Monday, September 26, 2011

Of Substance and Originality

While we are still awaiting the results of my son's biopsy and MRI, I have been slowly easing back into the groove of writing. I've been gearing back up to the point of full capacity. Work on the novella is progressing well while the novel is being carefully maintained. I am also formulating several other ideas into story lines that I think are real winners, particularly because they're things I've noticed my wife has taken an interest in. Stay tuned for more info!

Another thing that's been on my mind lately is the apprehension of genres that are being used on a constant basis. While I love science-fiction, fantasy, political thriller, horror, poetry, even the abstract, I've noticed that a lot of them have been played again and again. I love new and creative ideas, but lately there haven't been many. There have been remakes, re-imaginings, and expansion on existing genres. A lot of them aren't executed well. Let's take the latest vampire craze; I do enjoy a good horror story, or even suspense/mystery with vampires, the idea has been beaten into the ground with oodles of films done as either empty gore-fests, or teeny-bopper flicks that fill up space. Anymore, they don't have the good substance that makes for an incredible story. They're either mindless monsters or love-crazed youngins. What happened to the Dracula story, or even the eerie story of I Am Legend, including its various film adaptations? The concept of the vampire, for the most part has been turned from a gothic/horror tale into a soap opera genre.

I've been working on a fantasy story for over a decade, mainly because I'm trying to wait for a 'dry spell'. By that I mean when I did finish it years ago, the Lord of the Rings films were coming out. I felt like my originality would be questioned. So I spent the past decade reworking the original concept to ease away from sounding too similar to the Tolkien works and various period pieces being dished out every year.

Enough of my venting. What do you all think?


  1. With the success of The Vampire Diaries (LJ Smith) and the Twilight series (Stephanie Meyer) among the teenagers and YA set, all the focus went on those genres for a few years. But that was a few years ago. Afterwards, the tide turned and agents were looking for something else, something fresh. Zombies were good for awhile, but that's been played out, too. Dystopian stories are still hot, even with all the complaints from parents. I think fantasy will always be big, with both adults and youngsters. LOTR will always be popular though the films have played out. As long as your story is unique with a fresh voice, I wouldn't worry about the comparison.

    As for your son, I hope you have good news. Again, you're in my prayers.

  2. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. I know what you mean. I just hate how it's like a phase: it's here for a while and then something newer becomes the next 'in'. The dystopians will always be popular I think. They're good thought provokers.

  3. I still think any genre can be written well if the execution is fresh enough. That, I believe, comes down mostly to voice and character. With the right perspective, I think someone could still write a decent vampire story. The problem is with people who write to cash in on a trend. Originality suffers in that case. And, ironically, it's originality that is often rewarded the most.

  4. Julius - You know what I think on this matter...dig it out, dust it off, look it over, spruce it up, and release. By the by....I'm so glad to hear about J. Been praying for you all. ~ Nadja

  5. LGS- execution is key. Trends are still risky business, because originality packs the most punch.

    Nadja- I'm reworking that one for the more mythological aspect. Thank you so much for the prayers!

  6. Write what is in your heart and let the world see if there’s a place for it.
    Don’t change anything if it is right for the story, I hope you find your way.

    Finally got internet back, let’s hope it stays.

  7. I have finally come to that point. That's how I feel: I'll tell my story.

  8. I think almost any book or movie that is a financial success suddenly becomes a model for more of the same. Some authors and screenwriters are always looking for some sort of template for success. I suppose they sometimes earn a living doing it, but it can't be very rewarding from an artistic point of view. However, not putting your book out there because someone has already "done" the idea or premise is a recipe for circular frustration; someone has ALWAYS done it before. They haven't done YOURS though. What are you hoping to gain by waiting for the time to be "right?" It never will be the right time.

    I know - easier said than done, right? I hope you decide to go for it anyway.

  9. I will, I just don't want to do it the same time everyone else is.