The OF Blog: If your story were a novel, what genre(s) would it be?

Monday, April 07, 2014

If your story were a novel, what genre(s) would it be?

Later this week, two important events in my life will have their 20th and 10th anniversaries.  Thinking on this a few days ago, I found myself wondering what sorts of stories could a writer devise slightly fictionalized elements of my life.  Would it be a coming of age sort of story?  Perhaps a moment of epiphany?  Maybe a descent into darkness and a slow rise back out of it, coupled with periodic relapses?  Could there be elements of farce or satire, especially if my professional life (lives?) were narrated?

And from there, I started to wonder about others and their tales.  What if my dad had a story published based on what he witnessed in the Army during Vietnam, even if he served in the backlines as a clerk?  Or maybe the triumphs and tragedies of certain close friends of mine, including those who are no longer alive?  Would others recast their lives and personal principles as a morality play or an epic fantasy?

What would you try to do if a fictionalized account of your life were to somehow be written, perhaps by another?  Would your life be an exciting one, or one that contains layers upon layers of depth to it?  Curious to see what others would say.  As for myself, I could see several types of stories:  a satire based on my experiences as a teacher certainly would be a tempting one to write, as there aren't all that many good stories out there based on recent teaching experiences.  Or maybe a poetry collection capturing the range of emotions, from the elation of struggling students "getting it" to the horrified numbness that comes when you learn that a series of students over a few years have died in various, often gruesome fashions (the worst being a former student and her infant daughter trapped inside a car as it became engulfed by flames).  Perhaps each major incident in our own lives would require different voices, different genres to express them adequately in fiction.

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