Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Take My Genre, Please.

The brisk air crackled with unanticipated excitement on the septuagenarian morn; blue-black crows cawed their nervous greetings above the ever-rolling hills, purveyors of nuisance. Beyond the craggy, distant, snow-covered, imposing peaks,—

Muse: Stop. Please stop.

—a plume of wispy smoke wisped up to the azure sky, signaling—

Muse: Oh, stop, stop, stop, STOP!100_3753

Me: What?

Muse: What are you doing?

Me: Writing a scene. Why?

Muse: I step out for a minute to stretch my legs and this is what happens? What’s with all the adjectives? And dude, use a dictionary.

Me: I thought I’d try something different.

Muse: We’ve been through this. Your readers don’t want different. They want you. Your voice. Writing what you write. No space aliens. No romance novels. No vampires.

Me: What’s wrong with vampires? They’re popular, you know.

Muse: There’s nothing wrong with vampires. But you’ve never bitten about vampires before.

Me: Hey,I’m the writer; you’re just here for inspiration. Please leave the wordplay to me.

Muse: See what happens when you try something new?

Me: Point taken. So you’re saying to stick to what I do best.

Muse: Exactly.

Me: Like simple sentences with simple words? Sentence fragments? One adjective per page? Stories about normal people in sticky situations?

Muse: It’s what your readers want. Frankly, you can’t handle much more than that.

Me: So no stories about talking trees? I was hoping to branch out.

Muse: Maybe we should both lay off the wordplay.

Me: Agreed.

Muse: Take your Last Laff mystery series. Please.

Me: Of all the muses I could get, I’m blessed with Henny Youngman? I thought we were going to stop the funny-biz.

Muse: Sorry. But seriously, in that series, you’ve taken a fairly normal protagonist, at least for a stand-up comic, and put him into a sticky situation. That’s what your readers expect from you. That’s what will make them happy.

Me: Not my sense of humor?

Muse: You’re lucky it’s not that. In your books, there’s some humor, but they’re primarily suspense/mystery stories. The humor is just a backdrop. At least that’s what you’ve been telling me.

Me: So what should I do if I feel the burning desire to write in another genre?

Muse: Try to quench it.

Me: And if I can’t?

Muse: That’s what pseudonyms are for. And personal journals. And Twitter. And epublishing.

Me: Oh.

Muse: One more thing. According to my union, it’s one muse per genre. So you and I would have to part company. And I know you don’t want that.


Muse: Well?

Me: Is my next muse likely to be funnier than you? Or at least nicer?

Muse: No.

Me: Okay, then. Let’s get back to work.


What about you, Inkers? Have you had the urge to write something in another genre? What’s been your solution?


(BTW, that’s a picture of my muse working a pool party on his day off. I guess I don’t pay him enough.)




Darrell James said...

You're a hoot, alan! (Or maybe your muse is.) Love it! I, now and then, think about writing something paranormal. And then I sober up.

Lois Winston said...

Many authors have very successful careers writing in different genres (and often different voices/styles) under the same name. Others take pen names because their publishers request it. You need a more flexible muse, Alan.

G.M. Malliet said...

I tend to veer into parody if I venture into genre. Better I stay put.

Alan Orloff said...

Darrell - Sobering up is never good for writers.

Lois - A more flexible muse, and a better dresser, for sure.

Gin - I guess if it ain't broke, don't fix it. (Although there's nothing wrong with a little parody once in a while.

Cricket McRae said...

Sol! (That stands for snorting out loud, not, well, you know...)

Great post, Alan. One thing about mysteries is you can always trick your muse a bit by sneaking in a little cross-genre toe dipping. Paranormal mysteries, historical mysteries, romantic suspense, and on and on and on.

Keith Raffel said...

Alan, looking forward to your next mystery: "Murder of the Muse."

Robin Allen said...

Fun post, Alan. I flirted with writing a romance a while back, but kept wanting to kill people. Sticking with mystery for now.