"I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all."
-Richard Wright, American Hunger, 1977

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Exploring Possibilities

So this week's assignment for the 2YN plan is to determine the genre & subgenre of your story. I know mine's urban fantasy - that's been clear to me from the first blush of the idea - but to me that doesn't narrow it down enough. Should it be truly fantastical - almost mythical - in the style of Charles DeLint or Jane Lindskold's Changer? Should it me more like a harboiled mystery, like Tanya Huff's Blood Ties series? Should it be dark, nearly horror, like her Smoke series? Should it be lighthearted and romantic, like Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Mysteries series? Or could I shift the whole thing and make it science fiction, instead?

This had me completely stumped. How the heck should I know? I thought about it for ages (I actually started down this path during the last assignment, while trying to figure out the central conflict, so I was a bit dismayed to find out that this was the next task.) To me deciding what type of novel I wanted to write - genre and theme and plot - was all one huge dilemma, and I couldn't find any loose threads with which to start unravelling the knot. All of the options had potential, and none of them felt exactly right.

Finally I decided that what I needed to do was actually explore all of these possibilities rather than trying to decide which one was the perfect version of the story before moving on. So I'm writing a summary of the story specific to each - what? sub-sub-genre? tone? I'll just go with type - type of story and, at the end, I'll decide which one looks best or like the most interesting to write. It's actually going really well and it's a lot of fun.

This idea is probably ridiculously obvious to those of you who plot ahead of time, but it's kind of news to me. :) I guess that's why I'm doing this whole Isaiah exercise.

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