Sunday, September 21, 2014

Next Up - Excavating a Genre

This was a hell of a week.  Actually, when it come to medical, family, social, technical matters, it's been a hell of a year, but more than usual this month.

All the same, my brain is back in gear, and I have plenty to blog about and to write.  It's just taking me a little longer to get all the pieces in place.

I had this idea about a shift in my schedule that should make me oh, so much more productive, and the very next day, a series of disasters commenced that kept me from getting anywhere near having any kind of schedule at all.  I couldn't even predict when I would be sleeping.

All the same, I'm getting back on track, and I think I have the real next blog series for you: a series about exploring some familiar tropes and building a genre out of them.  Or at least a sub-genre and personal voice out of it.

The approach I'm taking is similar to the approach I did when I was doing the first work on the Situation Game and started with exploring the "character structure" of certain kinds of romantic suspense stories.

The point of that was to unearth not just the core of the actual genre, but also to identify my own personal sub-genre.  The points that appeal to me about the genre, and make it mine as a reader and a writer. 

This time, though, I'm looking at something a little more nebulous. Something that is an identifiable trope, and yet doesn't really have it's own genre name.  You see it mostly in children's fiction, or stories about children, but sometimes you see the pattern in books for and about adults.

I think of it as the "Child Embarking on a New Life Alone" story.

Like the "Hostage Story" I wrote about last year, this pattern crosses over a whole lot of similar genres.  It fits with road stories and journey stories. It certainly crosses with heroic "quest" adventure.  It suits the "picaresque" type story I learned about in college. It even fits with the classic "issue" stories of the past.  It's also a kind of pioneer story -- which usually involves a whole family rather than a child alone.

So over the next few weeks I will, sporadically, write about those genres, and the various books which struck this specific chord with me over the years.  I'll also be talking about how these tropes have influenced various of my own books.

(Not the least of which is the book I hope to release next month: Moon Child, Ready or Not.  This is a long fantasy book -- kind of a meta-quest book -- that I think hits pretty much all of those types of stories.)

I don't know if I'll have a full post ready for you on Wednesday, but I will at least post a preliminary book/movie list of the stories that I'll be talking about.  Many of these books are out of print. There are a few that I don't even remember the title or author.  Some are famous and current.

See you in the funny papers.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Hoping things settle down for you soon, Camille. Glad to hear that you feel as if you're getting back on track! And the genre excavation sounds interesting.

The Daring Novelist said...

Thanks, Elizabeth! Was awakened early this morning by two more crises. Sigh. But we struggle on....