Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Concise Guide to the Genre Fiction Writers Choir

Good Wednesday,

Aside from writing, I’ve spent a good amount of my life in the performing arena. Most notably, I was a member of the 2007 MENC All Eastern Mixed Choir. That choir was epic.

So I guess that would classify me as a choir nerd. If the shoe fits, then I am a choir nerd and proud of it.

In my surfing of the internet, I’ve come across many a choir joke. One of the most involved is A Concise Guide to the Choir. This is a humorous explanation of the four main voice parts in a choir:

Soprano – high female part
Alto – low female part
Tenor – high male part
Bass – low male part

How does this relate to writing? As of right now, it doesn’t. I’m about to change that. It has occurred to me that each genre resembles one of the voice parts in a choir.

Soprano – Fantasy/Science Fiction
Alto – Romance
Tenor – Mystery
Bass – Horror

And so, without further ado, I present “A Concise Guide to the Genre Fiction Writers Choir.”

***NOTE*** No offense to writers of any genre. This is purely for fun.

-Science Fiction/Fantasy (Sopranos)

According to the choir guide, sopranos basically think they rule the world. (Well, they do. The fact that I am a soprano who writes mainly fantasy has nothing to do with this….)

SF/F writers tend to harbor the belief that they rule the world. More accurately, they rule a world that they have created. How this translates to them ruling the real world is still unknown.

There is a feeling of dominance that comes with being “God” in their own world: “Real worldians, kneel before me. The fantastic deaths that my characters have suffered in my made-up world are far worse than anything this puny real thing could possibly inflict upon you.” The authors forget that, while their wicked forms of death and torture are extraordinary, they are completely inaccessible on this side of their imaginary world line. This does not stop them from believing that they are better than the other genres. After all, “We have to create everything. You people have a setting and pre-established species (human) rules. What do you have to do?”

Not surprisingly, this creates a lot of animosity in the other genres toward SF/F. The SF/F writers weather this, always siting that they have to do more work. The exception to this is the horror writers. SF/F writers don’t mind the horror guys because they understand torturing your characters in new/as of yet undiscovered ways.

Q: How many fantasy writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: “A what?” *Urban fantasy guy in the back raises his hand*
A2: One, he flicks his wrist and the light bulb screws itself in.

Q: How many Science Fiction writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Five, one to figure out the ancient technology that is the light bulb and four more to stand around looking confused.

-Romance (Altos)

According to the choir guide, altos are unassuming. Romance writers are much the same. They are comfortable in the knowledge that they are creating something that all people can relate to (the flourishing of relationships). They know readers will always want their books, and they believe (much like altos) that the SF/F authors (sopranos) could take a hike and the industry wouldn’t suffer for it. “Why the pitfalls of death before the couple gets their happily ever after? That’s just mean.”

Also like altos, romance writers know that the other three genres view their genre as “pitifully easy to write. Anyone could do that.” The romance writers know otherwise. They silently dare the SF/F, horror, and mystery guys to write a romance novel. “Oh, and it has to be a good romance novel. None of this 50 Shades crap.”

Romance writers feel an unspoken bond toward mystery writers—the only other genre that typically remains grounded on Earth. They avoid those SF/F “jerks” as much as possible and dart nervous glances at the horror writers. “Did you hear what that guy did to his characters? *shudder*”

Q: How many romance writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: One—their self-sufficient.

-Mystery )Tenors)

According to the choir guide, tenors are spoiled. “But wouldn’t that make them SF/F?” I said “spoiled,” not “full of themselves.”

But that’s not really where mystery writers resemble tenors. As may be obvious, mystery writers are, well, shrouded in mystery. They’d rather sell their souls then unload their precious plotting details, much the same way that choir directors feel about tenors). Tenors also have a tendency to keep a lot of secrets (aka, if their part is too high, they will make up any excuse rather than say the part is too high).

Mystery writers don’t really have much use for either SF/F or horror writers. Those weirdos live in their own worlds anyway. They reciprocate the unspoken bond that the romance writers feel toward them. “We need to stick together in the face of those speculative nuts.”

Q: How many mystery writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Five, one to screw in the light bulb and four more to stand around concocting theories about the light bulbs use in a murder.

-Horror (Bass)

According to the choir guide, basses are solid and dependable. Ever heard the old adage “keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer?” Horror writers will come off as solid and dependable because they want you around. Why? Well if you leave, who are they going to freak out or use to plan terrifying scenes for their next novel?

Basses are often referred to as the “real men” of the choir. “Real men” (supposedly) like things such as darkness and are never afraid. Hey, horror writers are never afraid. “There’s nothing scarier in real life than what I wrote about last night—by candle light—after the midnight sacrifice meeting I went to.”

Possibly the reason horror writers write horror is an innate sense of being under appreciated. They feel (possibly even fear) that the other genres have it all over them in the sales department because readers get freaked out by the horror section. This explains quite a bit actually. Horror writers compensate for feeling under appreciated by leaning on the proverbial genre horn, so to speak. They produce the most reaction-inducing content of any genre to make themselves feel as though they are standing out.

Horror writers understand the plight of the SF/F writers. They too, if for different reasons, know how it feels to have the other genres avoid them like the plague. Horror writers have a secret, deep-seeded respect for mystery writers. “Anyone who puts their characters through that much strife can’t be all bad.” As far as romance writers are concerned, they are in another universe that the horror writers don’t get at all. Why would anyone want to let their characters end up happily together at the end? For the rare horror writer who does let his/her characters get together, the question morphs into “why would anyone let their characters end up together so easily? Where is the murderer? The chainsaws? The zombies wielding an incurable virus that will turn the humans into mindless drones that just want BRAAAIIINS!?”

Q: How many horror writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Why would you want to turn the lights on?

Wednesday Word Tally

The urban fantasy basically stalled this past week. My final paper for my SF/F class ate my life (told you those genres hogged the spotlight). I got a bit done, and I’m back on target this week.

Current word count: 97,201


Dead. Lol. Here’s to actually having a full-length project for November next year.

Although, I just did the math. Last month, I wrote 52,625 words on the urban fantasy. I did Nano a month early. I’m satisfied with that.

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