This week, we are talking about thinking outside the box – and no, not that Taco Bell thing. We’re talking about writing outside of our primary genres. I really haven’t strayed far from science fiction and horror, except for one western (“Atonement”) and some drama (“Bump and Grind”).
I’ve thought about doing some fantasy because I love J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Ring trilogy, along with C.J. Cherryh’s Morgaine, the White Witch saga and Marion Zimmer Bradley (Avalon).
But, the truth is I'm rather apprehensive about writing in another genre. There are just some things in my life where I want to stay in my comfort zone. Maybe one day I'll be able to do it, like Stephen King did with Duma Key, but not now.
Don't listen to me ramble on about it, though. Let's check in with today's guest blogger.
Today, we're lucky enough to get some insight to the subject of writing outside one's primary genre from Deborah LeBlanc, an award-winning, best-selling author and business owner from Lafayette, Louisiana. Interestingly enough, she is a licensed death scene investigator (only for death scenes, not crime in general). She has been an active paranormal investigator for more than 15 years.
Deborah is the president of the Horror Writers Association, the Writers’ Guild of Acadiana and the Mystery Writers of America – Southwest Chapter. Back in 2004, she created the LeBlanc Literacy Challenge, an annual campaign that encourages people to read. In 2006, she founded Literacy Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting illiteracy among America’s teens.
Her most recent novel is Water Witch.
And, despite those impressive credentials, even Ms. LeBlanc has some trepidations about writing in another genre.
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[caption id="attachment_2263" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Deborah LeBlanc"][/caption]
Believe it or not, I’ve been asked, and contracted, to write a paranormal romance. (One, one thousand, two, one thousand….okay, time’s up, you can stop laughing now!)
The paranormal part comes easily to me, of course. The romance part . . . well, for those of you who know me, no further explanation is needed. For those of you who don’t, think GI Jane playing the part of Juliet in Shakespeare’s infamous play. If you can’t quite wrap your brain around that picture, let me give you a hint of how the dialogue would run….
“Hey, Romeo! Yo, Romeo, where the hell you at?”
Yeah, unfortunately, I never did get the whole girly-girl type of romance most women seem to enjoy. I mean if a guy sends flowers and candy, I’m appropriately impressed and appreciative, but to tell you the truth, it makes me a little antsy. Stupid and irrational, I know. I think it’s some screwed up internal mechanism inside me that suddenly clicks on at the sight of candy and flowers, making me fear the guy will soon expect me to start acting like…well, like a real girl. You know, painted fingernails, frilly dresses and all that.
Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against women who paint their fingernails and wear frilly dresses. I just ain’t one of them. I’m more of a jeans, t-shirt, and boots kind of girl. Sure, I enjoy candlelit dinners and late night strolls on a beach, but that’s lagniappe in romance, in my opinion. The crux of a romantic adventure, for me anyway, is when a guy has interests similar to mine, has a fast wit and sharp mind, and he’s just as comfortable skipping rocks in the ocean with me as he is just talking while we stroll along its shores. A guy who’s not afraid to talk about anything, no matter how bizarre the topic and who understands my need to ‘touch’ everything so I can experience it fully. Like the time I had myself locked in a casket . . .
So, as I’m sure you’ve surmised by now, tuning into a ‘standard’ romance is a bit of a challenge for me. Although I’m sure not all women hold the same definition for romance, I’d like to get as close as I can to what’s ‘typical,” so it at least rings true to most women. Feels weird, though . . . asking your daughters and sister for that answer.
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I want to thank Deborah for making us feel so antsy about going outside the box. It's nice to know that someone else is feeling the same way.
Just like all those kids in the back of the class who bombed the math test and suddenly become best friends until the bell rings.
For more information on Deborah's fiction and her work against illiteracy, please visit www.deborahleblanc.com and www.literacyinc.com