8.8.11 | By: Megan Langham

Day Seven of Fifteen Days: Genre

All right, this is a bit confused. It ought really to be day eight, but since I've never watched videos having to do with writing I wasn't sure how to go about posting one; and I also happened to skip day six, because as I don't have a bucket list the challenge wasn't exactly relevant. This one, however, is:

Your favourite genre to write.

(And I believe I am now going to abandon the third person, as it was fun to begin with but has over time grown harder to sustain. Funny, because when I'm writing not about myself it's always the other way round.)

There is an easy answer to this. Which is odd, you know, as I don't technically have a favourite genre. I've tried my hand at a decent few and enjoyed them all (though I must admit that the idea of writing detective fiction frightens me a bit). But there is one that I keep coming back to in spite of all my protests, and it is ...

...historical fiction.

It demands a mind-numbing amount of research, especially before during and after NaNoWriMo. It gets in the way of your brilliant subplots if by any chance you've overlooked some aspect of that same research. It's not nearly as popular or bestselling as romance and fantasy. But for all of its faults, it is (in my opinion) the most glorious genre to write.

I've grown to like research. Yes, even look forward to it! As enjoyable as a fresh new fantasy world can be to explore, there's something so much more thrilling about events that really happened. Time and again I've found the tired cliche to hold firm: truth is indeed stranger than fiction. Also, a certain amount of creative work can be thereby saved: historical events make prime background material for the story your mind is already brewing. 

There are many ways to make the tales of the past your own. My history-based stories, for example, generally bear a streak of the fantastical, a hint of otherworldliness--particularly if their setting already lends itself to the dream-like. Somehow these are the settings I always seem to choose, perhaps because they are usually obscure and difficult to research. (That's a subconscious decision on my part, it must be. I don't torture myself on purpose.)

So, anyway, there it is: instead of my "favourite"genre, the genre I feel most at home with. Every time I branch out, I keep coming back to it. And to my mind that is not at all a bad thing.

(Out of curiosity, why do people always preface their remarks with "in my opinion"? Of course it's your opinion; you wouldn't be stating it otherwise. Hm. Fascinating.)

5 missives:

Jenny said...

I wonder that too, the "in my opinion" phrase. Along with, "Personally, I..." I use both phrases, and both phrases perplex me.

I think you will like Between Earth and Sky. It has that historical aspect that you like as well as the fantastical. Well, I know you like it, but I think you will like the whole thing when it is finished.


Rachel and Sarah said...

Great post, Megan! I loved it! Certainly events in historical fiction are great aids in helping our inspiration along! I think one of the reasons I love historical fiction best of all genres is because of the hope it gives...when you read a fantasy book, as much as you love it and long for it to be real, you *know* it is all an web of beautifully spun imagination. But when you lay down a historical fiction novel there is a shadowy hope deep in your heart that it was all real. That the Scarlet Pimpernel really existed. That Anastasia never died, that Capt. Ralph Percy and his Lady Jocelyn really did have to escape from the evily gorgeous Lord Carnal...*dreamy sigh*....I love it best of all genres. Thanks for your thoughts on it!

Jenni said...

Say, have you read Hawk of May by Gillian Bradshaw? I suddenly thought of that when you said historical fiction with a streak of the fantastical...

Meghan said...

Hi-five! A fellow historical fiction writer! :) I LOVE research...sometimes to my detriment because I occasionally get distracted from actually writing! LOL
Love your name, btw. ;)

Megan L. said...

Jenny - I already know I love Between Earth and Sky, and I want more of it to love. *hints largely* But there, I won't stand over you with a bull-whip - much as I should like to. ;P

Rachel - Thank you! And I absolutely agree that there's something wonderful about a foundation of reality underscoring a romantic story - you can't get that from fantasy.

Jenni - I haven't read that, actually, but I want to just from the title. ;) I'll be sure to look it up!

Meghan - High-five right back at you, fellow lover of research (and fellow-most-gorgeously-named)! Oh, yes, it's a double-edged sword - but worth every joyous minute. ^.^

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