First off, I want to thank all of my subscribers for staying subscribed even after my long extended absence from the blogosphere. I have been on and off twitter lately, if you want to keep tabs on me @triciasankey .
I was super excited this past January when my short story, The Cave, placed as a ScreenCraft Quarterfinalist here . But then I was subsequently disappointed when it didn’t make the Semi-finals. Fortunately, I did receive some valuable criticism from the judges and also my beta readers. I came to the conclusion that my story didn’t work so well as a short story. It needed to be further fleshed out and my characters needed room to breathe and grow. Yes, character growth is something they all seem to be after these days! 😉 I also realized my style was not exactly right for the Science Fiction genre. I was told I was breaking too many rules and not conforming to the will of the gods of Science Fiction.
So, turns out the above criticism, while disappointing, was actually pretty legit and led me to examine what I really wanted my little short story to be if I continued to play with it and lengthen it. Recently, I was inspired after reading a few blog posts on the growing genres of Outsider and Experimental Fiction. I have even started reading a classic in the Outsider Fiction genre: The Stranger, by Albert Camus. The book I am reading is a translation of the 1946 version. It is considered Outsider Fiction because it doesn’t exactly fit into any classic genre’s mold, and tends to gravitate toward a literary style with somewhat of an existential message. I will likely give a full book review later, so won’t give too much away about it now. But it has made me want to write a more literary, philosophical book myself!
The Experimental Fiction genre is another genre that piques my interest. It is writing that pushes the form of fiction. It’s meaning cannot be conveyed in traditional form. For a great example of this genre go pick up a copy of Solar Bones by Mike McCormack. It is written in a stream-of -conscious style that you won’t soon forget. I think the liberties a writer can take with Experimental Fiction are as unlimited as a writer’s imagination. You can lead with just a title and a blank page if it suits your fancy. If you want your pages littered with diagrams or odd font and highlighted words, it’s up to you. The rules were made to be broken in this genre. However, don’t scribble to just scribble; a Picasso only works if it ends up evoking that emotion and feeling that makes a customer want to lay down his hard-earned cash.
Art is meant to bend rules. It is meant to be non-conforming and loud and bright. And maybe I will try my hand with a novel that falls squarely and a little outside the lines of Outsider and Experimental Fiction. And I hope after reading this post you may be willing to consider writing something new and daring as well. Let me know if you have any favorites in these categories that I should check out!