no mashed up crackers here!

ok ok so I’ve been watching too much So you think you can dance – I admit it. Now we have so you think you can dance Canada that started, and mash’ up crackers is how Luther Brown (a judge) described a contestant last year, because her training was too all over the show: jazz, ballet, hip hop, and tap (i think it was these, don’t hold me to it.) This year he told her that she had tightened up her main style of jazz, and added a taste of other styles for flavor in a good way. A favourable way. A way that added to her movement and her creation.

Yes, I know, I’m talking about dancing on a writing blog, but art is art, and I feel this can applied across the field.

The other night, the kids were asleep, baby was asleep in my arms (but he wouldn’t go down) while I was rocking him. I was alert still (highly unusual brain activity for me late at night) so I decided to get some editing done. Hubby was watching Men Who Stare at Goats. I know this is not the best environment to be working in, but I have learned to work in all kinds of situations.

I came to a section where I had added an element of the spirit world. Now, I am not writing a ghost story in any sense at all, but I have added a touch of ‘otherness’ to my novel. I was staring at these few lines, thinking maybe I should get rid of this, cut cut cut. Just as I was about to press delete, I heard George Clooney say something about how this is his psychic element (please note that at that time I still did not know what the film was about). I stopped in my tracks, and laughed out loud. Hubby asked me what’s up, but how to explain it to him? I told him I was just about to erase my psychic element. I don’t think he understood me at all, but that’s all right.

Today, I asked myself the purpose of this element. It’s to show how the past can be alive and highly influential to us at some moments. So, I happily leave my ‘otherness’ in my novel. A line here, and then a hint of it pages later. I had introduced it early in the novel, too early in the opening paragraphs, and that is taken out. Why is it there, this haunting, if there is less than a dash of it in the whole novel, asked one member of my critique group. Amazing sometimes what others reveal to me in my own work. I won’t sidetrack to that discussion.

It’s great to be able to cross genres in this way, but to do so in a way as not to end up with mashed up crackers, instead of one unified story with lots of flavor….well, for me at least, it takes much awareness.

Do you cross genres? Hint at other flavours that interest? Or are you strict, remaining within well-defined borders?

(This is another post written under severe exhaustion. I think soon you will all be able to tell when I’m not rested….I think my tone changes completely. interesting to write a post about that….)

(oh, and I think that after a year I have finally come up with a name for my blog. If it sticks with me, I’ll be putting it up….eventually)

(and, STILL struggling with tags…..)

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8 thoughts on “no mashed up crackers here!

  1. I sometimes edit while my husband watches poker shows. πŸ™‚

    My first novel started out as a paranormal romance, so I guess that’s crossing genres. So far that’s the only crossing I’ve done in a single work, though I have written both commercial literary and the occasional paranormal/supernatural. Maybe I should mix them again. If I can do it without it becoming mashed crackers. πŸ™‚

  2. I had to giggle to myself when you were about to delete but George Clooney’s voice stopped you in your tracks because that is SO something I would do. I would look at that coincidence and smile with understanding. We take our clues when they come our way. πŸ™‚

    When I’m writing I just write, whatever ends up into the story I usually figure it must belong there.

  3. You are too funny, Jennifer. You’re doing an amazing job with mothering and writing and allowing it to all fall together in a way that works, with a little help from George.

    I definitely cross generes, so much so that I had to invent my own – Suburban Noir πŸ˜‰
    I also expect the psychic world to enter my work from time to time since it’s an element that interests me a great deal.

  4. Hi, I’m strictly crime/thriller. However, I’ve introduced some mind-operating-outside-of- the-brain stuff in my second novel and have my main character (a tough guy) pondering various spiritual issues. Very complex.

    Hope you’re writing’s going well.

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