New Genre for the New Year

new genre new year maas

I was about to start this blog by talking about how I’ve never been a big fan of fantasy—but then realized I should say more truthfully that I’ve not been reading fantasy recently.

 

new genre new year lang book spines
I went through a period some decades ago when I read fairytales. I sought out the non-Disney versions—for example, Cinderella in which the wicked stepsisters cut off their toes or heels in order to try to fit into the glass slipper. Do fairytales count? YES! If you google “fantasy” (besides fantasy football) you’ll get links to science fiction, speculative fiction, fairytales, anime, science fantasy, legend, and horror, animation, myth, manga, cartoon, etc.
new genre new year alices adventures wonderland through looking glass
Fantasy is a genre of fiction set in a fictional universe, often—but not always—without any locations, events, or people referencing the real world. Its roots are in oral traditions, which then developed into literature and drama. There was a time when my husband and I read aloud to each other from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass, sometimes laughing so hard we could hardly read.

 

new genre new year ursula le gun
And Ursula Le Guin counts! She was a favorite during my science fiction phase.

 

new genre new year harry potter
More recently, I really didn’t appreciate Harry Potter, though recommended by my daughter and granddaughters. (I know: shocking!) However, during a recent visit, these same granddaughters (now 13 and 10) gave me new recommendations.

 

new genre new year wings books
The younger one has read all ten volumes of  Wings of Fire. This is her favorite series. Dragons are big time. But she also recommends Monstress by Marjorie Liu (author) and Sana Takeda (illustrator).
 
new genre new year monstress
This is like a hardbound comic book, so quite a fast read. Is this different from a graphic novel? (Kindle references comiXology. Who knew?)

 

new genre new year
The books in this series are set in 1900s Asia and tells the story of a teenage girl who struggles to survive the trauma of war. She shares a mysterious psychic link with an enormously powerful monster. Both the girl and the monster are transformed by this connection.
new genre new year sara maas throne glass
The 13-year-old’s absolute favorite author is Sarah J. Maas. Maas is a NYT best-selling author of the Thrown of Glass series. In this series, a beautiful young assassin is the protagonist. She’s a bit like a female James Bond in terms of abilities that border on superpowers. She has a tragic past that garners sympathy, beauty and honor that make her appealing, a temper and murders to make her flawed. Maas uses great visual imagery. And the stories involve mysteries of the dark powers and lost magic. Throw in an arch enemy and two love interests, and what’s not to like?

 

new genre new year maas
mass new genre new year
She currently has 3 books in a second series and at least the beginning of a third series. Catwoman: Soulstealer (DC icon series) is due out in August of this year.

 

new genre new year catwoman sarah maas
Bottom line: Revisit some version of fantasy in 2018. Whether classic or modern, dipping into an alternate world broadens one’s thinking.

Writers on Writing

You may recall that in one of my previous blogs, I mentioned talking with writers about writing as one of the best things about a writing workshop at Nimrod. Although not as interactive, there are lots of ways to get inside writers’ heads.

A writing friend sent me this link to a New York Times opinion piece by Stephen King on the question of whether a novelist can be too productive.

His short answer is that how much you write (publish) isn’t a reflection of how well you write. But there are many paragraphs of well-crafted opinion that are well worth reading. Of course, you already know that Stephen King wrote one of my favorite books on writing.

On Writing by Stephen King book cover
Stephen King’s On Writing

On Saturday, August 29, NPR’s Scott Simon interviewed Ursula Le Guin on Weekend Edition. Among other things, she talked about the effect of aging on her writing. She is 85. It’s well worth a listen.

If you are a magazine person, there are many places to get insights about and from writers. Two of the most popular are Poets & Writers and Writer’s Digest.

Poets & Writers and Writer's Digest
Poets & Writers and Writer’s Digest

If you are more of a book person, especially if you are focused on mystery writing, you might consider Talking About Detective Fiction by P.D. James. (You can also read “Mystery Writing” Lessons on her website.) Or these.

Writing Mysteries edited by Sue Grafton book covers
Writing Mysteries edited by Sue Grafton

There are many books by writers about writing, both classic and modern.

classic and modern books on writing
The Spooky Art by Norman Mailer, Aspects of the Novel by E.M. Forster, Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing

One of my favorite bits is one of Elmore Leonard‘s rules: Leave out the parts the reader is going to skip anyway. It doesn’t get much better than that.

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