Monday, August 18, 2014

From Star Wars to Murder Mysteries

I’ve always wondered why the first book I ever tried* to write was science fiction. As a young reader, my books were mostly comprised of the likes of Nancy Drew, the Chronicles of Narnia, and Indian Captive**. Then again, like many people of my generation, I also grew up on Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate, and Robotech (lots of stars, apparently).

It’s amazing what influences us writers. I love to write weird/twisted things: the fairy tale princess with a voice in her head; a young woman who disintegrates any living thing she touches. These ideas aren’t just dreams fed by spicy lamb rogan josh and dark chocolate – the seeds had to come from somewhere, and I’m betting many of them were from the entertainment I consume.

It doesn’t bother me to know that my ideas come from more than just myself. In fact, it makes me want to create more and do more in the field. Who doesn’t love Have Spacesuit Will Travel or The Thin Man? These works of art can be daunting, sure, but I hope the shadows of the greats never keep me from reaching for my own sunlight.

I have two dreams that have been germinating in the back of my mind ever since I decided to be a writer. The first is to tackle a sci-fi comedy. The second is to write a quirky murder mystery. I know it might not sound like much, but these two dreams actually kind of scare me. Years of critique groups, classes and seminars have taught me that good things take thought and great things take back-breaking work.

Even though my first attempt at sci-fi failed, I want to write another. Maybe I’ll take that same idea from 15 years ago and make it shine. Or I might just come up with a new, even crazier idea and see what happens when I throw it into outer space. I could even combine the sci-fi comedy with the murder mystery! Who knows? Let’s just say the goal will be to write a book that makes you go WHAAAAAAT and OHMYGOD and NOWAY all in the same sentence.

Dreams that become goals are the best, aren’t they?

Michelle loves writing in hipster coffee shops because all the weirdness hangs in them like fruit ripe for the picking. Also because they have dirty chai lattes. And regular chai lattes. Really just anything that has “CHAI” written on it.  

*It was/is awful. Terrible. Hilariously painful. Stick around and in the next few weeks you might get to read a few snippets for yourself. 
**Ermahgerd Indian Captive. You guys. If you've never read this book, you need to. Seriously. Mary Jemison is taken by the Senecas and Lois Lenski (the author) is AMAZING. Plus it's a super quick read and absolutely precious. It's the only book I've ever read twice in the same year. Three years in a row. 

1 comment:

  1. I like the way you're willing to branch out and try different genres, change them up a little, do things your own way. In my humble opinion, it's the unique rather than the cookie cutter copy that gets the attention of agents and editors.