres' aid writers in a myriad of ways and literally open up your particular genre' or genres' with uncountable facets like a high carat diamond. Not only that, but you just might discover an author or genre' that you love as well as your own standby favorite! I've been pleasantly surprised by other genre's that I expected to dislike and I've never regretted picking up a book that I normally wouldn't read and delving into it with an open mind. As that ancient television commercial used to say: Try it, you'll like it! I promise.

1 comment:

  1. I read a lot of different genres and I have to agree, by reading them, it expands your horizons. I just finished reading 19 Minutes by Jodi Picoult and that is considered "Mainstream." I've never been much of a mainstream person, but I was very impressed with how Picoult just dived the reader into the heart of the characters. She got there emotionally. That's something that can be brought over to the romance genre.

    As a writer, I like to write different genres. I've written, horror, romance, mysteries, thriller/suspense and mainstream. Surprisingly, it was a mainstream short story I wrote called, "Spontaneous Decision," that won 8th Place in the 77th Annual Writer's Digest Compeition in the Mainstream category. That year I also had a horror story place #22 in genre fiction.

    By understand the different genres, you can weave them together as a writer and it will give your story that much more depth. Thanks so much for blogging today, Ms. Barrington.