Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Welcome Guest Blogger: Nancy Lindley-Gauthier

Blending genres – for the author
By Nancy Lindley-Gauthier

A nightmare in the making!

Oh dear, are my rejection letters showing? No kidding, its hard to juggle the many genres. If you want to be published – the work must be more mystery for this publisher… more romance for that… and somehow, for your own (and readers) sense of balance they must dovetail together in some fashion, be it nonsensical or otherwise. ( as an aside: why is nonsensical a word, but sensical is not?)

You might well ask why any writer would attempt such a thing. Why not – at best, shake a bit of romance over a solid mystery, and be done with it? Well, indeed, that is exactly what many a writer does do! (Don’t believe me? Let talk about Dick Francis and the famous formula mysteries. In every one there is some heartwarming thread, with a lovely lady… she might, indeed be a potential victim, or perhaps a clue to the crime,… but she’s there.) The romance might not seem vital to the overall story in that sort of mystery – but wouldn’t that mystery seem flat without out it? After all, why bother to solve a crime if there’s no one around to be impressed by your ability?

On the other hand, folks read romances for the ROMANCE… but without conflict/ resolution; well, there’d be no suspense or intrigue at all. So the challenge in blending genres is getting the balance right – not only for the story’s sake itself, but also to suit your publisher.

Although that balance issue might seem something to handle in the planning, its not just as simple as that.

Don’t believe me? In any story, characters become. They each become someone; they build a certain reputation, let us say; the reader sees what kind of person each is, and develops an idea of what that character can and would believably do.

There comes a point; we’ll say half way through, where you realize that you once author, are becoming something of a director – and some of these characters are now resisting - resisting! Your direction. You realize that this one, which you have so laboriously worked to establish, since page one – as a firm, decisive and ultimately heroic person would never actually do the one thing desperate thing you planned on him doing – that in fact, you need him to! You could force it… and risk leaving believability behind. You could re-write the whole damn thing. You could let the $%&$#*&! Character do exactly the plausible thing … and you’ve suddenly lost control of the story. Now, you’ve been weaving this romance and you’ve got elements of a mystery going too - that can And remember you’ve probably got more than one important character.

Suddenly the mixing is more of a melee!

Again, you say, why do this?

The opportunity for depth and insight – from a perspective brought on from 2 different angles. Lets go back to Mr Francis – certainly we, the audience, care a whole lot more about the victim who is also the love interest, don’t we? We are more deeply engaged. The book has overall, a greater evocative power…

So this nightmare brings with it opportunity – but step into blending with caution.

Think of pitfalls, while you aim for the stars.

Nancy A Lindley-Gauthier: Funny romances with strange twists of mystery set in the 1920s when bathing costumes were big, hair-dos were small, and heels hinted at a lady’s virtue. The Painter's Brush with Death, The Painter's Eye for an Eye, and coming Feb. 9th, The Painter's Tempest in a Teapot!

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