What's Your Alternate Writing Reality?

I just love killing people. In fiction, that is. In real life, I'm so wimpy, I'm seriously afraid of clowns and have been known to faint at the sight of blood. But I'm fearless in my fiction and love crafting suspenseful mysteries with the added emotional umph of romance.

That doesn't stop me from daydreaming about an alternate reality in which I pursue another type of writing altogether. Science fiction.

I love a good science fiction novel, TV show (still in mourning over the end of the recent Battlestar Gallactica series) or movie, and I miss the intelligent social commentary and high-stakes action of the pulp SF I read in my youth. But like any other type of writing, the crafting of great SF requires dedication and commitment - the kind of laser-like focus I've often referred to in my posts.

That doesn't keep me from -- or lessen the enjoyment of -- imagining that career path now and again or tinkering idly with this or that idea I've had for a science fiction novel. It's a form of mental play, a forbidden flirtation I have no intention of acting on at this time.

So what's your alternate writing reality? If you weren't concentrating where you're currently working, what do you like to imagine yourself writing?


Jeanna Thornton said…
You will have to cut me a little slack here...I am still working on my first voice...

Love the blog, Colleen!!!

Hopefully, when I master the genre I seek, I can play *Alternate Writing Reality* with you!! :)
I love love love love love this post.. For me it's not so much as an alternate reality as looking at possibilities, since this is just my first book. So let's say what I'm writing now is mainstream, tinged in Gothic/horror. Southern Gothic, to be even more precise, although you won't see that as a category. I think I will always have those qualities, but where I can easily see myself if this weird hybrid thing doesn't work out is writing YA.

My first two "novels" were horror/detective novels that I wrote when I was in the sixth grade (with titles such as The Haunted Hotel and The Spiked Hand), but my next two were both YA. And one of those was actually half decent. So I think I could swing YA with what I'm doing now, if it doesn't sell in its current version. I could see myself writing Laurie Halse Anderson style YA, edgy, lyrical, and psychologically complex.

That said, I hope what I'm doing now succeeds. I also still fantasize about writing one short story that ends up in one of the Best American Short Stories anthologies and getting my plays up on their feet, as well as writing more literary scholarship. If I could only clone myself . . .

Great post!
Thanks, Jeanna and Kathryn!

I've written both fantasy and YA manuscripts in the past, along with poetry, horror stories, essays -- you name it. Settling down and focusing was necessary to build a career, but that doesn't stop me from fantasizing about the roads not traveled.
Suzan Harden said…
So what's stopping you from writing SF? Really, Colleen? Who says you can't combine SF with romantic suspense?

Because if I hear one more person say they can't do X because of Y, I'm going to start slapping people. Okay, maybe I'll just resort to throwing breadstickss at you on Saturday.
What's stopping me? Time. I no longer really know the genre and would need to read, read, read and study, and I wouldn't want to combine those elements with the worlds I'm writing now.

Though I certainly use some of the world-building (and other) techniques I learned in writing speculative fiction, I wouldn't presume to insult the genre without giving it my full attention.

And if you throw breadsticks at me, I would probably say Yum!
Suzan Harden said…
And how is this behavior different than the people who come up to you at book signings and say they'd really love to write a book, but they just don't have the time?
Because I *know* I'm dreaming and would never presume to tell an SF author I'd better her at her craft if I could only find the time.

I dream of playing the piano beautifully, too, or play sax with Bruce Springsteen or being a great actress. But without the years of sweat equity or particular talents that necessitates, these fancies have no more weight than dust devils and are just as harmless.

So it's way different.
"I dream of playing the piano beautifully, too, or play sax with Bruce Springsteen or being a great actress. But without the years of sweat equity or particular talents that necessitates, these fancies have no more weight than dust devils and are just as harmless."

It IS way different. I agree. That's part of why I want to give what I'm doing now as much of a chance as I can, because then if I fail, I'll at least have failed at the right thing than succeeded at the wrong thing. And, painful as that would be, it's better than years of imagining without doing.

But IF it fails, while I don't have any qualms at all switching genres, at the same time, I know I'll still have to put in the sweat equity to master another.

Good discussion, you two. I just love your interaction. :)
Oh, and can I just say if I hear "I've always wanted to write a book" one more time right now I'm going to explode? Grrrrr.

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