Last night was the Opening Reception for the June 2013 residency for the MFA in Writing Popular Fiction group. This is my fourth time. Which means a year from now I will be attending my final residency. After a bit of socializing since we mainly see each other online, we began the program with the director Al Wendland. As is customary, he presented the theme for this residency.
What would you change about the genre in which you write? With the follow-up question of how will you make that difference?
I believe that Dr. Wendland would be proud to see that these questions carried us into the night well after the reception. What were my answers? I don’t like the super villains of scifi and fantasy that want to destroy the planet and everyone on it. It really seems stupid to me that you’d want that of all things. You’d be dead as well. To keep it more general, I don’t like the weak villain because that’s not what you see in the world. I want someone cunning and charismatic who blurs the line. That’s what I’m trying to do in my writing and how I will make a difference in the genre. I want to stay clear of the ridiculous villains.
I had a discussion with my classmates on YA in relation to these questions. I’ve written middle-grade and YA and always thought of them as sub-genres to the scifi or fantasy genre I was working in. However, Tonya Burrows, a romance author with two books recently released, brought up an excellent point. Focus on the main part of the story. If the main part of the story is romance then it is a romance novel with the other elements in it. So what I wrote were YA novels with scifi or fantasy in them. That would support the argument that YA needs to have its own genre with the sub genres being mystery, scifi, fantasy, romance, etc.
Today is the first day of residency with our first modules. Wish us luck!