Today kicks off my 30 day blog post challenge. I don’t usually blog on the weekends, so my personal challenge is to do this in 6 weeks, 5 days per week. Click here if you’d like to see the graphic for days 1-10 that I’m using.
Day 1 ~ What is your favorite genre to read? What about to write? Be as granular as you like. Why are they the same or different?
My favorite genre to read, without dispute, is Science Fiction. Within SciFi, my favoite sub-genre is space opera. I adore space opera. Space opera can take place on ships and planets, although usually it’s not planets without some form of space travel. That space travel doesn’t necessarily need to be ships, but that’s the most common. The science can be hard (realistic and gone into detail) or soft (may not hold up to or have enough detail for intense scrutiny), but I do need things to make sense within the rules of the story’s universe. I prefer societies that are gleaming monuments to human ingenuity. This leans toward the old sub-genre called romantic utopia. Not romantic as in relationship romance. Romantic as in hopeful, seen through rose-colored glasses. I like the societies I create to be largely positive, too.
My favorite genre to write. Wow. I would like it to be space opera, too. Sadly, I don’t have enough confidence to try an epic solar-system-spanning story yet, let alone galaxy-spanning. But that is desperately what I want to write. I usually end up writing planet-bound Science Fiction with elements of a Mystery thrown in. I’d say Fantasy is my second favorite genre and Mystery is an arguable third, so I want my stories to have the strong plots that I enjoy reading. There’s either a mystery to solve or a big bad problem to overcome.
Most of my recent stories (all unfinished) have been Science Fiction with a mystery in them. What I’ve discovered, though, is that I’m not that great at thinking up conspiracies and subterfuges. I wonder if it’s because I don’t have a lot of experience being deliberately mysterious. I don’t like to keep Deep Dark Secrets either of my own or on behalf of someone else. I’m fairly open-book in every day life. While the closer a person is to me, the more aspects of my personal life I will share with them, I’ll still openly talk about my day, health, feelings, etc. with pretty much anyone provided it’s appropriate in the situation. I have a strong desire to share with the world (hello, writer!). As my social anxiety has improved, I’ve been able to externalize that desire, as in actually talking to people. I definitely need to read more mysteries to level up this writing skill.
The approach I’m learning to take is to not develop the mystery from the point of view of the main character solving it, but to develop it from the point of view of the person pulling off whatever deed becomes the mystery. What did they decide to do? Why do they need to keep it a secret? If I had to keep this a secret, how would I do it? What kind of person would be able to actually pull this off? Make things as watertight as possible, then set the main character at the other end of the maze and say “Ok, what do you do?” Hopefully there will be a way to uncover the mystery (or not?) without making unrealistic leaps of intuition and luck. Similarly, I enjoy reading and writing “defeat the big bad” plots that are realistic. No deus ex machina to solve the problem on behalf of the main characters!