Monday, June 15, 2015

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #327 -- Magicaliteragenre-ism

What are your favorite genres to blend when you write?

Would "all of them" be an acceptable answer?

I didn't think so either, but it was worth a try.

Probably most of all, I like to combine magical realism and literary with genre adventure. Some of you are perhaps scratching you heads at that response. Don't feel bad. I totally get why that might be. For starters, magical realism is something best left to the Latin American writers, the literati would have us believe. Not only that, but mixing hi-falutin' literary fiction with low-brow genre (and dare I say it, pulp) adventure is tantamount to heresy, like pouring a 400 dollar a glass w(h)ine into a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

But I stand by my statement.

I love to take the ideas of magical realism, with the miraculous woven into the day to day happenstance of regular life without having to give it a second thought. My Show Me a Hero super hero story collection is full of this very conceit.

Mingling the "high ideals" of literary fiction, with its focus on characterization, meaningful symbolism, and grand themes, and putting those ideals into the "common writing" of adventure fiction, likewise, really gets me motivated. There's nothing in the rule book that says a genre writer should write poorly or ignore the history of classic fiction. Most of my favorite stories have already paved the way for this mixture, from Dracula to The Heart of Darkness to The Odyssey.

Most of my pulp writing falls right in line here. In fact I'm sometimes at odds with my pulp-writing buddies when I argue that typically one-dimensional characters can still be just as interesting when they are more fully developed beyond a mere good guy or mere force of nature. Rick Ruby is perhaps the most literary of my pulp characters and I probably enjoy writing him more than any other. He's a mixed bag of darkness and light, hope and hopelessness, love and anger, and he has no qualms about using the women in his life to try to compartmentalize those divergent parts of himself.

So, hand me that half-empty can of cheap American beer and watch me pour your fancy-pants, hoity-toity wine right inside it.