Out of Step

‎”I passionately hate the idea of being with it; I think an artist has always to be out of step with his time. ”  Orson Welles

Amen, brother. 

Color outside the lines (page 119) - Result 2
Image by atibens via Flickr

While I completely understand the necessity of saturating a topic or sub-genre in the traditional publishing world – after all, they have to bank on what is already selling – I’ve always been a march-to-my-own-drum kind of girl. Or I’ve always been odd, as my parents would say.

I read an article recently that I wish I’d bookmarked, because I can’t find it now (maybe the blog owner got too much hate-mail and deleted the post?) about how a writer should never, ever address the reader. Um, wow. Really? Because I wrote two novels and am working on a third in the series where the main character, written in the first person present tense, does just that. I don’t just break down the fourth wall in these stories; I drive through it with a big-ass tank and and crush all the mother-lovin’ splinters beneath my treads. 

And they’re selling.

You see, I made the decision long ago that I would write for me and share it with you. If writing becomes just a job, if I cease to derive pleasure from it because I’m not doing it the way I want, there’s no point in doing it anymore. To not write would be akin to not breathing. Or stopping my heart from beating. 

Not an option.

So my vampires will be different than “canon” dictates. My fallen angels will be different. My zombies will be different. Even my witches will be different, my magic different. I think outside the box, color outside the lines, live outside the expectations and preconceived ideas of others.

And I invite you to do the same. I wrote a blog post for Kait Nolan, who hosted me on my blog tour for the release of Malakh earlier this year, that I titled “Writing in Someone Else’s Rut.” It’s what’s happened to anything magic, anything vampire, and soon, probably, to anything zombie. Someone is deciding canon, and it’s not you or me. The expected norm is to be a fresh voice (as long as it falls in line with all the other “fresh” voices of current times) with a unique idea (as long as it’s not too different from what else is being produced in your genre), that changes the course of your genre (but not too much – after all, who are you to decide the next new trend?)

Let me ask you, fellow writers: Are you happy being a clone? Does it fulfill you? Do you long to write your story but feel obligated to change elements to fit with what’s currently being sold?

Or are you out there wandering the desert of creativity, madly scribbling your unique plots and world-building outside the lines, cackling insanely from the scorching heat of your brilliance?

You have to decide whether you’re going to write in the trendy rut, or whether you’re driving the tank right the hell over canon. Be bold. Be daring. Be aggressive in your creativity. Embrace your unique ideas and develop them fully, so that when you write them down and offer the pages to the world, the world turns them with feverish curiosity, with burning desire to discover what happens, with immense respect and awe that you dared to be so different.

With that, I invite you to take a few moments to read the premiere installment of my outside-the-lines zombie serial, In the Blink of an Eye, in the current issue of Forever Nocturne Ezine. C’mon, it’s only 3 pages and I haven’t even trampled any canon yet.

But I will. You can bank on it.  😀


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