Thursday, March 11, 2010

What I'm Pretty Sure I Can't Do

I'm up for just about any challenge with writing. I've written a few novels, some short stories, a couple flash pieces, even tried my hand at structural poetry like an English sonnet and a villanelle. But there are some things I'm pretty sure I can't do.

I can't see myself writing historical fiction. You really have to have a passion for this kind of thing, and I don't really. I'm not opposed to the genre. Some extra special historicals have really resonated with me actually, like the Mark of the Lion Series by Francine Rivers. I believe those three books are the best novels I've ever read because they introduced me to well-rounded characters, put me right into Roman times, made me cry, challenged me spiritually and entirely gripped me.

That's some amazing writing if a book, a series of books really, can do all that.

But as much as I loved those books, the amount of research you'd have to do just seems so daunting to me, in just making sure every single prop is correct. I'd be so afraid of ruining credibility with some stupid bumble, it would kill my drive.
Although, now that I've said that, I'll probably get an idea for a book and I'll have to scratch my 'can't', to 'well, maybe', then, 'okay, yes I can'.

I also could not write a First person novel with a narrator who is not the protagonist. All but four of the Sherlock Holmes books are this way, with Watson as the narrator. He is the every man, sidekicking Sherlock around, providing some distance from the brilliant, analytical mind of the hero as he solves the crimes.

But for me, part of the fun of writing First Person is discovering voice and revealing character. It is almost too difficult for me to wrap my mind around this concept. I think my narrator would soon outshine the protag. I don't know.

What are some things you're pretty sure you can't do with your writing?

~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.


  1. The stuff you've listed here makes it pretty high on my "can't do" list too. Writing from a non-protag narrator; deep, deep research; and I guess I can add doing too much world-building and civilization creation. Orson Scott Card I'm not, for sure.

    But maybe this is why I've set writing away, too. ;)

  2. I write mysteries currently but my first started with a historical piece, which, I might add, I never completed. I'm in love with that novel: the plot, the characters, the time period. However, I just never finished it. They sit there (the characters) in my head, I could never quite forget them so I think one day, one of them will come to me and ask, 'when will you tell my story?'


  3. I'm toying with a book that's set in the future, so that will require some world building. Not looking forward to it.

  4. I know. For some reason, some books-in-progress go dormant for a while. Sometimes, all it takes is a spark for it to be reignited.

  5. Historical fiction would be a challenge for me too. I enjoy novels that explore Chinese and Japanese culture, but know these would be beyond me to write. Copious research and having every last little authentic detail would ensure I never get the projected wrapped up. I suppose if this was something I suddenly became determined to do and could do over several years...

    Fantasy though...fantasy is a definite not even maybe. :)

  6. I might be able to do an Urban Fantasy, or one akin to Jay Lake's novel, Green, which basically just has the presence of an evil power, gods and goddesses, and a few humanoid-type creatures. It's not dragons and wizards or anything like that. His world-building seems pretty simplistic and helps me to see that even fantasy is not out of my realm of possibilities. But, I'm sticking with suspense with a dash of weirdness for now, so I can make a niche of it.