Friday, March 22, 2013

Mayhem by Genre

Okay, there hasn't been much Mayhem this month, work distracted me a bit. But here is another post dedicated to the topic.

Each genre has its own levels and type of mayhem that become popular. Some can even use that lesser known definition of the word given the right genre. What works for certain genres won't always work in others, however, which is why it's good to know the genre that you are writing in, just saying.

Now to the genres.

Action/Adventure - yeah the easy one

Bombs exploding, fast car chases, tense sounds of clocks to indicate time is running out... Okay, that last one doesn't work as well in novels as it does on tv or in movies but you get the picture. It's basically a genre that requires a storyline where there is an exciting undertaking that involves risk. If mayhem doesn't happen then something went wrong in the writing. And there better be dire consequences if the main character fails in their quest. Can also be parts of other genres like some of the following.

Fantasy - my favorite

All different kinds of mayhem can happen in fantasy novels. Magical mayhem could ensue, at times the rendering ones opponent unable to fight would work in this case, but also many others. War, destruction, death, glitter all over the place, and much more. This could include a group going out on an adventure to save a the world. Dire consequences ensue including possible end of all time depending on the series. Mayhem can increase the tension in a fantasy story, though still has to make sense within the story, of course.

Science Fiction - similar to the last two

Battle ships, aliens, military explosions, big blue creatures... all kinds of fun mayhem in science fiction. I don't read too much sci-fi reading but I do know it's a great outlet for mayhem. It may not be the magical elven type mayhem in a couple fantasy novels, but they have their own versions. But the tension creating crazy situations are useful.

Romance - bit different

Yes, romance can have chaos but it's a little different. Unless it's an action/romance there probably aren't going to be random bombs going off or sword fights (though depends on the story). What is keeping the couple from getting together? That can involve a little mayhem. Won't find much malicious injuring of people cause lets face it, that's not romantic. But through in a little chaos in the story, keep things interesting and things should work out in some way or another.

Finally, check out this. Allstate found an amusing use for mayhem, so apparently that dude is what mayhem would look like personified. Wonder if he'll be stereotyped as the mayhem man. lol

The real Mayhem starts in April. A to Z challenge and I'm doing 2 blogs. Woot!

What is your favorite genre and how do you think it uses mayhem?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Mayhem in Relation to Writing

Yep, it's Mayhem March as promised and for the first post I thought it good to discuss a general topic of what constitutes as "mayhem" and how that relates or can be used in writing.

Check out the image link, it's a fun sounding game full of mayhem, lol.

What is Mayhem?

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, there are two main definitions.
1. willful and permanent crippling, mutilation, or disfigurement of any part of the body. Also worded as, willful and permanent deprivation of a bodily member resulting in the impairment of a person's fighting ability.
2. needless or willful damage or violence.

Definition 2 is the one I'd imagine most of us, or at least it was for me, know. It is in relation to chaos, and in story writing can be used in order to keep from boring the reader/writer. In fact, one tip for writers when they are starting to get bored with their story is to throw in a little mayhem to get the ball rolling again. Boring is something we want to avoid, and it's really bad if the writer is bored by their own writing.

Mayhem can come in many forms.

The common known factor is the bomb (or any explosion). In a boring part of the novel, characters talking in a coffee shop but not much interesting going on yet they need to be there to move on to the next bit of action/suspense? Have a sudden explosion and see how they react. 

While a bomb/explosion is an obvious more visible sense of adding mayhem, it's not the only approach. I know a few writers who like to toss their characters in almost impossible situations and enjoys working on how they fight their way out. 

Some genres are better geared towards the adding of mayhem. Action/Adventure for example can easily add in an explosion (for example) and have it make sense within the story line. Whereas, a random literal bomb in a romance will most likely raise a lot of questioning eyebrows. Some Fantasy and Science Fiction are better suited for mayhem than others. 

While mayhem is known for not having a rhyme or reason in different situations, throwing something at random in a story without any form of connection has consequences, but we'll worry about that later.

That is Mayhem.

Anyone ever use definition 1?
What is Mayhem to you?