Category Archives: literary genres

Genres of Literature – Picture Book


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A picture book combines visual and verbal narratives aimed at young children with the pictures being prominent rather than the text, which is written with vocabulary a child can understand but not necessarily read.  Therefore, picture books have two functions for children: firstly they are read to young children by adults, and then later children read them once they begin learning to read.

Well known children’s books include Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Dr. Seuss’ The Cat In The Hat, and Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are.

Which was your childhood favorite?

From the mid-1960’s several children’s literature awards have included a category for picture books. However, some picture books are published with content aimed at older children or even adults. Tibet: Through the Red Box, by Peter Sis, is one example of a picture book aimed at an adult audience.

My first published book was a picture book, Rumble’s First Scare. Not because it was easier but rather the subject matter appealed as a unique children’s story. The POV of a monster coming from underground on All Hallow’s Eve to ‘scare’ the children. However, Rumble is much too cute to be really scary. 

Rumble

Do you write children’s books? Care to share in the comments?

 

Genres of Literature – Non-Fiction


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Non-fiction or nonfiction is created, where the author assumes responsibility for the truth or accuracy of the events, people, or information presented within it. The subject of the book, either objectively or subjectively, deals with information, events, and people in a realistic way.

Although the narrative may or may not be accurate, the specific factual assertions and descriptions can give either a true or a false account of the subject in question. However, the author will genuinely believe or claim the narrative’s content to be truthful at the time of their composition or, they convince their audience it is historically or empirically factual. 

Nonfiction can also be literary criticism giving information and analysis on other works. And also informational text that deals with an actual, real-life subjects. This  offers opinions or conjectures on facts and reality. This genre includes biographies, history, essays, speech, and narrative non fiction. 

Common examples are expository, argumentative, functional and opinion pieces, essays on art or literature, memoirs, and journalism as well as historical, scientific, technical or economical narratives.

As a writer my favorite non-fiction book is On Writing by Stephen King. (No surprise there as he is my literary hero!)

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How about you? 

Which non-fiction book is your favorite?

Genres of Literature – Varsity or Campus Novel


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Although these two ‘titles’ are dependent on subject rather than genre, I have merged them into one. As you can see the definitions are very alike.

In a varsity or campus novel, the main action is set in and around the campus of a university.  The varsity novel focuses on the students rather than faculty, while the campus novel centers on the faculty. The novels are told from the viewpoint of a faculty member or, of course from a student’s point of view. The novels can be comic or satirical and often counterpoint intellectual pretensions and human weaknesses. These narrative are also called academic novels. The novels exploit the fictional possibilities created by the closed environment of the university, with idiosyncratic characters inhabiting unambiguous hierarchies. They may describe the reaction of a fixed socio-cultural perspective (the academic staff) to new social attitudes (the new student intake).

This genre is largely an Anglophone tradition. Mary McCarthy’s The Groves of Academe (1952)  is usually thought to be the first campus novel. However there are others predating that. Examples include Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, Tom Sharpe’s Porterhouse Blue and Stephen Fry’s The Liar and Making History. 

Although the genre may seem limited because of the location, there are numerous characters to utilize with their backgrounds, personalities and ambitions enabling an author to create dozens of possibilities.

Do you have a varsity novel favorite?

Brideshead Revisited is mine by far, with it’s social expectations and damaging secrets.

 

 

 

 

Genres of Literature – Speeches


 

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It can be argued that speeches are not strictly a literary genre, however a speechwriter requires the same writing skills and experience in formulating a well structured and informative speech for a diverse range of people as a non-fiction author covering a specific topic.

The definition is: a speechwriter is someone hired to prepare and write speeches that will be delivered by another person. They are employed by a variety of people, such as senior-level elected officials and executives in the government as well as in the private sector. They can also be employed to write for weddings and other social  occasions. Speechwriters specialize in a writing style that merges marketing, theater, public relations, sales, education and politics all in one presentation.

The actual process of writing a speech has several steps. Initially, they need to meet with the executive and the executive’s senior staff to determine the broad framework of points or messages that the executive wants to cover in the speech.  With this information they will then research the topic to flesh out this framework with anecdotes and examples. They must also consider the audience for the speech, which can range from a town-hall meeting of community leaders to an international leaders’ forum. Once this framework is created, the speechwriter blends the points, themes, positions, and messages from their research to create an “informative, original and authentic speech” for the executive. This draft is then presented to the client and the executive (or the executive’s staff) make notes, revisions or changes to it. If the speechwriter is familiar with the topic and the positions and style of the executive, only small changes may be required.

Credit for speeches is mainly contributed to the person making it rather than the speechwriter, much like a ghost writer. Their name may never appear in public or a credit given on paper. However, a good speechwriter will be known for their work in select circles, such as in a government setting.

Have you written speeches? 
Was it for a person setting or for a client?

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Genres of Literature – Slipstream


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Slipstream can be defined as a kind of fantastic or non-realistic fiction that crosses conventional genre boundaries between science fiction, fantasy, and literary fiction. The term was coined by Bruce Sterling, a cyberpunk author: “… this is a kind of writing which simply makes you feel very strange; the way that living in the twentieth century makes you feel, if you are a person of a certain sensibility.”

Slipstream fiction is “the fiction of strangeness” in which cognitive dissonance is at the heart of the story inducing a sense of ‘otherness’ in the audience, like a glimpse into a distorting mirror and imparts a sense that reality might not be quite as certain as we think. 

Slipstream narratives do not always employ elements of science fiction or fantasy, as they are not crucial to the plot, but provide setting and background. The common unifying factor is a degree of the surreal, the not-entirely-real, or the markedly anti-real.

It is certainly a little known genre to the mainstream reader but does have a loyal following. If you are interested in reading this genre here is a list: http://www.flashlightworthybooks.com/Best-Slipstream-Books/525