Annie On Writing

September 29, 2011

Don’t Box Me In!

Filed under: Articles From write anything,My Journey as a Writer — Annie Evett @ 12:20 am

My official bio announces that I “infuse my eclectic writing and artwork with life experience drawn on years teaching, traversing the corporate landscape and motherhood.” I think all that means is that I am confused.. but it sounds better.

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up; so how is it that I can be expected to know what genre best describes my work?

Just as I fell into writing, I have fallen into the sandpits of many genres as I experiment and explore my craft.   I admire the tenacity of writers who announce their single minded passion in pursuing one genre above all others and secretly wonder what on earth is wrong with me. Why can’t I just choose one?  For heavens sake there are hundreds of sub-genres to choose from.

I would have to say that I am most comfortable exploring darker themes in urban mythicalism; at least thats where my characters tend to lead me.  I often despair at never writing a fluffy ‘nice’ story where no-one dies or something heart wrenching happens. Even when I try, a maddened gunman will mow down the tender lovers scene, or a virus suddenly explodes turning everyone into mindless zombies. Sweet characters turn out to be psychos and innocent exchanges; a shield for international conspiracy. However, I have found solace with the thought that someone has to find the humanity in these situations; so perhaps its my journey to express some of these through my stories.

My writing tends to be character driven, rather than genre based. This approach has allowed me to visit far flung planets, ancient tribal cultures, fantasy worlds, the grimy streets of reality and the often fluffy pages of romance and chick lit.  I imagine my characters hang out in something similar to a theatres greenroom; waiting for their call or a lull in the normal program, before they can burst onto my pages and into my imagination.

When I first started to write flash fiction using the Write Anythings Friday Fiction prompts, I also gave myself another challenge – to write in a different genre each week. I blogged about this challenge here   and for a good four months, wrote a flash fiction piece in a different style each week. Some I’d never heard of, much less read – so had to do research and some focused readings on examples from the genre.  Some resonated with me more than others; and it was a great exercise to get out of my comfort zone and try something a little different.

Some playpens are fun to visit. Cheery pink walls, lace doilies and fluttering curtains adorn rooms bursting with flowers and the aromas of home cooking. Familiar and comfortable characters seeking love or connection with others.  Roaming about these worlds, I never worry about opening the fridge and finding an disembowled carcass, nor do my readers shriek “don’t open that door!” as a character innocently  reaches for the cellar opening to grab another bottle of pickles.

Other playrooms drag me in, gripping me tight as my fingers claw at the walls and my voiceless screams reach no-ones ears. Its here that most of my reoccurring characters hang out together, swapping stories of torture, double crossing and thuggery. Perhaps, as in real life, its the ‘naughty’ ones I connect with most. As a teacher of teenagers, I am always drawn to the behaviourally inappropriate or challenged students.

After a hiatus this year from flash fiction, I’ll be returning to these roots as a kick start to creativity. Its time to continue my exploration of the myriad of genres and sub genres on offer within literature. Complacency and “being busy” has poisoned my creative well. Lets hope shaking things up, does the trick for me; and that my psychos in the greenroom busy themselves with the M&Ms for a little longer.

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1 Comment »

  1. You have a great attitude towards change and adventure. Your spirit fills up the page and most writers I have studied did explore every avenue of writing not only for personal growth, but also to eat. I enjoyed your posts here and I want ot invite you to join us at lunchbreakblog.com when you get a chance. It would be nice to have you at the table with your creative mind.

    Like

    Comment by James Dugan — September 30, 2011 @ 11:40 am | Reply


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