(Pre-writing to make sure I don’t forget!)
My writing life has been a bit slow of late, so I don’t have any fresh…well, anything, really…to talk about, so I’ll just stick to the optional question for the month:
It’s sort of an awkward question for me right now, because lately (like, for the last year and a half) what I’ve been writing has been fanfiction. And I’m not sure if that counts as a genre. (I’m fairly sure it doesn’t, regardless of NaNo categories.) So what genre have I been writing in? I guess it’s either the catch-all “fiction”, romance or…is there such a genre as “recent historical fiction”? Or rather, “recent alternate history” fiction? Because the movie I’ve been writing fanfic of is set in 1984, but it’s not the real 1984, as it’s a bit more dystopian (without going full-on Orwell), and I have a tendency to play up the dystopian angle, though not enough to make it a work of dystopian fiction.
I suppose, for the sake of argument, I’ll pretend that “recent alternate history” is a genre.
I have to admit that I have a lot of fun with that, playing around with the early ’80s, not only in revisiting the decade (though the movie’s 1984 is also a lot less colorful than the 1980s I remember (admittedly, I was only 9 in 1984)) but also playing around with all sorts of things we all know came after. For example, in one I wrote a while back, the reporter who’s one of the central characters of the movie managed to write a story that broke the fictional president’s reign of terror. (Okay, okay, “reign of terror” is an exaggeration, but…for cryin’ out loud, there’s a scene in the movie where there are three police-types standing on the streets of New York with freakin’ assault rifles, and everyone ignores them, because that’s their “normal.”) Because that happened about 1986 or so, I figured that made a safe bet that 1988’s election would go differently, and I could make a passing reference to “President Dukakis” in a scene that took place around 1990 or 1991. (Admittedly, there’s no real reason to assume Dukakis would still have gotten the Democratic nomination in such a different 1988 primary race, but I figured “why not?” Considering it was just a single passing reference, I didn’t see any reason to research the other contenders for the nomination to decide if someone else would have been more likely in the atmosphere left behind by a president whose corruption caused his own self-destruction.)
Still, as much as I love doing stuff like that, I guess that’s all secondary to the romance…which is more than a little weird, considering that I’m aromantic and don’t actually like romance as a genre. It’s just that Curt and Arthur are so perfect together and I can’t help wanting to write about them somehow finding a happy ending together, despite their coming from such different worlds! (Of course, the romance is the weakest angle of my already weak writing, what with having zero experience (not to mention being female), but…well, I’ve come to understand a few of the things I do a lot that are most absurd, and I plan not to do them anymore, and hopefully I can even excise them from some of my unposted works that are still waiting for editing, so that’s something, anyway.)
Prior to getting addicted to Velvet Goldmine fanfic, I used to write mostly various types of fantasy. For that, it’s easy to say what I loved: getting to utterly ignore reality, and create a new set of rules for my little fictional world to follow. Admittedly, I frequently depended on pre-existing rule sets (like the set of novel-length works set in the Heroic Age of Greece, starring the offspring of three of the most important and famous of the Greeks who fought at Troy) but I still had more ability to tweak reality to suit me, and as long as I was consistent in that tweaking throughout the work, it was okay, you know?
Getting to create a whole new world, even if it’s only a tiny bit different from reality, is definitely my favorite part of writing all around. I lack the descriptive ability to make others fully grasp what I’ve imagined for my fictional worlds, but my writing is pretty much just for me, anyway. (I’ve only twice tried to actually publish anything, both times quite abortively. I’m going to do a half-hearted self-epub of this past November’s NaNo once I’ve polished it up, but for very different reasons than one normally publishes anything.)