12 Books in 12 Months

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More Questions

Further questions from Edinburgh-based writer and tweeter Andrew Blair.  I have decided to answer these separately because they’re not really related in any way.

Have you been pleasantly surprised by your research into genre fiction? For example, has Dark Romance proved to be more than pale women kissing vampires?

Truth be told, I wasn’t expecting much from Dark/Paranormal Romance.  I rather thought that most of it had been churned out in a cynical manner to jump on the Twilight bandwagon, and as such I assumed that all such books would be full of unsympathetic teenagers and deeply misogynistic male role models.  My plan was to make the genre readable by imbuing it with my special brand of humour/Scottish realism.

However, I am pleased to report that my suspicions were overly cynical.  The PC Cast excerpts I found online, for example, were much better than expected.  I’d go so far as to say they were entertaining, which is more than can be said for Adventures in Forks as it is seldom known.

Having said that, the main thrust is pretty much pale women kissing vampires.

What do you think of the World Book Night coverage from the BBC, and its putting of Literary Fiction at the forefront?  You remember World Book Night, with Sue Perkins going around hairdressers in Edinburgh and asking people why they hadn’t read Dostoevsky…?

My decision to put off doing Literary Fiction until December was taken at least in part because that meant it was the furthest away.  Putting LitFic at the forefront of anything strikes me as silly, because it automatically alienates a vast section of the reading population who want something a bit more gripping than flowery prose about beautiful landscapes.

I’m not saying I don’t enjoy or appreciate Literary Fiction, but it’s hard going at times.  And I resent the suggestion you get from commentators on some of the programs the Beeb have shown that writing genre fiction means you aren’t as clever or as profound as a literary author – it’s more about storytelling priorities.  Personally, I can forgive a big of unpolished prose if the plot and characterisation keep me interested, whereas LitFic is all about form.

Just out of curiosity, as a writer and bookseller yourself, what do you make of the coverage?

Get Involved!

If, for whatever reason, you can’t leave comments on the Get Involved page of the blog, help is at hand!  I have made a photo album on the facebook page so you can leave thoughts on different genres there.  It’s not actually in chronological order, but you’re intelligent people and I’m sure you’ll figure it out.

I’ve done this because March – the first month where I’m really throwing this out to the general public – is fast approaching.  I’ve had some suggestions, but the novel is far from planned!

To remind you, I’d like the main protagonist to be an older gent, based on a lovely chap who used to come into the library and take out 12 westerns at a time, even though he’d read them all hundreds of times already.

Maybe he sees his day to day life in a slightly schemey bit of town as a Western? Maybe he goes back in time, either in reality or in a dream?  Maybe he goes forward in time, to a Serenity style futuristic space western?

You may have gathered by this point that I don’t want to spend too much time researching the actual history of the wild west, I just want it to be a fun, colourful, ripping read!

So, what’s my old gent called? What western movies should I watch for inspiration? Where is it set? Who are the other characters?  He must have a dead or estranged wife/child in his past somewhere, right?  Or maybe that’s too traditional.  In which case, what is his motivation?

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