It’s such an honor to get to introduce my dear writer friend, Abigayle Ellison (or Abigayle Clair, as she’s known to her readers), to you all today. She’s an indie author like myself, and her debut novel, Martin Hospitality, is on Amazon! She graciously offered to write a guest post for me, and I’m really excited about this one. I hope you enjoy her wisdom and unique take on the contemporary genre as much as I did 🙂
Kara has graciously agreed to let me guest post on her blog today. As always, picking a topic is the hard part. But this time Kara saved me the trouble by suggesting I write on the contemporary genre, as that is one thing she doesn’t do. 🙂
It seems to me that the contemporary genre has largely fallen out of favor, and I can’t say I blame anyone. Who wants to read about modern-day problems, when the very reason we read is often to escape the present? Especially if the portrayals are always going to fall into Hallmark stereotypes.
That was certainly my attitude about it. And yet my first published novel, Martin Hospitality, is contemporary. (I know, way to dig myself a grave.)
I’m here to show you that just because you might decide to write—or read—contemporary does not mean it has to be bland, typical, or badly done. In fact, by finally setting historical research aside and beginning to write in the 21st century, I discovered quite a few ways in which modern day is unique.
First, from a writer’s perspective:
1 // Write What You Know
Writers get told to “write what you know” quite a lot. That’s how a writer is supposed to appear an authority on their subject. While I always take this advice with a grain of salt, there’s no way to follow this advice better than to select a present-day setting.
2 // Avoid Research
Research takes an insane amount of time. Whether you write historical or speculate about the future, expect to comb through many online documents about obscure topics. My research for my contemporary novel was limited to farming, child development, and medical conditions. Whereas in my medieval novella, I had to research clothing, furniture, available materials, common structures, word usage, and everyday habits. There’s so much one can bypass in the research department if the setting is the present!
But never fear. Writers often make decisions largely for the benefit of their audience. Readers will also find perks in the contemporary genre.
3 // Relatability
Honestly, what can a person relate to more than the atmosphere he or she grew up in? If the writer is perceptive and does a good job writing what they know, they can bring to life nostalgic details to spur the reader’s imagination on, without having to meticulously explain inventive species or ancient customs. I love it when I think yes! as a writer describes something.
4 // Awareness
Another thing I love about reading a novel is when it provides awareness—it educates me on a topic or issue that I’d never given much consideration before. While this can often be the case with a historical event in a historical fiction book, I find that there are many modern issues that can also be addressed. For example, Martin Hospitality has several prevalent issues in it like teenage pregnancy and domestic abuse. Ivy Rose’s novella Left to Die is based on her experience of adopting from China. There are so many things to learn about not just the world we live in, but the time we live in.
Those are just a few of the ways in which I’ve found the contemporary genre stands out among all the various genres the literary world has to offer!
What genres do you enjoy reading? What are your thoughts on the contemporary genre?
Abigayle has been a writer ever since her mother taught her how to hold a pencil. However, she devoted more time to reading words with her green eyes than penning them with her left hand. Inspired by a crazy dream at the age of sixteen, she set off on a journey to self-publish her first novel, Martin Hospitality. Since then, Abigayle has devoted herself to sharing what she has learned through the mediums of freelance editing and her blog theleft-handedytpist.blogspot.com … when period drama films are not calling more loudly. None of her successes would be possible without the support of her Savior, large family, and online community.