16 August 2010

Wisest Thing I’ve Read Today

Alicia at Editorrent discusses one powerful aspect of writing within genres, or what she calls “pop fic”:

I think of popular fiction as a type of folk art (like folk music), building on a long tradition, with old practitioners teaching new respect for the tradition, and the new ones innovating in often subtle ways while maintaining the traditions. Well, one advantage this gives pop fic writers is that we can count on readers to know the traditions about as well as we do, and that gives us an additional layer to build on: What is expected.

We pop fic writers can play on the traditions, tease reader expectation, present the expected and then withdraw it and replace it with something new. The "something new" is more fun, more surprising, more meaningful, balanced on the familiar and expected. That is, we get double here-- the reader is set up for the familiar, kind of writes the familiar story in her mind, and so has that done when the writer presents something contrasting, something unexpected.
And then the posting goes all Hegelian. I’m going to have to think more about that part.

Last week I heard that I’ll be delivering my “Writing Within and Without Genre” presentation for SCBWI New England in Providence on 30 October.

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