Monday, July 7, 2008

A Novel Idea

So I think I discovered several reasons why my writing was going less-than-smoothly:
a) Corporate America is a creativity downer
b) My current living arrangements provide little quiet time and no truly comfortable place to work.
c) I couldn't figure out what genre my book needed to be.
Part of the problem is that there's just too much supernatural stuff going on in my storyline(between the angels and prophecies) to be just general fiction, or even "literary" fiction. I was leaning towards magical realism, but somehow the genre just didn't vibe with my writing style, and I ended up getting frustrated.
Inspiration dawned, however (as it generally will in times of need), when I picked up a series by Anne Bishop, the Black Jewels Trilogy. I used to read quite a bit of fantasy, but grew bored when all of the books I picked up had the same basic storyline over and over again. Bishop's series, however, incorporated entirely new ideas, including a new take on the same-old Christian mythos. The series explores the more practical details behind the the often-generalized "darker" realms, such as the laws that would govern behavior in hell (because it can't just be a free-for-all). Anyway, long story short, I wouldn't claim that they were the best books every written, and I skimmed through parts of them, but they got me thinking: why couldn't my book be a fantasy novel?
After all, I'd be in the best of company: both C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien used the fantasy genre to explore Christian ideas. The genre lends itself to the type of grandiose metaphors that theology requires, and where else can a talking lion walk around paraphrasing Jesus without it being a farce?
Anyway, the novel is now officially a fantasy story, and it's flowing much more smoothly. The problem before had always been trying to determine if the reader should believe that the main character--who is speaking to angels--is crazy, or whether she truly is a prophet. She was always questioning whether or not she needed to be institutionalized, but if the reader doubted her sanity, it undermined her efforts completely. Regardless, the problem is solved by making it entirely plausible that she would be speaking to angels, and the creative juices are flowing freely--I officially have 1/5 of the rough draft written, which may not seem like all that much to some people, but when a book is going to have 45 chapters, it takes a while to get anything finished.

1 comment:

Homero said...

Your musing about 'magical realism' (a genre I personally I find boring) make me think of the recent Pulitzer prize winning novel, "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" which blends many types of genres, from humor to drama, to romance, to yes, even some magical realism. You should read it.

(And your story sounds like something I've been outlining for a few months! Stop reading my mind!)

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