That I Write in Any Genre is a Surprise

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Ok, this is not the motto of one of the Great Houses of Westeros. But as I am one season closer to £500 a year and a room of my own, it is worth a trumpet or two (spring! it’s happening in the spring!).

September. The season of color, crunch, and crisp. Cooler mornings for runs, bright afternoons warming leaves on the cusp of transitioning from green to the fall palette. And the IWSG First Wednesday posting.

The September Question posed by our Ninja Captain: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn’t think you’d be comfortable in??


I write mostly mystery/horror, with a bit of bizarre poetry thrown in. A few years back, memoirs of the humorous, snarky-ish type seemed to be all the rage. “Hey!” I thought. “I can be as much of a smart-ass as anyone, without all the eff words.” [side bar – while I may occasionally talk like a sailor, (or use what my colleagues and I call “technical legal terms”) I don’t want to read a bunch of profanity, unless the character IS a sailor]

While not really “my” genre, I dinked around a bit, outlining what I hoped could be humorous, snarky anecdotes. I even made a cover with catchy working title. To wit:

It Seemed Reasonable cover5

And boy, was I surprised.

“Humor is almost always anger with its make-up on.” ― Stephen King, Bag of Bones

Memoirs involve memories, true stories from the past [unless you’re James Frey]. But as the ink flowed, my memories were not humorous. My truth was scary, not snarky. These anecdotes were angry and no amount of lipstick and mascara would make them funny.

But this isn’t what surprised me. The surprise was how quickly one can be sucked into the vortex of a desolate abyss when tarrying too long at the portal to the past. It is, perhaps, best not to windowshop at Hell’s Emporium.

“We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.” ― Stephen King

The master of horror knows whereof he speaks. This project has been shelved until such time as . . . Hell freezes over. For now, I’ll just stick with making up the horrors and leave the memoirs to those who like surprises.


Please visit our awesome co-hosts for this posting of the IWSG:

and everyone else is here!

This entry was posted in I Am Not Making This Up, IWSG, The Road to Hell . . .. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to That I Write in Any Genre is a Surprise

  1. Wow, your experience with that memoir is so interesting. I’m sorry it sent you into such a difficult place. But I guess King does know what he’s talking about! Glad you were able to shelve it and move on.
    Loved the title of this post, btw. I feel the same about my own writing. 😀

    • Lee says:

      The upside is I am always interested in the psychology/psychosis aspect of the mind and this experience is something I can use in a character Not Based On Me.

  2. A post referencing GoT and Stephen King? Yeh!

    Love that humor quote by King. I always wished I could write funny, and while I might have a few good lines in a story, my work overall is…not funny. Not. At. All.

    • Lee says:

      As an avid lover of cold and dark, I’ve always thought the line “winter is coming” was written for me (I read the book two decades ago). SK totally gets crazy and horror. And your work overall may not be funny but it is awesome!

  3. emaginette says:

    Yeah, I kind of trust what Stephen King tells me. His book on writing got me started. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  4. Interesting that you found delving into memory such a dark journey. I suspect I gain more from feeding my darker episodes into the meat grinder of fiction than I would from just writing a memoir about them.

    • Lee says:

      That is certainly the conclusion I came to, as well. And the visual of “meat grinder of fiction” just brought to mind the wood chipper scene from Fargo!

  5. I love how you integrated Stephen King quotes into your post. Really insightful. I’m co-hosting this month, so I thought I would pop in and say, “hi!”

  6. Juneta says:

    Don’t know if I could write a memoir, but love the quote. I have King’s book about writing, so I do value what he has to say. Great post. Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

    • Lee says:

      Well I am clearly not going to be writing a memoir anytime soon! And I’m good with that. Love King’s book on writing – all beef, no b.s.

  7. Olga Godim says:

    Many writing textbooks state that novice writers often start with writing their memoirs. But even when I was a novice, I was never tempted to write my memoirs. Maybe because, unconsciously, I was reluctant to open up that pit of darkness and depression and look inside. I still don’t write memoirs, except for a few anecdotes or encounters I find amusing. I don’t want to. Memoir writers must be the bravest of us all to be willing to look to the core of their souls. A good memoir means you strip your heart naked in front of everyone. I bow to your courage for trying, but I’m not surprised you shelved the project.

  8. Lee says:

    Exactly right, Olga! I am so not putting my heart out for everyone. I prefer to mine that pit of darkness a source of characterization, as needed, but never to expose its secrets or mystery.

  9. Snark is always fun!
    Sounds like the IWSG anthology contest is right up your alley.

    • Lee says:

      Snark seems to come to me naturally, according to my “friends.” So sneaky seque to the anthology. And here I sit, with no alibi. But yes, I am working on a submission. I never want to pass up an opportunity to kill someone.

  10. Loni Townsend says:

    Dude. I’m intrigued by your past and the darkness that lurks there. I admit, I don’t have much of that in my memories. Maybe because I can’t remember much? Hmmm.

    • Lee says:

      Sometimes having a limited memory can be a blessing. Otherwise, a good pair of those rose-colored glasses can come in handy.

  11. kimlajevardi says:

    I’m ecstatic about fall’s arrival as well. Cool, crisp and colorful sum it up perfectly.
    You had quite the experience with memoir. Sorry it became more horror than snark. Some memories are not worth revisiting.

    • Lee says:

      So I learned that the memoir is definitely not my genre – at least for the time being. But the memories are still good fodder for my dark fiction. I can handle anything in bits and disconnected pieces. It’s all good.