The Starving Activist is the sometimes-home for words. AR Neal (that’s me) finds them, cultivates them, and leaves them here. Enjoy.

November 12: Be True to the Genre

Before you start blushing in anticipation of some sexually charged post, take a breath. It ain't that kinda party.So today's #NanoPoblano is about dreams and genres. Just follow me, okay?In a dream, I was at a table in a room full of other writers. There were no computers or paper tablets -- we had oddly shaped tiles that looked like curved pieces of wood or bark on which words were written. We put them in order and voila! We were writing.It seems that erotica was the genre I had identified for my conglomeration of tiles. I was putting together the last sentence and the group of other writers near me kept asking about the ending. I put the last two tiles next to each other (can't remember what the words were, but it was quite boring and innocuous -- I remember thinking that, even in my subconscious) and told them that the ending was something like 'and they lived happily ever after'.It's sappy now as I write it and was sappy then, even in the dream.The group of writers kept on with questions like, 'No, but what happened? What did the characters do?' They wanted to hear all the juicy bits.The juicy bits that were not there.See what happened?I hadn't been true to the genre.How can you write a piece of erotica if there is no sensuality or sex?Exactly.If for example you claim that the genre of your work is science fiction, it better hit somewhere inside the square. Soft science fiction, hard science fiction, space opera, alternate universes, no problem. However, if you've got a cast of emoji vampires set here on Earth, chances are you don't have any kind of science fiction. Now if said emoji vampires are on a ship, bound to Earth from a black hole in the center of the Crab Nebula, you might be onto something.Dreams aside, stay true to your genre. If you want to stretch your wings and step into a genre that is different from where your characters usually exist, do your homework. Learn as much as you can about what is expected within those sorts of stories or books. The example from my dream or the emoji vampires in space are very basic, but hopefully you get what I mean.You're a writer.Don't cheat yourself or your potential readers by just scratching the surface.It's not what we do.

November 13: Last Will and Testament

Scribe's Cave Picture Prompt: The Last Lounge Singer