I’ve been busy over the past few days.

All the secondary work that has to be done to get a novel from rough draft to polished final draft to an agent . . . oi. Too much to think about. At least, since I’m writing in a specific genre, I can limit the potential agents to the few of them that accept science fiction and fantasy writers as clients. That eliminates most agents right there.

I’m still baffled that most people think that, just because a novel has a dragon or a spaceship in it, it’s somehow “weird” and substantially different than other novels. I mean, seriously, my novel is a pretty typical Bildungsroman . . . a young man comes of age and overcomes many obstacles on the journey. The fact that he runs into dragons shouldn’t make it much different than, say, David Copperfield, should it?

People have their fancies, though. I guess I’m unusual in that I read over several genres. I like a good mystery, whether it’s a Golden Age or a police procedural or a closed-room whodunit. I even like cozies. Fantasy in all its flavors, horror novels as long as they’re not too graphic, science fiction from space opera to time travel to thick world-building exercises. I read romances, although not as often as I used to. I was a huge fan of suspense novels for a while, and I’ll still pick one up now and then. I read lots of classics, literary fiction, and even a few “modern” novels. And I read as much non-fiction as I can fit into my schedule.

It’s given me a blasé attitude towards genre as a method of sorting books. Books like John Dos Passos’s USA trilogy have more in common with thick fantasy novels than with modern literary fiction– it’s all about immersing yourself in their world and letting the author float you through a river of impressions. And, really, don’t the classics have more in common with science fiction than they do with our current realistic novels? We’re as far removed from Jane Austen’s world as we are from any imaginary space colony. We’d be as completely out of place in either world.

Anyway, I’m fiddling with the pacing and chapter structure of my novel. I expect that I’ll be doing that until the very last moment, since my story has more of a  “one darn thing happening after another” construction than a traditional story arc with rising tension, climax, and dénouement.

Already, though, I keep feeling my attention drifting over to the first few pages of my next work in progress. I need to fix those names . . . they’re bugging me. I need to get the characters down– why do they do the things they do? Who are they? I know the protagonist of my finished novel inside and out– I could tell you what he’d say in any situation. But my character Kalina . . . she’s fifteen. What would she be thinking? Who is she? I want to know . . . .

Ah, well, it’s the weekend, so it’s a moot point. I promised the boys that we’d do something fun this weekend, despite the heat, and it’s darn near impossible to get any writing done when hubs is in the house, anyway. I have to put music on loud and go into a sort of trance state. That’s not possible when everyone’s home. So, Kalina will have to wait until Monday. I might change her name, too . . . not sure yet. A person’s name is important, sure, but names are much more flexible than you’d think. And name-creation is one of the most fun things about writing. All the possibilities! You can lose weeks on Behind The Name. 🙂

The possibilities . . . that’s why we keep on writing and keep on living, isn’t it?


About Marti Booker

Writer of fantasy and historical fantasy fiction, mother of 6, former nurse, Catholic convert, wife of 25 years, and general all-around geek. Warning: Do not attempt this at home. View all posts by Marti Booker

One response to “Immersed

  • monolithbooks

    I know a lot of writers object to a genre being applied to their work, but consider it from this angle. Reading a story requires suspending disbelief in regards to what is happening and how it happens. So to some it is easier to believe in people from several hundred years ago acting out of character for the time they lived in then a ship that can travel faster than light. For others it would go the other way around. So towards that end considering what genre a book fits into is an attempt to place it in the hands of those who would get the most enjoyment out of it. by the way, some of us hate having to name character. Because of the possibilities.


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