Monday, December 8, 2014

A Mixed Bag of Genres

As most of you readers know I write in a variety of genres and never seem to be able to focus on just one. I write poetry, short stories, novels, memoir and essays. I also dabble in art journaling and mixed media. But the combining of genres into one project is something I've only touched on, having once written a memoir in poetry and short fiction.

A few weeks ago, while taking a short hiatus from my novel, I had an idea for a novella in flash fiction. And now I have learned this is not a new concept.

Rose Metal Press just released a book titled "My Very End of the Universe" which is a collection of novellas-in-flash. It is comprised of winning entries from their annual Chapbook Contest in which the writers had a unifying plot that connected each flash story, despite the fact that individual stories were self contained and complete. What I like best about this collection is that each author has written an essay that describes their process in composing a novella in a series of short-short stories of 1,000 words or less.

I find that when I have an idea about something I want to write, or a particular leaning toward a project, some article, or book, or facebook post comes along that aligns to what I was thinking. I like to see these events as signs that I am on the right track, or write track if you will accept my punny humor.

I can think of several ways to combine genres and I know I will explore each one. The novella in flash fiction. A memoir in poetry and personal essays, a memoir in flash nonfiction, or a memoir in prose poetry. These ideas appeal to my scattered creative mind that never seems to settle on one form of writing for very long. 

While I intend to at least finish a first draft of the novel, I am eager to start on something new. I think a novella in flash will be my first endeavor. I need to start sketching out a plot for each story as I have an overarcing plot in mind already. 

In January when I start my 6 month long memoir course I am going to consider writing it in a series of flash nonfiction pieces and at some point toward its completion I will consider intertwining prose poems as well.

Rose Metal Press has three books that help the writer learn about and refine their skills in three genres. These are:
"The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry"
"The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Flash Nonfiction"
"The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Flash Fiction"

They are all helpful books along the writer's journey and I hope one day they will create a field guide to writing mixed genre books and chapbooks. In the meantime I will feel my way into this new project of combined genre writing and perhaps find ways to include art as well.  

If anyone out there wants to give this a try please share your experiences and ideas here on my blog.

In the meantime-- Keep Writing!