Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Zedonks and subgenres

This week in Georgia, we had a rare birth: a donkey gave birth to a zedonk -- a cross between a zebra and a donkey. The little thing is cute as pie, with the striped legs of a zebra and the face of a donkey.

I always think about the world through one of two filters, that of The Kiddo or writing. The zedonk made me think of genres being mixed willy-nilly, coming up with totally new stuff. It's kind of like that old Reese's commercial: "Hey, you got your peanut butter in my chocolate!"

Take for instance, romantic suspense. In today's writing market, we tend to take it for granted, like it's always been there. Not so. The first person to really successfully combine the two genres in a seamless sort of way was Mary Stewart, of TOUCH NOT THE CAT fame, with her first romantic suspense in 1955 with MADAME, WILL YOU TALK?

I like a little mystery with my romance and a little romance with my mystery, and I do wonder why it took us writers so long for someone to come up with the idea. That's true creativity, if you ask me: someone taking two things we take for granted and combining them in a new and creative way.

Now we have zombies invading Jane Austen's world, and vamps routinely making inroads into the YA sphere. Sometimes I wonder what's new that's left to be written or even combined. But I know that I'm just too blind to see the obvious. Someone will come up with something that will make us all go, "Aaack! Why didn't I think of that?" and while we're doing the palm-to-forehead routine, the intrepid author will be whistling all the way to the bank.

But as far as the peanut-butter-in-my-chocolate that we have NOW, what's your favorite sub-genre? What's a classic of that genre, something that would be the book you'd point a new reader toward in order to introduce the sub-genre in its best light?


Linda G. said...

LOVE Mary Stewart! Romantic suspense is one of my favorites.

I am also partial to *cough* paranormal mysteries. ;)

Jessica said...

Hi Cynthia! Great post, wow, I have to admit, I haven't read the Pride Prejudice and Zombies book yet, but tempting... verrrry tempting.

A friend of yours named Julie Musil stopped by my blog and mentioned your name. I had mentioned that I was unsure how to get in a critique group.

My current MS is pointed at the SuperRomance genre, so excited to see that's what you write for.

I would love to run my first few chap's past someone for an opinion before I query. I did submit to Special Edition earlier this year, they requested my full MS, but then it was rejected. So I'm at it again!

Looking forward to moving into the inner circles and learning more and more about writing for a living.

Thanks so much, I'll be sure to roam around your blog again. :-)

Jennifer Shirk said...

Whoa, how cool is that? Never heard of a zedonk.
I like a mixture of stuff too (romance, mystery, YA, supernatural) when I read.

Kelly Breakey said...

I love the picture of the Zedonk. That is the cutest thing I have ever seen.

I love the idea of crossing genre's all together. Where would Westerns be without the good guy getting the girl. Or science fiction with the good guy getting the girl. you get the picture. As long as it includes some sort of romance the setting, type or anything else just doesn't matter to me all that much.


Lickety Splitter said...

Knock knock. It's me, the non writing space invader back to steal a few lines. First off, I totally believe in God so don't think I'm trying to open a controversial discussion when I say this -- but yon cute little Zedonk looks a bit like evolution's cousin -- Anomaly.

Oh yeah, since you mentioned rewards of writing, I was thinking that would make for a good blog post for you to write especially for me ;) Maybe I would be motivated to put in the really hard work.

Stephanie Thornton said...

I have never heard of a zedonk before, but that's the cutest thing ever! He looks like he has striped legwarmers on!

Anonymous said...

I'm with LInda Romatic Suspense is a favorite.

And I totally googled the zedonk. I had to see it to believe it. That's just crazy? Who thinks to do something like that, and what's the point? Oh the questions in my head now!

Cynthia Reese said...

Linda G, who woulda thunk it? You and paranormal mysteries? That's a match made in heaven!

Jessica, any friend of Julie's is a friend of mine, so I'm glad she pointed you in my direction. If you've tried e-mailing me thru my website, it might not have gone thru -- some spam filter issues that I've yet to resolve. But if you're on twitter, shoot me a twitter message -- I'll follow you. So many folks helped me along the way -- don't know if I could be of help, but I'll try. (Oh, and there ARE no inner circles -- we're all in the same boat together!) Good luck in the future!

Jennifer, I think the reason I like so many plot threads is that I want it ALL! When I read any sort of book, I'm on the lookout for tidbits of goodness!

Kelley, romance is a standard staple of so many good stories, isn't it? And movies, even action thrillers, have usually got a little romance thrown in.

Lickety Splitter, I will have to write a blog post dedicated especially to you, just so you know what you're missing out on! Cool idea!

Stephanie -- that's EXACTLY what he looks like! What was that 80s movie about the girl welder? FLASHDANCE? That's what the little zedonk's legs reminded me of! Thank you!

Posey, the only way I can justify the zedonk is that a zebra and a donkey fell madly head over hooves in love and baby made three! :-)