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?