Sunday, October 11, 2009

Reading and Writing

I love to read almost any genre. Oh, there are a few I won't touch with a ten foot pole. Like anything on Oprah's Book Club for instance. Too much angst and depression there for me. I want a happy ending, and most of the books on her list end in tears. Not for me. Nope. Too many bad things in the world to want to waste my time reading something that exemplifies that. Anyhoo, I read a thread on a forum that made me think of this topic...are there things you like to read that you can't necessarily write?

The answer for me is a big Yes. I love me some historicals. For the most part they are fun to read. I love the structure of the society norms, the rules the hijinx the characters get into to try and circumvent those rules. However, I don't think I could write a full on historical. I do have a paranormal Victorian under my belt, but it was a novella, not novel legnth and relied on other elements to "break rules." I have written a paranormal/Gothic/contemp. that occurs in three different time periods, but again, not the entire book is written in an historical voice. I'd love to do it someday, but I am fearful.

I do know love the fact that over the years, I have been able to stretch my writing comfort zone a bit. I do write things now that I don't think I could have put on paper 10 or 15 years ago. Maybe in a another few years I'll feel comfortable enough to do that full length historical. I do have one in mind I'd love to write, but it is highly improper (snerk) and lives on the fringes of polite society. As in...not at all. It's about the other side of society. The working class, not the well off. There are no ballrooms, or oppulent surroundings, and there's lots and lots of sex.

I have all my research materials in place, but I haven't had time to read them yet. I want to get some of these other books on my harddrive cleared away before I do.

So, what about you? Are there books out there you'd love to write, but don't know if you feel comfortable in that genre, or sub-genre?



Tierney O'Malley said...


Like you, I love to read historical romances. It is my dream to be able to write one but never tried. I don't think I'll be able to pull it off. Too much for me. For the past few months, I've been working on my first YA. I think I can do it and feel a bit more comfortable weaving the story. We'll see what happens.

Carrie said...

Hi Kat,

If you haven't read this book yet, you'll want to. It's called Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane. It's from the early 1890's, but can still be a decent resource for you.

The story itself isn't very long, roughly 56 pages of readable text. If you see books thicker than this, it's because there are tons of references, reviews and critiques.

I can't remember exactly how the story goes, it's been awhile since I read it, but I can tell you this, the language is so goofily (okay, not a word, but it really fits here) written that you can't make sense of some of the dialogue without it. Yeah, Crane wrote in the manner in which people actually spoke back then, and has been considered an important record of slang terms and customs of the time.

Funny when you really think of it, because now, if you write the way people speak, some editors want to edit it...

I like historicals too, but I don't think I can buckle down enough to do the research to get the stuff right.

I just thought of another text I read that might be of some use to you. It's called Confessions of an English Opium Eater (and other writings) by Thomas De Quincey. The stories basically chronicle De Quincey's actual addiction and the madness he saw. Laudanum (opium-derived legal painkiller), was in wide use by many, and not many people actually write about it when they write historicals. Alcohol is usually the drug of choice....

I hope this helps!

Tierney O'Malley said...

Hey Carrie! How are you? So you're going to be my agent? ;) LOL

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