Where did that come from? Writing outside my genre20 Jun 2018
I was enjoying the view from the cliff-top near my home. I am so lucky to live on the South coast of England and never tire of the view over the Channel. It was a fine day and the sea was sparkling where the sun met the wavelets (love that word!) undulating in the slight breeze. A yacht without sails was motoring its way against the wind and bouncing in the along-shore choppy swell. As often happens, the gentle breeze and lovely light made it easy to feel ready for a story to began to take shape in my mind.
The title came first and it was a distinctly odd one. The first two parts of the story formed rapidly and I needed to record a memo on my phone so I did not forget before I had access to a pen or my keyboard. These two parts were vivid in detail, gently funny but with a dark twist. I was thoroughly enjoying my pondering and elements of the story bounced into my consciousness effortlessly. The next part of the story also came to me but it was entirely, unexpectedly dark and apparently unconnected to the first part of the story. Never-the-less, it was also fully formed and rich in detail with an ending that tied cleverly to the odd title. In just a few short minutes of cliff-top pondering, I had zipped through curious enjoyment to unsettled bemusement. As I write this post, I have no idea where the story is going, or how the two parts come together. The elements of the story I have so far, take me back many years to being a teenager and reading HP Lovecraft for the first time. My story is nothing like ‘The Call of Cthulu’ other than a vague connection to the sea and its creatures. I do not know why Lovecraft came to mind other than through the realisation that this story, which called to be written, is one very much out of my genre.
The wonderful Margaret Atwell has spoken of the benefits of thinking outside one’s own box and there are dozens of interesting blogs about the benefits a writer might achieve by doing so. It would seem there is a general consensus that writing outside one’s genre enables creativity to be expanded, that different perspective might be considered, new ideas generated and that the effort to be outside one’s own genre comfort zone facilitates an expanded appreciation for it.
So, I do not yet know where this story is going or how the various parts will fit together. I suspect it may develop into an allegorical tale which is really about a dystopian future related to climate change. It might be sci-fi (it features Artificial Intelligence and robots) or it might be horror. I just do not know but if, as Enid Bagnold suggests, writing is the answer to everything, I am looking forward to finding out.