For as long as I can remember, I’ve always liked my fiction unconventional. What is unconventional, you ask? According to Merriam-Webster—whom you all know is always right—the definition of “unconventional” is ‘very different from the things that are used or accepted by most people; not traditional or usual.’
I am not your typical sweet romance, happily ever after gal. Though I have and still often do enjoy a good romance.
But the stories that have always stuck out to me the most were the nontraditional ones. It started when I was really young. Like still in grade school. I craved M/M stories, and I devoured up as much as I could. The M/M genre was completely different than the M/F genre, and so I adored it.
As time moved on, however, I grew more picky about the types of stories I wanted to read. I wanted something else that would be considered out of the ordinary—at least to me. I wanted out of the formulaic, predictable traditional route most of the stories I was reading took. I wanted more anti-heroes. More slutty main characters. More good guys doing bad things, and bad guys I cheered for more than good.
When I discovered Laurell K. Hamilton in high school, it was honestly like a breath of fresh air. I know, LKH gets so much heat for her novels, especially her later works. But back then, Anita and all her men were the pièce de résistance of unconventional. Not only was a woman a headstrong badass, but she actually owned her sexuality as well? Anita got to kill bad guys, strumpet around with countless gorgeous men, and still get her HFN, too. As an added bonus, there was enough violence, blood, psychopaths, and realism to make me shiver all the way from my toes to my head.
Anita was right up my alley.
So were the other authors whose works I’ve devoured with the hope that I too could somehow write like that someday.
Fast-forward to the year 2016, and I’m still working on incorporating unconventionality into my own stories. I don’t necessarily classify myself as a romance author. I don’t often like to write real romance in my stories. And I’m not exactly an erotic author, too, as I don’t think sex essentially drives all my plots—although it can be essential to a story.
Here’s the thing: I don’t want to fret about giving my characters a HEA or HFN. I mean, who is to say that ending up with that other MC will make them happy? Really? I don’t want to write about your typical romances. I don’t want rose-colored glasses and sugar-coated fantasies. Give me gritty and real, and even a little psychotic. Main characters with mental or psychological issues are great. Another unconventionality that is up my alley.
But look at me, doing all this rambling, even though I’m terrified stiff. I don’t know who or where, but someone once said that the more unconventional your story, the less fans you will have.
Totally frightened me.
But you know what?
I think I’m ready to accept that. Like Kristen Lamb wrote about in a recent blog post, I can’t be a people-pleaser. No matter how well or badly I do, there will always be someone who didn’t like it. And that’s just cold hard facts.
This is what I like to write, damn it! Unconventional. Dark. Taboo. These are things that interest me, and have interested me for a long time. I may not be a LKH, Tiffany Reisz, or Aleksandr Voinov, but that is why I plan to learn and hone my craft so that I can get on their level. So that I can be proud and content with my works.
What about you? Do you have any things you like that are way too out of the ordinary for the people around you? It doesn’t have to be writing, either. It could be anything.
I’d love to hear from you all!
Until then, don’t be ordinary. And dream big.