Thursday, 17 March 2016

Ten Things I Love About Writing Contemporary

Anyone who's so much as scrolled through my blog knows that I'm very much a fantasy/mythology/paranormal sort of girl, but that doesn't mean I don't curl up with a contemporary once in a while. I enjoy writing them too - they seem to flow out of me quicker and more easily than any other genre. Here are ten reasons why, sometimes, it's just nice to suspend your disbelief for an hour or two and step into the world as it isn't. 1. And They All Lived Happily Ever After

(John Green. That's all I'm going to say.)

Okay, so they don't always, but characters in contemporaries at the very least seem to have a greater chance of survival than their fantastical cousins. If a contemporary conflict is solved without somebody getting slaughter, nobody's going to call foul.

2. The Secondary School Setting

Yes, it's an overused setting wrought with cliches, but it has a special place in my heart. Most of us have been to school, so most of us can see a little bit of truth in the caricatured mean girls and lads. It's a great setting for parody too.

3. Write What You Know

So the heroine attends karate classes, the hero plays bass in a band, and the mother's doing on online French degree between changing nappies and working at the local bar. Every writer has a life full of experiences to draw on.

4. It's Not Really The Real World

Yes, contemporary has to be plausible, but it doesn't necessarily have to be realistic. Just because there's a chance something could happen doesn't mean it would. At least, that's how I view it. It's my reality, and I'll exaggerate if I want to.

5. But it is

Hands up if you just want to write something simple from time to time.

(Hands up if you're lazy, more like.)

In contemporary writing, the world building is done for you. There's no stressing over whether your grasp of physics is good enough for you to design an atmosphere that works, or worrying that your fantasy race acts too human. The world is there, and how it works is plastered all over the internet.

6. Pop Culture References Galore

 I have a theory that urban fantasy was created by a writer who wanted to write about magical elves, but also wanted to name-drop all of their favourite things. You can define the hero of a contemporary story by which song comes on when he cranks up the radio, or by whether he puts The Princess Bride or James Bond on when his girlfriend comes round to watch a film. Operation: Insert Conflict Here

Compared to fantasy stories, the conflicts of contemporaries seem so quaint, yet they're treated in exactly the same way. Being unable to find a prom date is akin to being forced to fight to the death for TV entertainment, your friend moving away is like fighting a secret guerilla war against an alien race, and not getting into art school is worse than being the only thing standing between a Titan army and the fate of the world. In the world of contemporary, everything is serious business.

8. A Wild Love Interest Appears

Usually, it's easy to pinpoint the exact point at which the love interest will come in. He'll be the first boy the heroine meets, or the leader of the rebel army, or the mysterious boy who holds out his hand and says, "come with me if you want to live." In a contemporary, he could pop up anywhere. Even the library.

9. Dare To Dream

Contemporary characters find enough adventure to fill a novel in their hometowns, their schoolyards, and their back gardens. They don't need to fall into a portal fantasy, they have enough drama right here. Right now. 

10. The Power of Friendship

It doesn't take a nuclear war to turn a contemporary friendship group into a family of choice. 

"Who Are We?"