Exploring Genre

Okay, so it’s 10:36 and I haven’t touched Dolor and Shadow yet, but it’s my birthday! I’m allowed to blow off work today if I want.

I have so much yummy things happening and I’m just so excited! First, I found this yesterday on Twitter.


Power of FaeIt’s paranormal romance. I read every genre and LOVE Karen Marie Moning’s books (paranormal romance) and this is right up my alley. To my sister…Here is the link! You’ll love it!

So here is the idea I have that I have been kicking around and it’s just…urgh! Let’s talk about genre writing.

I remember when fantasy writing started out. Some of it was dry and so very hard to get through because…well, it was dry. The stories are gorgeous, the imagery is spectacular, but some writers are just dry. I think this has definitely improved. Especially with Patrick Rothfuss.

My goal in my fantasy writing is to write with a fresh voice. My writing was once compared to Tad Williams. Everyone who has read Tad Williams and Dolor and Shadow has confirmed this. “Yes! Tad Williams! Definitely.”

But I love the Tolkien styled, epic imagery of paranormal romance…I also love Poe. What I have done—or what I try to do—is create this blend of fresh voice like Patrick Rothfuss with a mood of Edgar Allan Poe mixed with grand imagery, sweeping story and visuals like Mists of Avalon and what resulted was Dolor and Shadow in the style of Tad Williams.

No joke! That is what Dolor and Shadow is…I hope. That is what my goal is anyway.

I love gothic and macabre. But everyone immediately jumps to Monster High (we have a twelve year old) and vampires. Ugh! It makes me so mad! My husband was sure “gothic” meant blood and vampires. But what I see…I see a world like Poe and Grimm’s brothers without the blood. Somber and melancholy and beautiful. The blood, I believe detracts from the beauty. Honestly the movie Dark Shadows nailed it…so long as you don’t think of Dark Shadows as a comedy. It most certainly was not a comedy despite some parts being hilarious…like with the hippies. Hehehehee…

Don’ t get me wrong, I think the blackish red adds a striking visual like in Sweeney Todd (Hm…Another Johnny Depp movie). I want to write gothic fantasy. It isn’t a genre…yet. But this is what I see.

No vampires! Not one! Sweeping tragic love stories that end in bittersweet kind of like Princess Bride only, without the happy ending and feel good humor.

Speaking of which…

So…so gorgeous. This is what I see.

By the way, his eyes in the end…those are Bergen’s eyes *wink*

Blue Night

“Blue Night” by Victoria Francis

I love the mood in this picture. So very much. It reminds me of Poe’s Annabel Lee…and speaking of which…

Annabel Lee

By Edgar Allan Poe

It was many and many a year ago,
   In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
   By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
   Than to love and be loved by me.
I was a child and she was a child,
   In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
   I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
   Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
   In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
   My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
   And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
   In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
   Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
   In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
   Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
   Of those who were older than we—
   Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
   Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
   Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
   In her sepulchre there by the sea—
   In her tomb by the sounding sea.


This is my favorite poem in the whole wide world.

My favorite moment in Patrick Rothfuss’s books was in Book #1 when they sit out on the lake and the stars reflect down on Kvothe. It is as if they are sitting between two star-filled skies. So beautiful!

And because it is one of my favorites…

But all of these samples are a bit too gothic. It needs to have less goth and more fantasy on an epic scale.

Here is one of my favorite excerpts from Dolor and Shadow.


The wind howled over the hundreds that lay dead on the forest road. Rune tightened his hold on the reins. He couldn’t see the end of the massacre through the steam.

Too stunned to speak, he stared at the Dokkalfar women, the children, the soldiers, and horses, and he jumped when Bergen spoke.

 “Hundreds lay dead for me.

Silenced, they weep for thee,

Blood spilled where ne’er they’ll be.”

 A raven cawed. The first of the flock were gathering.

 “Silence the hundreds.”

The stench of the dead was growing. Within the hour, the field would be crawling with scavengers. This was how King Eyolf would find his kin. There was little time to act.

Rune turned his horse around. All taste for vengeance had left him.

“What are you doing?” Bergen asked and turned his horse to follow.

“There will be war,” Rune said. “The Dokkalfar king won’t dismiss this, nor should he.”

Bergen pulled back on his reins and looked to the dead.

Rune stopped his horse and turned. “Bergen,” he said. “We need to go back. We need to find Father before the Dokkalfar do.”

Bergen stared, not moving, the hate in his eye unyielding.

“Bergen,” Rune said.

It was another long moment before Bergen steered his horse back around to follow his brother.



Kallan smelled the death before she saw the amassed bodies that lay, hewn in pools of their own blood and excrement. Steam rose from the bodies of children, dismembered and disemboweled beside the mothers who had thrown their broken bodies onto them. The steam now formed a thick fog that appeared to have rolled in. Interspersed with meat, drink, and gifts carried for Austramonath, three hundred lay dead.

In silence, Kallan stared from atop her horse. The ravens made feast where piles of pussywillows lay beside children. Alongside the corpses of horses and Alfar, wreaths of flowers and wild branches littered the ground.

Eyolf’s saddle creaked as he lowered himself from his mount. All eyes scanned the dead that spanned the caravan.

“Eyolf…” Daggon spoke, releasing the Dokkalfar from their spell. Numb to the horror that blinded her, Kallan slid from Astrid. Her legs jelled and buckled beneath her.

“F—Fathe—” Her voice cracked. A raven took flight and circled the air. “Were there no guards?”

Eyolf shook his head, unable to speak.

“There were,” Daggon said.

The raven circled and landed upon a small, bloodied mass: a boy. It pecked the corpse then pulled at the boy’s head until it had a mouthful of strands.

“Stop it,” Kallan muttered.

The raven pecked at a stub where an arm should have been.

“Stop it,” Kallan said.

The raven did not obey.

“Stop it!” Kallan shrieked and, scooping up a rock from the ground, she chucked it hard at the bird. “Stop it!” She took up another and, this time, she ran. “Stop it!”

The second rock fell short like the first, but, as she approached the body, the ravens took flight and left the corpse to Kallan.

“Stop!” Kallan screamed and threw her third rock into the air. It fell to the ground with a soft thump. Beside the boy, Kallan stood where the stench of death was stronger.

Behind her, Eyolf and Daggon led the king’s war-men into the dead. In silence, they walked, some bodies too mangled to identify. A few men, some guards lay on the ground, but mostly women and children made up the dead.

“Daggon,” Kallan heard the strength in her father’s voice falter. “Have one of your men take Kallan home.”

“My king.” His voice too had weakened. “Kallan.”

Kallan wasn’t sure how long she gazed into the steam that rolled in the wind. A shadow moved and a soft sob filled the massacre that was Austramonath.

Okay…enough reminiscing. I am off! Perhaps I will finish Dolor and Shadow today!


About the Author: Anna Imagination

Biographical Info... What you seek is my Story. Every Soul is a "Blurb" as one would read on the back of the book. But can people be "unwrapped" so easily? Most importantly, why try? I have long since learned to preserve the Savory that comes with Discovery. Learning of another Soul is a Journey. It is an Exploration. And it does not do the Soul Justice to try and condense a Soul Journey into a Bio.