Writing Exercise in Genres
Nov. 7th, 2005 @ 09:20 pm
| Darlene trembled against Brett's chest as the rain beat down on them in murderous torrents. But the fury of the storm was nothing compared to the passion burning in her heart. She tried to deny her feelings...he was wrong, so wrong for her....but the fire in her blood screamed that he was so right. As she held him close she could feel his manhood swelling and she knew that he felt the passion too. She was straining to kiss him, fighting herself every step of the way, when she was rescued from her erotic surrender by the arrival of a beguiling stranger whose dark eyes threatened to sweep away all memory of Brett from her tormented mind.
"Excuse me," said the stranger in a voice heavy with import, "can you direct me to a good motel?" She could only imagine what this powerful stranger would do to her in the scandalous anonymity there, and she trembled, partially with fear that he would, and partially afraid that he wouldn't.
Brett could obviously feel the threat, and he manfully placed himself between Darlene and the stranger, his hand reaching for the gun she knew he carried beneath his coat. "There's nothing here for you. Why don't you move along and save us all some trouble?"
Brett did care for her? Her passion for her protector returned, and the moment of weakness brought on by the stranger's dashing good looks was over. She was going to be with Brett forever and ever, and damn and man or woman who tried to get between them!!
* * * * It was probably against professional ethics to be attracted to my client, but the way Darlene was holding me, it was hard not to notice her hot little bod, and notice I did. It might have been embarrassing how much I noticed if she didn't seem to be getting into it.
Then and there, I made an executive decision: Screw ethics.
I was moving on that when a figure appeared out of the rain. I'd never laid eyes on the guy before, but I could tell at a glance that he was one of Callahan's goons. He smirked at like he knew what I'd been about to do, and his wise ass remark drove the point home: "Excuse me, can you direct me to a good motel?" He knew who I was, who Darlene was, and he was here to deliver a warning from Callahan.
A warning or maybe more...
I pulled the dame behind me and moved my hand towards my gun so he'd know I was armed and wasn't afraid to use it if he wanted to do more than talk. I gave him my nasty stare and tried to scare him off, "There's nothing here for you. Why don't you move along and save us all some trouble?"
My fingers wrapped around my Glock, and that made me feel a lot more comfortable. Callahan didn't have any guys without backbones, though, so it all depended on his orders. Was he supposed to grab the girl now, or just try and scare me off? I waited for him to make a move...
* * * * It had been a bad few years after a bad decade and a bad century, and it was looking like an even worse millennium was shaping up. The being who currently called himself Frank and whose portfolio was "God of Traveling Salesmen" (formerly "God of Hucksters", before that "God of Peddlers", and all the way back in the formative years of language had been "God Who Gives You a Broken Stick and Then Hightails it Over the Glacier With Your Comfy Mammoth Rug"...that is, a Trickster God of the Old School) cursed the Internet once more under his breath. The damn television shopping networks had been bad enough, but with the new technologies people were setting up their scams at home and not going anywhere, and that meant he was losing worshipers by the week. If things kept up like this, he might even lose coherence and become just a figurative notion.
And wouldn't that suck eggs, eh?
He slogged through the rain, his muttered curses spawning spam, lag, and outright network failures throughout the Greater Akron area...a fading god or not, his curses still had potency. Not only that, but that bastard Thor was still pissed at him for sleeping with his wife Sif...and that had happened before the dawn of recorded history!
Frikkin' Norse sure could hold a grudge.
So he slogged through the endless thunderstorms that followed him around exactly like the wrath of a vengeful god, looking for a place to stay or maybe a service station that still did car repair. Up ahead, he spied a pair of mortals, neither of which had the greasy aura that would have revealed one of his followers. Which made them customers, which he said to himself with the same disdain as someone else might say "suckers." Not, mind you, that he was carrying anything to sell just now, but even so it was good to keep it in mind if an opportunity came up.
So he walked up to them and asked politely, because polite is the way to go in his line of godhood, "Excuse me, can you direct me to a good motel?"
The male mortal whirled and pushed the girl behind him, his hand diving for a hidden gun in his jacket. He growled at Frank and said, "There's nothing here for you. Why don't you move along and save us all some trouble?"
Frank paused. He hadn't been expecting this one. Clearly the mortals around here were on the tense side. He considered his position carefully. He was immortal, of course, but getting his corporeal form killed would hurt, and worse, it would cost quite a bit of faith to reconstitute a new one. And there wasn't a lot of faith left in the world, especially not in salesmen. So his normal inclination to tell the bastard to fuck off and to curse him with boils in an uncomfortable place really wasn't the best plan. On the other hand, the mortal didn't seem too receptive to conversation, and it might cost even more juice to talk him down.
He sighed. What did I do to deserve this?
A massive thunderbolt echoed like a cannon across the parking lot and spooked the mortal into drawing his gun and aiming it right between Frank's eyes.
The God of Traveling Salesmen sighed and rolled his eyes. Besides that.
* * * *
It should be obvious, of course, but the point was really driven home to me recently when I picked up a book I'd been checking in. I forget the title, it was fairly generic, but the blurb went something like: "Diana Jackson, a beautiful CIA analyst, discovers a plot by terrorists to destroy the nation's capitol. Framed for treason, she's on the run and trying to save Washington while both the terrorists and her own agency seek her death. Her only hope for salvation is Jack McGinnis, a hard-bitten FBI agent who is the only one to believe her outlandish story. But neither could expect the passion that would enflame their hearts..."
It is not what you say but how you say it.
Until that last line, you might have thought you were talking a Clancy/Ludlum style spy thriller but suddenly it takes a left turn and reveals itself to be a Romance novel, sub-category Romantic Suspense. I've noticed a trend in popular fiction lately of the haphazard mixing of genres. Ancient Roman detectives, romantic spies, slapstick science fiction heroes, etc. etc.
It seems, however, most prevalent in the Mystery genre. Possibly there are too many contemporary books out there, because more and more writers seem to be venturing into odd places and times for their settings. Ancient Rome, as I've mentioned, but also pre-shogunate Japan, medieval Europe (a popular period with at least two different series set there that I can think of off the top of my head), Victorian England (not too surprising, I suppose, since this is the era of Holmes), and even in the future with a cop in New York in 2069, and another series where the heroine is an A.I.! Those who don't go for alternate times are increasingly going for alternate places. Navajo cops on the reservation, a Japanese police superintendent, even an African woman detective in the Ladies Number One Detective Agency series, all of these have crossed my desk into the hands of patrons.
In any case, the actual plot of a story seems to matter much less, at least vis a vis selling it, then the genre in which it takes place. So I propose the following writing exercise to any and all interested parties: Write a scene where the same events and dialog take place but they are experienced in the style of at least two different genres.
And don't forget to have fun with it!!