21 May 2010

Friday Roundup, a bit about genre, and ridiculous Wild, Wild West speak


Last post I dropped a little hint about some new forays into the great, wide realm of genres. Genre busting. Yep. That's me. Pulling out the big guns and kicking in the saloon doors. I'm rounding up some rogue genres and I'm curious...

Any of you write in these here parts? If so, let me hear from you!

Supernatural Thriller: Okay. I just spent 30 minutes trying to find a decent definition of the "supernatural thriller". Apparently there's not one. But they do exist. Just ask Frank Peretti.

Now I am in no way comparing myself to Dean Koontz, Bram Stoker, or Stephen King. That would be stupid. It's just that I have recently discovered that I really, really enjoy a good ghost story. Something creepy (not gruesome) that makes me think, that makes me sleep with the light on, that makes me jump six inches off the sofa when something upstairs falls suddenly at 2am. But to say "I write ghost stories" sounds a big dicey. To say, "I write horror" makes people want to sprinkle holy water over you and make the sign against the evil eye after you've parted ways. But a supernatural thriller? Hmmm...a good old M. Night Shyamalan crossed with a murder mystery that all happens on a dark and stormy night somewhere in distant Algeria. Now you're talking. Of course, you can UP the "supernatural" quota and put it on a distant planet, in the distant future, or maybe the past. Would that make it a "Supernatural Sci-Fi/Fantasy Thriller"? Or how about some good old Dark Fantasy that makes you hunker down under the blankets because you're afraid (genuinely afraid) the evil elves WILL come out after night fall?

After writing all of this I have to wonder...IS there a genre for what I want to write? Perhaps you can help me. Ghost story? Check. Mystery? Check. Dark Fantasy? Double check. Psychological "holy crap I never saw that coming" moments sprinkled throughout? Ah...triple check. Real life or death situations that make your pulse race? Yep. Enough "scare" to make you check over your shoulder at least a half a dozen times while you're writing it? Definitely. No gore, guts or unrelated, totally unnecessary sex scenes. I'm all for some good old medieval violence (a la Brave Heart or Lord of the Rings), but I really don't need to see the old intestines spilled when the axe murder goes on a rampage, capisce?

Genre #2. Are you ready for this one, because I bring this up at random and usually get some rather bizarre looks.


Oh yes. There IS a Santa Claus.
I have long searched for an aesthetic that bound all my bizarre and slightly random yearnings, tastes and penchant for brass castoffs at the thrift store in one handy-dandy, all-inclusive resort stay.
"Have you ever heard of Steampunk?" my sister asked innocently one day.
No. I had not.
Imagine my surprise when I did a good old Google search and discovered heaven. I'll let you do you're own wandering in my newly encapsulated world. Try here, here and here for starters. You'll either fall in love or shake your head and murmur aloud how very, very, very bizarre that Jen chic is. Either way, I'm smiling. I've just opened your mind to a much larger world :) Kind of like my art history professor did when she made us memorize the types of columns on classical buildings. Yep. I still shake a fist at the sky when I pass by a Doric Column and feel the sudden urge to announce to everyone that's what it's called. She told us we'd curse her name. She was right.

So, what to do now?
Research. Which means : READ.
Torture, I know.
But I want to get it "right", you know? Not make those who have been following these genres for years pick up one of my lovely paperbacks, read the back and write hate mail with their quill pens and threaten me with their steam powered butler-bots (of course, if they sent over a fully functional robot that may be really cool...).

That's where I stand, dear readers. I'll be scouting out used bookstores for some oldies, some newbies, and some classics (a night of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells anyone?). Of course, movies will need to be watched. The basics are there, have been, all along. I see them in all my writing. It's just that now I have some labels to smack on the shiny packages to give reference. Huzzah! And while I'm not usually a fan of labels, knowing where your book should sit in the old Books A Million will help when the time comes to write that query.

In other news:
My mom's in Alaska. ALASKA!! Can I tell you how proud of her I am?!?

Someone else out there is as fascinated with airplane toilets as I am.

And, did you know, it IS possible to smell like last nights lobster dinner? Oh yes. It is.

Happy weekend to all!

Disclaimer: this post is insanely long and ridiculously written. However, I was in much pain this morning, did not sleep well, and had coffee against my better judgement. I'm just sorry you all had to pay for it. My apologies.


Brian Miller said...

you got a lot to say today huh? smiles.

Jen Chandler said...

It's the caffiene, I swear ;)

Jen Chandler said...

And I hit the post button by accident at first...

Jon said...

Hahhaha!!! Your links are amazing. :)

Kittie Howard said...

Really enjoyed your major ah ha moment, like Jell-o in a bowl coming together for Jell-o (okay, not the best analogy, but I think you get my drift)...Jen, run with your ideas until the wind filters you down to one, the one you write about. Clicked Steampunk (which I hadn't heard of) and, yes, I can see you writing this (I like the blend), hooray for your sister! And, from the blogs I follow I've noticed that those who've published have written out of current fads. Good luck, Girl!

Brian Miller said...

nice i can read it now...smiles. i have been fooling around with some different styles myself...kinda in my creepy phase at this point...i do try to balance it a bit, so i went sweet today...i so love a good m. night kinda story....or a king...

Mary Aalgaard said...

Steampunk itself is a wonderful mystery. Let your wild engines rev with this one!

(had to share funny word verif. unlatin - must be your style!)

Anonymous said...

Beauty, unaccompanied by virtue, is as a flower without perfume..............................................

Gwen Stewart said...

Ohhh, Steampunk! Now I'm curious...I have to look that one up! Sounds exciting and super fun, Jen. Enjoy your "grueling" research: reading! ;)

God bless you today!

Jody Hedlund said...

Your post is absolutely hilarious, Jen! Hope you have a good week!

Jen Chandler said...

Kittie: I got your drift :) Thanks for the cheering!

Brian: thanks for coming back after I posted the real post :) I hit enter by mistake instead of tab!

Mary: Love the word verification!

Gwen: Steampunk has oodles for your curiosity to enjoy! Let me know what you think!

Jody: Thanks! I'm always cheere to know something I wrote brought a smile :)

Tiana Smith said...

So I keep hearing people talk about steampunk, and I always wondered what the heck it was. Maybe I would call your type of novel a suspense fantasy? I dunno, book are always hard for me to classify. I have a hard time with mine too. :)

Erin Kuhns said...

Since you've mentioned Steampunk, I've heard it twice...and now I can't remember where, or I would tell you. Dang. Bad memory. Still, very very cool stuff. I love your excitement about it all!!!