Archive for the 'Sports' Category

Love Letters

September 2nd, 2006

Many – most – maybe even all of us here at Deep Genre write character-driven fiction (I qualify that statement only because while I would like to presume to speak for the others, I can’t quite).

For myself, I can say that every one of my novels has its genesis in a vivid, visual, scene of a Character in a Situation. The landscape and the plot grow out of that original image and emotional tone.

Sometimes characters emerge organically out of the evolving narrative, sometimes they walk in from my unconscious and hit me over the head demanding to be included, and sometimes I will “build” a character who is needed due to the exigencies of the plot. In general, though, characters are who they are; in a perfect world, they are discrete individuals whose lives are intertwined with the landscape they “live” in.

Some among us now and then may invest a character with a bit of wish fulfillment. I’m not immune to this urge, and at times I indulge it cautiously and with (I hope) restraint. At the extreme, this is called writing a “Mary Sue” story, a subject that has been discussed earlier on Deep Genre here and here by Sherwood.

But there’s another kind of personalized character development that I want to call “The Love Letter.”
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Le Tour or Vive le difference

July 26th, 2006

Just finished watching the Tour de France, one of my two sporting addictions. I loved the comment of one analyst: it seems American Tour winners must visit Hell before they reach their destiny in the Tour. Europeans climb slowly and politely through the cycling ranks, from club riding to semi-pro to professional support rider to team leader to Tour winner. Americans must be either mostly dead from a gun shot, a cancer survivor, or a young fellow with a necrotic hip who falls into the Pit of Despair and hauls himself out again with sheer will, guts, and strength.

Which led me (believe it or not) to think about heroes and storytelling. Is one kind of story more satisfying than the other? Is this another expression of our discussion regarding literary vs genre fiction? The Pit of Despair can lend itself so easily to melodrama, the slow dutiful rise to subtler crises of faith. Hmmm…