The word blossom brings to mind a rosebud slowly unfurling, one tender petal at a time, until it turns to face the sun as a glorious, fragrant bloom. Of course, not all blooms are roses. The top ten ugly plants, according to the Daily Telegraph, include “the stinky squid” (first discovered in Pittsburgh), the corpse flower, the climbing onion (it looks like an elongated asparagus), plus a lot of things I’ve planted.
There is a place in the world for each of these blooms, maybe not an equal number of fans, but they nevertheless belong somewhere. Books are the same. Not every manuscript blooms into a lush pink flower, nor is it meant to. Because I feel like it, I’m going to match each genre to a kind of flower. Feel free to dispute my choices in the comments. I expect a lively debate. Without further adieu, here is my list…
Romance: A rose, planted on the property line between a scatter-brained interior designer and a Navy SEAL.
Women’s fiction: The lily, less obvious than the rose, and better for classy book covers.
Historical: Any dried arrangement.
Young adult: A prom corsage (any kind of flower), blood spattered, if it a mystery.
Paranormal: I don’t know, do vampires have gardens?
Horror: A corpse flower, up to fifty-four feet tall and stinking of death.
Hard boiled mystery: Self-seeding anything in the ditch outside the home of a divorced, alcoholic investigator.
Cozy Mystery: Anything on the garden tour. Caveat: the blooms must be fertilized by a recently planted corpse. I imagine the flowers will eventually end up in an evidence locker where a botany-minded investigator will test the petals for traces of poison.
Thriller: A vase of something that has been knocked on the floor by a stray bullet. Think exploded glass and scattered flowers. No one has time to pick them up.
Literary Fiction: Any type of flower can be literary, but unlike genre flowers, they are not available for purchase at the grocery store and you should probably use Latin names.
The unpublished: As writers, we all have our little menegaries of stray manuscripts, the ones we haven’t finished, the ones that never find a home. These are my favorite blooms. I’m a collector. If I had to represent these manuscripts in flower form, I’d say they are the ones in Morticia Addams’s conservatory. I love the scene when she lovingly mists all of her dead flowers. That’s me and all of my homeless manuscripts. If I were savvier I could probably find a gif.
On that note, here’s a picture of me revising my latest manuscript. I’ve been busy snipping away for the last month.
On bad days, it looks more like this:
I always wear tulle while writing.
Before I go back to deleting the life out of my manuscript, I have a book recommendation for flower lovers: Lauren Willig’s The Secret History of the Pink Carnation series. It has mystery (the secret identity of a famous spy), history, and lots of highbrow flirtation. For the purposes of this month’s discussion, it has some very pretty flowers on the cover.
Until next time,