Monday, April 4, 2011

Delightful Smells & Dead Stuff

Most everyone's doing the A-Z challenge this month. I'm not, but my post today happens to coincide with the letter D... It's D-day in more ways than one around here, but more on that later.

I got many different reactions to my assertion that boys stink--on both sides. As always, I'm ready to be corrected. Heck on this matter, I want to be corrected. All my male characters smell delightful.

And when I read Crazy Writer Girl's (hilarious) post, I didn't realize I might be writing unrealistic contemporary fiction by asserting my male love interests were fresh as daffodils.

I'm a MOG (mother of girls), and JRM is thoughtful enough to hang his sweaty clothes on the side porch after exercising. So we're not subjected to stinky boys.

The good news, is I was not all wet! Here's what I've learned from my MOB (mother of boy) commenters:

  • Not all boys smell! It's more a function of their age and level of physical activity.
  • The boy stink seems to max out around late-elementary school (around eleven). And Truth: our little ladies can hold their own in the stink-department after a hard day's playing.
  • Once the prospect of love enters the picture, our fellas (and girls) magically transform into frequent bathers who often drown themselves in perfumes and deodorants as well. (*cough*)
Now I'm thinking I need to get my sniffer to the store to expand my sensory vocabulary. So here's to heavenly scented teens (of the non-paranormal variety).

And my apologies for asserting they might smell otherwise. (I was misled!)

As for Dead Stuff, my good bleep Jen ("Unedited" link) sent her query letter through Matt's Q3E recently (link), and there was a mini-discussion in the comments over whether she should use the label Chick-lit, as that genre has been pronounced "dead."

Saying your book is a "rom-com" was also named the Kiss of Death.

I started thinking about other categories that were Dead until something new gave them the old Dr.-Frankenstein-electric-shock treatment.

Things like paranormal before Twilight, slasher films before Scream, even Westerns before the Cohen brothers remade True Grit.

So... 
-Should we just keep swimming in the face of assertions that our genre is DEAD? 
-Should we all start working on our YA dystopians immediately? 
-What if someone is starting a paranormal romance (which is on the verge of Death again)? ... irony.

Have a great week, reader-friends! Til Thursday~ <3

33 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

I don't think I'll ever write a dystopian, it's just no in me. Def. don't follow trends though sometimes it's hard not to. It can creep into your brain before you know it.

Vicki Rocho said...

I say continue on with whatever you're writing because there's no way for you to predict what will be hot by the time your book is shopped around anyway. Besides, our work is going to revolutionize the world, right? We ARE the trend setters! hahahaha.

Pssst....something waiting for you over at the blog.

Kari Marie said...

I've stopped caring what's hot. Muse won't cooperate anyway. Write what you love and submit. You never know because even though these genres are "dead," it's not like NO ONE is reading them. Every genre has fans (although the number of them would vary widely).

Old Kitty said...

Oh noes!!! Please don't say paranormal romance is on the verge of extinction!! If it is I hope it gets resurrected and dug up in future years as an archeological find!!!

I have a sneaky suspicion all these genres tend to come and go in cycles and luck and research says which genre is in or out at the moment. Chick-lit will return be it in a different form - maybe as Rom-lit!!! Take care
x

aspiring_x said...

i agree with the other commenters! one should write what they love! it's the heart and soul poured into a ms that can fills it with such life that it revives a genre! :)

LTM said...

@Laura--yeah, I just write what comes. Sounds like you're moving on to zombies... :D <3

Jessica Bell said...

Hate to break it to ya, but it's actually C-day :-/ lol. Nevermind!
(sundays are off days) ;o)

Clarissa Draper said...

I have a son and he keeps very clean. He never smells. Of course, he is a teenager and I'm sure it has something to do with girls.

Myne Whitman said...

All this genres that are supposedly dead, hmm...I just say, keep writing.

walk2write said...

I was wondering how delightful smells and dead stuff were going to connect in this post. Good job! And you're right about the little ladies being just as stinky. I'm a MOBAG--mother of boy and girl, and they have both had their share of stinky moments. Not anymore, of course!

Elle Strauss said...

I'm not doing the A-Z challenge, either, in fact I only figured out what was going on today. Seems I'm slow in other ways as well--didn't know there were genres dying all around me. How did I miss this when I feel like I'm on the blog all the time?

Oh well, I do have a YA dystopian idea...

M Pax said...

Write what calls to you. If it's dead, maybe it's you who revives it.

Lydia K said...

All you need to concentrate on is writing a fabulous novel. Even if it's a "dying" genre, if it's still good it will be wanted and read.

At least, I hope so!

Carolyn Abiad said...

From the mouth of an agent to my ears: "[editor x] says if I send him another dystopian, he will jump out the window."... or something like that. Then from another agent in the room: "We just need to package it differently." So I guess the lesson is: write what you must and forget what's hot.

Hart Johnson said...

I think it's all in the presentation. I think the zeitgeist of 'nobody wants this anymore' might keep us from being read, even if we HAD the book to bring it back. Write what you love... but market it cleverly...

Lynda R Young said...

there's nothing new under the sun and all it takes is a good STORY to revive a dead genre.

Huntress said...

I have a perverse nature. If someone announces a 'truth', I want to decide for myself if it is actually so.

Good post, good discussion.

Talli Roland said...

No dystopian for me! I can't even imagine!

Funny, I was told by an agent to call my book romantic comedy! I think opinion differs... I'm just happy people are reading it! :)

Kittie Howard said...

Interesting questions! I think the term 'chick-lit' is so a part of our overall vocab, it won't disappear. I know it's important to stay current. However, my father used to say that if 'you' (meaning me) follow the pack, by the time you get to the head of the line, the pack will be off to something else and you'll be stuck.
So, I think: write what works for the individual. And, hey! how's your moving coming??

Summer Ross said...

I didn't really know any of these were dead, so to say, I think things go in and out of fashion- but dead really never crossed my mind.

Stephen Tremp said...

Genres come and go all the time. If you have a great book and market and promote it well, then you will sell some copies. If not, then perhaps a genre switch is in order.

LTM said...

@Summer--dead, dead, dead. ;p j/k--it came up in another discussion, and apparently these are no-nos now. Who knew? ;o)

@Stephen--Well said! I agree one thousand percent; although perhaps not necessarily a genre switch. Perhaps an examination of craft? Thanks~

Angela Felsted said...

I think we should write what we love regardless. It may not make us rich, but at least we'll be happy, right?

RosieC said...

Yeah, I have a dystopian idea on the docket, but I don't know about marketing things in "dead" genres. Maybe it's the kiss of death, but one has to honestly market their work, right? I don't know.

Wow, so much for having a constructive, interesting comment...

Rosie
East for Green Eyes

erica and christy said...

i've got two dystopian ideas in my head, but by the time i write them, the genre will be dead. ah well. i've always been behind the trends. clothes. music. i've always liked them two years too late. one of these times something comes back around in popularity i'll be ahead of the gang! christy (btw...soon to be querying a paranormal romance!)

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Leigh,

I cracked with the first part of your post.

As for your comment about dead genres...

My philosophy is excellent writing IS excellent writing and there are markets for ALL excellent writing. Dystopian is just the flavor of the month. It will lull like all genres.

Ellie said...

Write what you love, not what happens to be hot at the moment!

Ellie Garratt

Katie Mills said...

I don't like to think the male characters in the books I'm reading smell funky. I do cringe when the words 'musty' and 'male' show up in romantic lit. As for genre, I think chick lit is now referred to as 'women's fiction' non?

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Ah, the labeling. It is difficult, and honestly I will label differently depending on the agent/editor/audience. Which, I think, is exactly how it's done in real life (i.e. marketing).

And the only real option is to write something you love, no matter what you call it.

I'm celebrating your nicetude on my blog today! :)

Christine Danek said...

I'm all about write what you want. I'm not a big one to follow the trend so I go with what my mind brings me. I can't force it into a particular topic. If I do, it gets mad at me.

Anne N Kenny said...

I make up my own trends in my mind. It's what I do. :P

You gotta write what you love (at first.) Then (when all else fails) write what they love.

Tracy said...

Leigh,
I had to laugh becuase I teach 3, 4, 5th grade boys and around spring time, those boys are rank and we tease them about who did and who DID NOT use their deoderant! UGH!!! Because here in NC, you know it gets pretty toasty warm so recess is always a delight in the afternoon! Whew, open the windows for certain!

Lisa Galek said...

My real life experience with boys is that they stink, but all my heroes smell dreamy, too. What gives?

It's really hard to put labels on your writing. I know it has to be done, but it always gives me a headache trying to think of something that isn't dead or completely misleading.