Monday, September 12, 2011

Dirty little writing secrets

So, since last week I aired out my dirty little secret...

...wait, before you jump to any strange conclusions, what I mean is that I occasionally write some seriously creep-tastic stuff... now put down the phone. You don't need to call 911...

We good? Okay. now I'm interested to know how far you stray from the genre you usually write.

Granted, all my stuff has a slightly twisted flavour, but since I usually write YA/MG, it's pretty toned down compared to the 1st Challenge. Rarely though, I do write short stories which I find are a good way to stretch my muscles a little and enjoy sinking into a drastically different kind of perspective. It keeps me fresh 'cause I dump out all the overly-dark stuff in my head that wouldn't fit into my YA/MG stories.

...cause those are dark enough as it is...

Actually, short stories are where I started. I didn't do the whole emo-poetry phase as a teenager. I went straight to stories which usually involved murder of some kind. And often the main character was just slightly short on sanity, but like emo-teenage-poetry, some were pretty melodramatic and overwritten. Yup, I can admit that. One of the first stories I wrote as a teenager was for Social Studies class. We had to choose a partner and do a project that showed our deep knowledge of different political setups. Like, Communism, Socialism, Monarchy, Democracy, etc.

...I think ours was Communism, but honestly, it really didn't matter a whole lot.

My partner and I ended up writing a mini novelette about witch trials in Salam. Why? I'm sure we were just really overtired... It was probably between 10-15,000 words and the main character died at the end. We literally waited until the day before it was due, then I spent the night at her house and we made it up as we typed. We finished around 6am, fell asleep, then were up at 7am to catch the bus to school. We handed it in and, well, let's say the teacher was less than impressed. After all, we were supposed to show we knew all about Communism, right? ...not a story where the main character gets betrayed and burned at the stake.

...let's just say my BS skills were highly developed, even at age 14. Because he was ready to fail us for not doing the project correctly, I wrote a "How 'The Burning Cross*' Relates to Communism' essay, and we ended up getting one of the top marks in the class.

I'd probably turn purple with embarrassment if someone pulled that story out and waved it in front of my face right now... I've still got my copy, buried somewhere in my parents' storage room under the stairs... but I have no plans to dig for it anytime soon and it would probably go through its own trial-by-fire if I ever did find it...

But yeah, writing about witch burning is what started me off on this twisty dark path, so occasionally I go back to my roots and slip into the skin of a death-row inmate, an escaped murderer, or in the case of the 1st Challenge, a stalker who just wants to connect to the one he loves.

So what about you guys? Do you moonlight as a romance writer, tinker with steampunk, or draw goofy children's stories when you need a break from your usual genre? Maybe tap out a zombie comedy with slap-stick humour or a cozy murder mystery with a ghoul & ghost as the detective pair?

*see what I mean about melodramatic? I mean seriously! We thought that was a great title at the time...


  1. Actually, before indulging my desire to write YA paranormal, I tapped into a little bit of erotica. Very adult, not for gentle eyes under the age of 18. I let that go some years ago, but if needed, I could steal back to that quiet place of my imagination...but for now, I'm good with the path I'm on.

  2. I guess I like to write dark things too! Not as dark as what you wrote for the challenge (I loved that, by the way!) but it can be kinda dark sometimes.
    And that's so cool how it started out that way! It's so weird how we find inspiration and what we write about in the simplest things!

  3. I definitely hop around! I write middle grade fantasy and young adult paranormal and science for younger readers. Tried my hand at contemporary YA, but I kept wanting to add a dragon or two...

    BTW, I've "tagged" you over at my blog. If you're interested, you can read the deets at "Tagging Fun."

  4. Everything I write is dark fiction, particularly in the paranormal genre. I can't write poetry, so I don't even try. I am tempted to write a few children's books with my son as the inspiration. That would be far different!

  5. Normally, I write contemporary YA. Then out of the blue, my critique buddies challenged me to write something outside my chosen genre.

    So the birth of the zombie western romance. I'm not a horror writer. I'm not a romance writer. And yet, I did just that--and LOVED it. So fun. I;m starting to find that creepy, dark stuff intrigues me. It's fun to say to people who look at me, this middle-aged woman who lives in Utah, that I write about zombies. Not cute zombies. I;m talking about eat your face off zombies.

    So as you can imagine, I do get some pretty odd looks. That's okay. It's fiction. It's fun!

  6. Well... This post couldn't prove my point better. I've just passed the Versatile Blogger Award on to you, if you want it. You can find details here: Keep writing!

  7. I'm very much a fantasy/paranormal person, minus the creep factor. I've tried my hand at contemporary, but I find it rather dull to write (personally), so I don't do it too often. I've been thinking I need to do some writing exercises outside of my genre lately, though...

  8. Oh yes. I love to dabble in all sorts of areas. Poetry, MG, YA, adult. I don't know if I'm good at all of them, but I like the experience.

  9. I write YA, but I hop around a lot. I have a YA contemporary fantasy, I'm working on a YA paranormal and have two dystopians and a historical I want to write someday. So, pretty much everything. Within the YA genre though. ;) I wish I could write a good cozy mystery or something. Maybe I'll put it on my list... :)

  10. Don't write dark at all (I also loved your first round challenge.) But I do like writing wistful romance, science fiction, steampunk and historical, especially Victorian era, which also ties in with steampunk. So although the genres seem diverse, actually, they make sense. :)

    I loved your story about how you and your friend wrote your first noveletta and then persuaded your teacher of the similarities between the Salem witch trials and Communism.

  11. I love your original voice--your posts always make me smile. :D I have given you an award. Check it out:

  12. My novels so far have been in the crime and thriller genre, and it looks like they'll be staying there, at least for a while. My short story often end up as horror, but I've strayed as far out of my comfort zone as writing an erotic romance short--and guess what? It got published in Lucy Felthouse's SEDUCING THE MYTH anthology! :)

  13. I started out writing very literary short fiction, but ended up getting a publication deal for a comedy about zombie cows in the scifi/fantasy genre. I'm not a stickler for sticking to genre, as the book I'm working on now isn't fantasy, and my to-do list is a mish-mash of various genres. Not sure how that is going to work out in terms of marketing for future products though!

  14. I play around with fantasy, historical fiction, and romance, I think I'm best in my literary fic writing, though. Even the other genres I write tend to end up character driven, but I still like to branch out and see where I can go with my writing. :)

  15. I see someone beat me to the punch on the Versatile Blogger award, but I've just listed you as a recipient of the Versatile Blogger Award, too. You can find the details on this post on my blog:

    I have written romance, and may do so again. That's my deep secret (not particularly a dark secret, tho.)

  16. Nothing wrong with a little creeptastic. I write Fantasy, but it has a little Sci-Fi and paranormal in well as a brewing romance. Life itself is so versatile. Why not writing? :) Of course that's just my opinion.

  17. Not counting the story I'm working on now which is romance parnormal with a sprinkle of seriousness, I don't have a genre. By the way I admire your BS skills (in school) I could never do that.
    I write about people. one story line which I decided not to persue is about a married couple with deep psychological problems. I started that just as a revenge thing - you can write what you want as fiction - but I don't care anymore
    My other WIP is 6 characters who start off meeting as teens in the 50s and keep in touch their entire life. they are all seemingly different but do have something in common. But is not genre writing.


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