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"Hard is not hopeless." - General David Petraeus

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Finding My Niche In The World of Novels

One of the toughest things for me in pursuing a writing career is being one of approximately 3 people in the known universe who don't want to write (or read) romance novels of any genre.

On the whole, as a would-be reader of fiction, I most often find myself dissatisfied because writers don't pursue in depth any relationships other than romantic ones.  I want something more.  And that is a very large part of what drives me to write.

Since I don't want to write what is most common, romance, that leads naturally to the next question---so what DO I want to write? And because my take on things is outside the norm, how can I put that unique perspective to work with my stories?

That got me to thinking about favorite TV shows I watched growing up, as well as favorite books.  If you were to ask me off the cuff what I enjoy most in television, I would tell you that I love buddy-centric shows.  Simon & Simon (ok, they had to be buddies, they were brothers. LOL!), Starsky & Hutch, Riptide, etc etc.  My favorite novel, Zane Grey's Forlorn River, knocks my socks off because of the friendship between Ben Ide and the former outlaw Nevada.

BUT...I also love shows/books that feature the "lone hero" concept.  MacGyver, Hawaii Five-0 (the original in this case), Gunsmoke (yes, each has a supporting cast, but the lead character stands head and shoulders [in James Arness' case, literally] above the rest.

So I have a running list of 18 different novel/novella ideas that I want to develop. Naturally, I decided I ought to review that list of 18 titles and see if they leaned more toward buddy-centered fiction or something else.  And as I reviewed the story concepts (some more well developed than others), I found myself surprised by the results:

10 story concepts featuring primarily the Lone Hero
5 story concepts featuring buddies
3 story concepts that were romance (yep--you heard that right.  Romance)

Of those 18 titles:
10 were historical genre
6 fall roughly into contemporary suspense
2 contemporary women's fiction

How very interesting, both from a writing and psychological perspective.

I then decided to take those 18 titles or story concepts, and rank them in the order they interested me.  I was also quite fascinated to learn that the first 5-6 I chose as a priority were about evenly spattered between Lone Hero, Buddy, or Romance.

How weird is that?

It gives me much to think over.  Now that the moving hoo-ha is over and life is beginning to settle down into what passes for normal for me (the constant, wearying drama of the day job aside), I need to get back to writing again.  So I need to have this philosophical battle with myself, get it over with, and pick a project to work on next.

All the philosophical debate in the world is useless to me if I don't produce manuscripts.  THAT is what it is all about.


Anonymous said...

Those are extremely interesting results in your case, Brenda. I'm posting a "sort of" review on Thursday in which I mention your name as a barometer of sorts. How's that for an enticement? You'll understand all my innuendoes when you read it. Anyway, I'm kinda anxious to hear your thoughts on it.


B.K. Jackson said...

I look forward to reading your post, as always!