Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Skirting the norm (make that paranorm) by Wendy Delsol


So thrilled to be a part of YA Outside the Lines. And to think, once upon a time I was scolded for coloring in such a manner (and for biting the fingers off my dolls, but ... I digress).
First off, I'm flattered to be included in this prestigious lineup of writers. A shout out to all the talented members of the group and a pledge to do my best to keep up.
With "outside the lines" as a suggested topic for our first post, I decided to write about the literary term high concept. High concept is used to describe an idea or angle that is fresh or unique. An orphan with a lightning bolt scar who is invited to a boarding school for wizards was, in its day, highly original.
If I were to attribute my "breakthrough" in publishing to one thing it would be purposely breaking out of the vamps and weres trend in the paranormal genre and inventing a new supernatural power. I mean, it's fiction, right? Not that there's anything wrong with vampires (except that whole suck-you-dead thing). I have enjoyed many of the post-Twilight Dracu-lores. It was, rather, that I felt there had to be infinitely more to explore in the things-that-go-bump-in-the-night field.
I was drawn to the angel angle (and not just as an anagram), because the concept of a spirit form has always intrigued me. When brainstorming a fresh take on the human soul, I thought of the before--rather than after--scenario. An episode of an Unsolved Mysteries TV show that had stuck with me for years came to mind. In this particular segment, a young boy told his mother that he had a pre-birth memory of hovering over the earth and choosing her. Wow! What a fascinating concept. I tweaked it by combining it with the symbolism of childbirth--the bundle-bearing stork--to invent my human Storks, women charged with the pairing of undecided souls with the right mother.
So the tagline for our blog is "pushing boundaries and writing from the heart." I personally like that we're all coming at writing YA with different approaches. My Stork trilogy is light fantasy with romance elements. Pushing what is traditionally considered boundaries? Probably not. Different? I hope so. And from the heart? Yes. Trusting that we're all curious about what comes before and after, I write beyond the confines of empirical knowledge.
So I'm thrilled to be included in an outside-the-lines community. Here's to the great unknown, skirting the (para)norm, blazing trails, and having a posse with which to do so. Let's ride.

9 comments:

  1. Nice post, Wendy! I loved Stork, and I'm glad that I received my finished copy so I can give away my ARC now. :) It's really cool that you're on the author list. I have no doubt that you'll continue going against the norm, and against the norm of the paranormal. Seriously, what other book has an Icelandic STORK society of which most of its members are old women?

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  2. Awesome concept, Wendy! Can't wait to read Stork now. Welcome to the new gig!

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  3. Welcome, Wendy, and what a fab post!

    Personally, though, I think you sell yourself a wee bit short-- I do think you're writing outside the lines, because the concept of taking an angel/spirit and weaving it into a new mythology intertwined with traditional symbolism?

    Sounds pretty outside the lines to me!

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  4. Wonderful post Wendy!! It is such an interesting thing - high concept. I like it when an author breaks through the crowd with an idea that is new and fresh. And as you say, with fantasy and the paranormal, only your fantasy sets borders.

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  5. Stork sounds awesome! Can't wait to read it!

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  6. Thanks for the post! I enjoyed reading about how Stork's paranormal aspects were inspired. I think your concept definitely stands out as original amongst all the vamps and weres!

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  7. Welcome to the blog, Wendy! I love the story of how Stork came about almost as much as I love your book. And I love it a lot!

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  8. What Barb said! I think it is amazing how you created an entirely new mythology. As a myth lover, I can't wait to read Stork and add it to my personal mythology canon!

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  9. I've heard wonderful things about your book, Wendy! Excited to read it! Keep going after those high concepts.

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