Question for this month: What do you love about the genre you write in most often?
When I discovered writing as a girl, my first story I ever wrote was horror. Ever since then, I’ve mostly wrote horror stories, or dark fantasy, or dark poetry. Nothing truly had a happy ending.
Was this how I really felt about life in general?
Yeah, for a long time, I did.
But, there was always this other side of me that dared to hope, and dream, and wonder about the magical and beautiful aspects of life; and many times these involved this concept called…love.
I’ve always enjoyed reading both fantasy and horror books.
Romance novels? I devoured them. I never could get enough. It was a wonderful feeling when you get to the end of a book, and there’s a happy ending!
Real life doesn’t always have a happy ending. In fact, for many there’s only sadness and pain and emptiness. It’s nice to be able to open up a book and get lost in it, in another person’s life, and be able to feel what they feel, and experience what they experience, and leave your own unhappy reality behind for a while.
These are some of the reasons why I love the Romance genre. And why I’ve decided to write in this genre for my very first book.
What about you? Which genre do you enjoy most, and why?
In this prompt: “Are you like me and a sucker for underdog stories? Do you love that classic boy-meets-girl Rom-Com formula? Are you crazy for epic quests about heroes saving the world? For today’s prompt, tell us which story type you love and why.”
Oh, this one is so tough as I enjoy all of them! My writing background, so far, has been horror short stories (where many times the protagonist does NOT survive or win in the end), dark poetry, and dark fantasy stories (these would include the epic quest types). Now that I’m thinking of it, for some reason, I’ve yet to complete a fantasy story. Well, I do know the reason. The stories tend to grow too big, too complicated, and overwhelm me to the point that I stop writing them. These have all been written in the serial-format. I’ve come to a realization that perhaps serial fiction may not be for me. Not at this time anyway.
The only romance story I’ve written is a screenplay (“Storms of the Heart”) which I will be converting to a book this year. This one has comedic scenes throughout, but probably not enough to be truly called a “rom-com.” There are dramatic parts, and suspense too. The heroine has both internal and external conflicts to wrestle with. It’s a love story, and it’s a survival story. It’s a story that keeps pestering me since it’s birth back in 2008. It’s a story that will deal with PTSD. And losses.
It’s the type of story that has won my heart. And it is the one I will write in the coming months ahead.
So, to answer the prompt question above. The type of story I love most is the survivalist kind, the underdog where the conflict/antagonist that the protagonist has to face is so much stronger than she is, but she’s determined to survive. And this particular story also has a love story intertwined which makes it all the more endearing since I love watching something bloom between two people in-spite of all the roadblocks standing in their way.
Why this type? Probably because I consider myself a survivor. I’ve been an underdog all my life. And I’m still fighting, and I suppose I always will, but that’s fine. I don’t think I would have it any other way. 🙂
In Gabriela Pereira’s book, DIY MFA Book, she talks about the protagonist and the supporting characters. She believes “that every story has one (and only one) protagonist. This means that the job of every other character is to support that main character’s development.” In this book, she talks about “the five main types of supporting characters—Villain, Love Interest, BFF/Sidekick, Mentor, and Fool—and the functions they serve in the story.”
She goes on in detail describing the various functions of each type in chapter eight of her book (click here if you’d like to buy it); in the DIY MFA Virtual Book Club, Gabriela asked ” what’s your favorite supporting character archetype and why?”
Gabriela is big on archetypes. She’d even developed a quiz to take to determine which protagonist archetype you most identified with just by determining your “storytelling superpower,” and I got Protector.
When I look at the word Protector, one of the first images to come to mind is of Merlin and Arthur in the BBC popular TV series, Merlin. Unbeknownst to the once and future king, Prince Arthur, Merlin is destined to be his guardian and mentor. But, he is also Arthur’s shield and protector who’s more than willing to give up his life for the prince as this picture above shows (one of the cups has poisoned wine; one must die in order to break the curse bestowed upon Camelot because Arthur accidentally killed a unicorn). Arthur felt it was his place and duty to die for his beloved Camelot, but of course, Merlin thought otherwise.
Here’s another time when a witch attempted to poison the prince, but Merlin stepped in to intervene in the nick of time.
King Uther did not believe Merlin, and instructed him to drink it to prove if the disguised witch was really trying to poison his son.
And Merlin did, and nearly died (Arthur would set out on a quest to find the antidote in time to save his servant).
Merlin is one of my favorite shows, and I tend to use it as a study on character development for my writing.
Why not books?
I learn best visually and hands-on. I like to play out story lines and scenes in my mind, or even act them out in the privacy of my, wait for it, bathroom! And because I learn best in these ways, I’ve dabbled in screenwriting (which by the way is a great tool to help one write more concise while cutting out all the unnecessary words) as well as turning my short writings and poems in to videos with images and music.
Now that we established how odd I really am…
Let’s move on 🙂
Of the five types of supporting character archetypes, I tend to bounce between the Love Interest and Mentor.
Guinevere is Merlin’s good friend whom he trusts and confides in (except for his most guarded secrets one being he’s a sorcerer but needs to conceal that for as long as magic was outlawed in the kingdom); she’s also Prince Arthur’s love interest. She’s a key person in helping Merlin mold Arthur in to the kind of king Camelot needs.
Gaius is Merlin’s mentor, father-figure, and the only one (for a long time) who knew the truth about Merlin’s magical abilities. Once a wizard himself turned physician of the king’s court under Uther (who was personally responsible for the law that forbade anyone to practice magic or face the death penalty) before serving under Arthur after King Uther’s death. From time to time, Gaius himself plays the Protector of Merlin against Uther’s desire to rid his kingdom of magic at all costs, or against powerful witches or ancient magical creatures.
Why do I prefer these two types?
Even though I haven’t really written any romance stories yet, my mind is constantly filled with various couples and their relationships to one another. Bottom line, it’s all about connection. That intimacy (and not just the physical part; true connection and intimacy run much deeper than that), the bond you share with that one person. It’s something that touches me to the core, and I just can’t get enough of it. Hence, these are why I adore the Love Interest type.
Next, the mentor. For me, a mentor tends to be a father-figure. I suppose the reason is the close relationship I had with my own father, and how he always felt the need to protect me. He’s been gone for over three years now, and I still crave his hugs. They always made me feel safe, and that somehow everything will be okay. So, in a sense, the mentor tends to also carry qualities of a Protector which then tends to rub off on the protagonist.
What about you? Of the five supporting character archetypes (villain, love interest, BFF/sidekick, mentor and fool), which one(s) do you like to include in your stories?
For those who have been following a story I’m writing, I created a teaser trailer for it:
As soon as the toboggan halted, the front door swung wide
and out bounded an elder woman, her hair as white as the snow;
but it was the smile that warmed her the most
for it reminded her of a mother she once had.
“Land sakes, Micah! Get that child inside before she freezes!” The woman said.
“Yes, Ma’am” He replied with a grin.
In moments, she found herself in a plush sofa before the roaring fire
and a bowl of hot soup in hand.
“You must be exhausted, child.” Mrs. Claus said as she sat beside her.
Her mouth full of broth and vegetables, she only nodded.
“We’ll have you in a cozy bed in a jiffy. It’s Christmas Eve you know. All the children must be asleep before he can arrive!” Her grey eyes sparkled.
She swallowed before asking, “there are other kids here?”
The woman’s smile softened as she reached out to push a stray strand of hair from the girl’s cheek, “Oh, yes! And you will be meeting them all tomorrow.”
“Everything’s all set, ma’am.” Micah’s voice drifted from somewhere.
“Thank you, Micah. I’m sure Nick will be by tomorrow to see you.”
“I look forward to it. Good night, and Merry Christmas ladies.”
She turned around in time to see the door to the outside closing.
He was gone, and suddenly she felt sad.
“Don’t you worry, child. You will see him again soon.”
As promised, the woman had her tucked in a large fluffy bed a short time later.
“Drink up this hot cocoa, dearie. It will help you sleep.” Mrs. Claus handed her a tea-cup sized mug which she downed in one gulp.
“I don’t like to sleep.” She said as she laid her head on the pillow. “Bad dreams.”
The woman caressed her forehead. “You will have no such dreams tonight.”
True to her words, the first thing she saw once her eyes closed were flying reindeer with Micah leading them.
Thick fur blanket cradled her body
in the long wooden sled
as they silently sped along
in the deep snow.
Micah stood behind her on the edge of the runners
while he guided the half-dozen dogs in front
white flakes filled the air with the wind whistling in her ears
rugged mountains loomed on the sides
blocking her view of the sky.
“We’ll be in Nordpolen soon.” Micah said “Just keep looking ahead and you’ll see it.”
It felt like they were gliding through a dark tunnel
but as she peered ahead, speckles of light slowly appeared
and suddenly they broke out in to an expansive opening;
there lied a village nestled on the banks of the immense mountains
which ran along the shores of a mirrored lake,
the lights from the buildings shimmered on its surface;
the sight made her gasp out loud.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” Micah said.
“Oh, yes!” She replied.
“You’ll be staying at Saint Nick’s tonight.”
Instead of remaining on the main route, they veered off on a smaller trail
which took them through a dense forest;
for several moments, fear shook her body
as she watched moving shadows among the trees.
“You have nothing to fear.” He said. “I won’t let anything harm you.”
She took deep breaths until her muscles relaxed, and heart slowed.
“Look, we’re here.” He said.
She glanced out and saw the wondrous sight;
stone walls cloaked by fresh snow, all lit up in white lights
revealed the way to a large rustic lodge
its front nothing but glass
in the center, an enormous decorated Christmas tree.
“Welcome to the Christmas Lodge.” Micah smiled.
Nestled in the back of the sleigh, she heard
the jolly man called his reindeer by name
as they glided off the roof-top
and gave way to flight in the dark snowy sky.
Such a strange sensation
floating high in the air where peaceful quiet reign
leaving behind death and memories
of a life she once knew
She sniffled but swore to not look back
in fear she’d break down in full-blown tears
and scare the good chap off
“Look ahead, child.” The red cheeked man said. “A new life awaits you on the other side of the moon!”
Stare ahead she did at the bright orb with strange pot marks
’till its’ light completely immersed the sleigh
and in the next instance, she realized the moon
shifted from the forefront to their rear.
Once the sleigh touched ground
she saw a new landscape extend all about her
with snow-capped mountains and the glistening meadow
where a wooden toboggan waited.
“Micah will take you to my village, child.” The saintly fella said with a great smile.
With a wave, she watched as his sleigh flew away
feeling suddenly alone and naked
in a land strange and distant.
“Do not be afraid, child.” a kind voice spoke.
She looked and saw a man with golden hair,
his gentle blue eyes met her brown ones
she gave a nod, and climbed in the sled
and off they started, on to her new life
what ever or wherever that may be.