NaNoFeed: Genre Trouble, part 1

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’m taking a little time off from my novel … well, at this point, a one-day break. Tomorrow, December 1, I start work again.

Last night I came home late and did what I hadn’t dared to do (or had time to do) all November: read my novel from beginning to end, more or less to ask the question: what is this thing?

I wasn’t sure about the answer. I’d defiantly subtitled it as “A Love Story,” and the storyline is a sweet romance between the principals, the Necromancer (a 35-year-old forensic artist) and the Barbarian (a 17-year-old resurrected Iron Age sacrifice). The background, of course, is made of disturbing, and intentionally so: the Necromancer is a Chernobyl downwinder who isn’t sure of her own life expectancy, and the Barbarian was done in by his own folk. The relationship is cross-cultural, cross-temporal and dramatically cross-generational, in what’s generally considered an unacceptable direction. Who is too young for whom? Elsa, the Necromancer, doesn’t look Northern European, but she’s as culturally German as I could make her; the Barbarian, on the other hand, looks the part but is very definitely not one of them.

It’s a first draft, with all the bagginess and non-existing pacing that implies. My first drafts generally lack dramatic conflict, even when I have a plot structure. I’m too busy writing it all down to be graceful about setting up the train wrecks. I’m not even in control of the cast list; characters sprang into being by spontaneous generation. I ended up with a nicely gothic subplot about Elsa’s philandering father. I did get to write the fight scene in the bog, which was nicely horrifying.

What genre is this? I don’t know, but I love the idea of a sweet romance made of disturbing ingredients, raising disquieting questions about time and mortality, racial and cultural identity, biological kin and families of affinity. Not to mention a critical look at the ways that people have lived with each other, or not, and attempted to rationalize their lack of control over the universe.


This entry was posted in NaNoWriMo, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s