Friday, April 29, 2011

Do the Genre Swap

Well, summer is just a week away, and you all know what that means! Time to write! That’s right. Summer is the perfect time to write and try new things. Besides, it’s always good to write over the summer so you don’t get rusty. Writing is a skill that you need to keep practicing, and if you go all summer without writing, the fall semester will start a little rough. Now, I’m not saying go write a research paper or anything like that. I’m saying go have some fun with writing. So what I’m here to do is to suggest a writing exercise that is usually found in creative writing workshops. It’s called the Genre Swap and this is how it goes:

Take a genre you love. For me, I say the zombie genre. I love everything zombie. Then take that genre and list 3 reasons why you love it. Here’s my list:

1. The implications of a society/culture destroying itself.

2. The fact that the humans are typically the real villains/monsters of a zombie story.

3. The pattern of survivors found in almost every zombie story.

Now that you have the genre you love, name a genre you hate. For me, I would say the romance genre. Ughh, every time I see or hear “romance genre” I think Fever Pitch (what an awful movie). Okay, so once you name a genre you hate, go ahead and list 3 reasons why you hate it. Here’s my list for the romance genre:

1. The ridiculous back and forth: I love you. I hate you. I love you. Uhh, just decide already!

2. The minuscule reasons the couple will break up for: Oh you love the Red Sox? I’m leaving you.

3. The lack of deeper meaning within the majority of the genre.

Okay, so now is the time to do the genre swap. Write a story that falls under the genre you hate, but while doing that, swap your lists and write the genre you hate with the elements of the genre you love. I know what you’re thinking: “Chris, your example means a zombie romance story. That doesn’t make sense.” Oh really? I point you to Shaun of the Dead or Fido. It can be done and this exercise can be a lot of fun. This is just something to try and have fun with. So when you are looking for something to do this summer, pick up a pen and paper and write a little. You won’t regret it.

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