Well, Spring fever has hit my house. We're prepping to paint and clean-out items that have been cluttering and hiding the dust bunnies.
Writers are constantly prepping their work. Whether they are plotting...rough drafting...their story or typing whatever comes to mind, everything always comes back to the prep-work as this happens at any stage. Part of this is deciding and knowing what genre you're working in and, you got it, this all leads into this week's musing:
Is there a topic you're afraid to touch, refuse to touch?
I’m not certain that there is anything I might not touch. However, probably I wouldn’t write about horror, because I don’t think I could do it justice. I have written mystery and also I have written a couple of short stories where people have died, but I feel most comfortable writing YA and maybe romance. There is another thing I never thought I would write, but I have attempted some erotica though it hasn’t been published yet. As a writer I feel if the story goes there then I have to write it. I have actually been surprised by what I can write, so I am not sure that I would say there is a subject I wouldn’t touch. If it fits in my story I will probably write about it.
In my first book If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, I knew nothing about my character’s condition and I had to research it. So if I did find a character had something that I didn’t know about I would research it. If my story went in another direction I would probably research that too. I don’t veer toward the macabre, but you never know where the words will take you.
ALIX RICHARDS, Hot author:
It’s not so much topics I won’t touch, but rather genres themselves. I won’t touch YA, Mid-grade and children’s books, at least not to be published. The reason is pretty simple; there are rules for every genre, which can restrict creativity. Plus, I’m horrible at playing by the rules and tend to push the envelope whenever I pick up a pen (or sit at a keyboard, lol). The reason I tend to avoid those topics for books may also have to do with the fact I wasn’t an average child, so don’t know the first thing about the subject. And that is one thing you should have, the knowledge of what you’re writing about. I can’t write about a childhood I didn’t ever have.
So for me, I’ll leave those tales to be told by writers who write those genres (and are good at it). I’ll stick to all the others (there are MANY to choose from!). I’m sure eventually, there will be another genre (or even a subject) that will not pass through my fingers. But until then, we’ll have to wait and see.
I refuse to touch anything dealing with horror, rape, or explicit sex. I'm of the “old school,” where reading a novel was for enjoyment, not for getting scared just for the sake of getting scared, or horror for the sake of horror. I thoroughly enjoy stories on happy ‘reality’ life without dwelling on the gruesome ‘true’ life.
I guess my reading enjoyment level, and therefore my writing, has not progressed much beyond the Pollyanna or Anne of Green Gables stage.
What will I never touch in my writing is anything to do with the harming of a dog or dogs, much less the death of same. Yup, it's that specific. For a simple straightforward reason: I'm a dog lover. Always have been, always will be. I spent my childhood sobbing when I read books such as Where the Red Fern Grows and Old Yeller. I'd lay awake at night trying to rewrite the dog's death in my head. Now, if I think about writing a scene where a dog is hurt or even dies of a ripe old age, I cry. And remember, I write murder mysteries, fantasies and sometimes horror. I'm happy to kill people, but never dogs!
This probably marks me as rather old-fashioned, and unrealistic, but I never use swear words in my writing. Sometimes, certain characters might be expected to swear, but I usually get round it by saying that the character swore, rather than stating what he or she said, and then the reader can substitute whatever word they like. However, if this is used too often, dialogue sounds stilted, so I don't usually write about characters who I think would swear repeatedly.
I know that swearing is part of everyday life, but it seems to me that we have such a rich language that there must be sufficient words to use for all occasions, without using words that risk offending people.
Keep reading and dreaming. If there’s anything you’re curious about just drop me a note: MuseChrisChat@gmail.com