May 25th, 2010

What should you write next - your guide to picking a genre

Colson Whitehead took a tongue-firmly-in-cheek look at the various genres available to a writer.

Example:
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Fabulism: Ladies with wings and men without mouths. Dancing trees and talkative cows. If it’s for kids, it’s a fairy tale. If it’s for grown-ups, it’s magic realism! Whether you’re 8 or 80, everybody loves magic. This is the perfect genre for writers who may be tempted to throw out manuscript pages when they get stuck — with magic realism, you can just conjure up a flaming tornado and whisk troublesome characters away. “Where’s Jasper?” “Remember that legend I mentioned 25 pages ago, about the Flaming Tornado of Red Creek?”
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To read more examples, click here. Some of them seem to be aimed at real live books, such as “Allegory: This book is about the Black Death . . . or is it? Sample titles: “The Forest”; “The Mound”; “The Illness”; “The Cubby”; “The Lump.”

This section so reminded me of “The Unnamed,” about a man with a mysterious illness that nearly every reviewer - including me - took to be an allegory for something else. Except this piece was written several months before The Unnamed came out.



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Will bookstores soon go the way of music stores?

I’m old enough that I remember when music stores sold records. People a few years younger than me might say they were old enough to remember music stores. Downloads have put most music stores out of business. Will the same thing happen to bookstores?

The Wall Street Journal seems to think so. A recent story begins: “In the massive new Barnes & Noble superstore on Manhattan's Upper East Side, generous display space is devoted to baby blankets, Art Deco flight clocks, stationery and adult games like Risk and Stratego. The eclectic merchandise, which has nothing to do with books, may be a glimpse into the future of Barnes & Noble Inc., the nation's largest book chain.”

Read more here.

It’s interesting to me that I am slowly, slowly separating in my head the content of the book from it’s physical object - cover, heft, deckle edge or plain, hardcover or paperback, font and type size. Even ten years ago I would have thought a book and the story it contains were one and the same thing.



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The stuff of nightmares

http://www.kptv.com/video/23675329/index.html

A local 12 year old girl was home alone when a man knocked on her door. KGW says:
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When Mackenzie heard the man try to open the door, she called 9-1-1 from a corded telephone in her bedroom, she said Tuesday morning.

On the 9-1-1 tape, she could be heard saying "There's someone at my door, and he keeps knocking on it, and he tried to open it."

It seem the man goes away, but on the tape, a frightened Mackenzie heard a noise again at the door and called out in a frightened voice "who's here!"

The dispatcher told her to stay on the line, but to hide in the bedroom closet. The phone cord wouldn't reach. She was then told to hide under the bed, but there wasn't enough space for her.

As a last resort, the dispatcher suggested she hide under a blanket, but not hang up the phone. So Mackenzie threw a yellow blanket over her and lay silent, even as one of the suspects entered the room.
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Read how everything turned out.



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