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Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – #AuthorToolboxBlogHop – Define a Genre for Your Narrative

February 20, 2020
mandyevebarnett


genre-picture-2Being aware of your genre can help you contextualize your story but remember—just because you may have been writing towards a certain kind of genre, it may not mean that’s what your story actually is.

Common Genres include:

  • Thriller –built around the fast-paced pursuit of a life-or-death goal.
  • Fantasy – typified by fantastic aspects, such as magic.
  • Sci-fi – Sometimes called ‘speculative’ fiction. Fiction typified by scientific aspects, such as nonexistent technology or alternative realities.
  • Horror – instilling dread or fear in the reader. Sometimes but not always featuring supernatural aspects.
  • Mystery – solving of a mysterious set of circumstances.
  • Crime – typified by a focus on criminal activities.
  • Historical – set within a defined time period but drawing context from the cultural understanding of that time.
  • Western – typified by aspects of the American frontier.
  • Romance –focuses on a romantic relationship as the source of its drama.
  • Erotica – primarily intended to instill arousal in the reader.
  • Literary – focuses on realistic, weighty issues, typified by character-focused writing and a lack of other genre features.
  • Adventure Story
    A genre of fiction in which action is the key element, overshadowing characters, theme and setting. … The conflict in an adventure story is often man against nature. A secondary plot that reinforces this kind of conflict is sometimes included.
  • Biographical Novel
    A life story documented in history and transformed into fiction through the insight and imagination of the writer. This type of novel melds the elements of biographical research and historical truth into the framework of a novel, complete with dialogue, drama and mood. A biographical novel resembles historical fiction, save for one aspect: Characters in a historical novel may be fabricated and then placed into an authentic setting; characters in a biographical novel have actually lived.
  • Ethnic Fiction
    Stories and novels whose central characters are black, Native American, Italian American, Jewish, Appalachian or members of some other specific cultural group. Ethnic fiction usually deals with a protagonist caught between two conflicting ways of life: mainstream American culture and his ethnic heritage.
  • Fictional Biography
    The biography of a real person that goes beyond the events of a person’s life by being fleshed out with imagined scenes and dialogue. The writer of fictional biographies strives to make it clear that the story is, indeed, fiction and not history.
  • Gothic
    This type of category fiction dates back to the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Contemporary gothic novels are characterized by atmospheric, historical settings and feature young, beautiful women who win the favor of handsome, brooding heroes—simultaneously dealing successfully with some life-threatening menace, either natural or supernatural. Gothics rely on mystery, peril, romantic relationships and a sense of foreboding for their strong, emotional effect on the reader.
  • Historical Fiction – story set in a recognizable period of history. As well as telling the stories of ordinary people’s lives, historical fiction may involve political or social events of the time.
  • Horror – includes certain atmospheric breathless and unexplainable dread of outer, unknown forces.
  • Juvenile – intended for an audience usually between the ages of two and sixteen. The language must be appropriate for the age of the reader, the subject matter must be of interest to the target age group, the opening of the work must be vivid enough to capture the reader’s attention and the writing throughout must be action-oriented enough to keep it with the use of suspense and the interplay of human relationships. Categories are usually divided in this way: (1) picture and storybooks (ages two to nine)… ; (2) easy-to-read books (ages seven to nine)… ; (3) “middle-age” [also called “middle grade”] children’s books (ages eight to twelve)… ; (4) young adult books (ages twelve to sixteen.
  • Literary Fiction vs. Commercial Fiction
    Literary, or serious, fiction, style and technique are often as important as subject matter. Commercial fiction is written with the intent of reaching as wide an audience as possible. It is sometimes called genre fiction because books of this type often fall into categories, such as western, gothic, romance, historical, mystery and horror.
  • Mainstream Fiction – transcends popular novel categories—mystery, romance or science fiction, [etc.] and is called mainstream fiction. Using conventional methods, this kind of fiction tells stories about people and their conflicts but with greater depth of characterization, background, etc. than the more narrowly focused genre novels.
  • Nonfiction Novel – real events and people are written [about] in novel form but are not camouflaged and written in a novelistic structure.
  • Popular Fiction
    Generally, a synonym for category or genre fiction; i.e., fiction intended to appeal to audiences for certain kinds of novels. … Popular, or category, fiction is defined as such primarily for the convenience of publishers, editors, reviewers and booksellers who must identify novels of different areas of interest for potential readers.
  • Psychological Novel
    A narrative that emphasizes the mental and emotional aspects of its characters, focusing on motivations and mental activities rather than on exterior events.
  • Roman a Clef
    The French term for “novel with a key.” This type of novel incorporates real people and events into the story under the guise of fiction.
  • Romance Novel – the romance novel is a type of category fiction in which the love relationship between a man and a woman pervades the plot.
  • Romantic Suspense Novel – romantic suspense novel is a modern emergence of early gothic writing and differs from traditional suspense novels because it moves more slowly and has more character interplay and psychological conflict than the fast-paced violence of [most] suspense thrillers.
  • Science Fiction [vs. Fantasy]
    Science fiction can be defined as literature involving elements of science and technology as a basis for conflict, or as the setting for a story.
  • Techno-Thriller – utilizes many of the same elements as the thriller, with one major difference. In techno-thrillers, technology becomes a major character.
  • Thriller – intended to arouse feelings of excitement or suspense focusing on illegal activities, international espionage, sex and violence.
  • Young Adult – refers to books published for young people between the ages of twelve and seventeen.

Do real research, describe aesthetic/tone/vibe over content, and be open to adjusting your decision down the line as you grow more accustomed to working with genres.

genre

Genre is different from age group

Genre isn’t the age group you’re writing for.  Age group and genre are often said together, so it’s easy to think they’re the same, but they’re not. For example: Young adult is the age group – Spy and thriller are the genres.

The primary age groups are:

– Board books: Newborn to age 3
– Picture books: Ages 3–8
– Colouring and activity books: Ages 3–8
– Novelty books: Ages 3 and up, depending on content
– Early, levelled readers: Ages 5–9
– First chapter books: Ages 6–9 or 7–10
– Middle-grade books: Ages 8–12
– Young adult (YA) novels: Ages 12 and up or 14 and up

Choose a primary genre

When you pick your primary genre, you’re identifying the most prominent elements of your book. Ask the following questions.

You may have a handful of these elements in your book but when picking a primary genre focus on the most dominant aspects of your novel.

Is there magic?

If the answer is yes, then your book is most likely a fantasy. Is it set it in a fictional world that you created from scratch (like Lord of the Rings)? Then you probably have a high fantasy. Or is it built into our own world? If so it is most likely an urban fantasy.

Is it a fairy tale or a fairy tale retelling then you might want to classify your book as such.

Are there paranormal creatures (such as vampires, zombies, etc.)?

If there are, then it could be a fantasy, or it could be a supernatural/paranormal. Fantasy and paranormal are closely related and share some overlap, so it comes down to what is the more dominant element. If the magic is the more dominant element, then you have a fantasy. If the creatures are the more dominant element, then it’s supernatural.

When is it set?

If it’s set in the past, it’s probably a historical fiction. If it’s set in the present, you’ve got a contemporary and if it’s set in the future, it’s probably science fiction.

Where is it set?

If it’s set in this world, it might be a historical or contemporary. If it’s set in a world you made up, it might be some kind of fantasy or science fiction.

Is there manipulated science/technology?

If you are using significant manipulation of the science, we know today it’s likely to be science fiction. If you have time travel, then you could consider it science fiction.

Is there an element of mystery/crime to solve?

If the main purpose of your plot is mystery, then this is the genre you will use.

Is it laugh-out-loud funny?

If it is, then you’ve got a comedy

Is it a tear-jerker or a book with a lot of interpersonal conflicts?

Then it’s probably some form of drama.

Is there a romance?

Use the romance genre when the central plot of the book is a romantic relationship.

Is it intended to scare?

Then you’ve got a horror.

Is it “literary”?

If it’s a deep book, rich with symbolism and deeper meaning that’s meant to be dissected an analyzed than you most likely have written a work of literary fiction.

Is it action packed?

If your book is littered with action scenes like fights and car chases, then you have an action or thriller on your hands.

Is it about a terrible version of this world?

Then you’re looking at a dystopian.

Now decide which elements you think are the strongest/most prominent. That’s your primary genre.

Do your research

Make sure you do your research and have a good understanding of genre conventions. Readers of each genre have certain expectations. While you can most definitely take some liberties, you want to make sure you’re giving your readers what they’re looking for.

Note*** I did a series of posts throughout 2018 detailing every genre if you want to scroll through put ‘genres’ in the search box.***

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop

 

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Why I Write in Multiple Genres & Reincarnation Book Review

February 4, 2020
mandyevebarnett


fantasysubgenres_reduced

When I am asked about the stories I write, one question arises quite often. Why do you write in multiple genres instead of just one?

To answer this is not as simple as it first appears. It is linked to my process of writing. I allow the story to evolve as I write and do not steer it in any specific direction. Enjoying where the characters take me is, for me, the best part of writing. I may have an idea what the story is going to be about but more often than not, it diverts into another direction – many times to somewhere I have not thought of. There are many writers that need a lot more structure to their writing, such as complete plot notes from start to finish and I admire that but it is not something I can do. It stalls my creativity. Once the first draft is written then I begin refining the narrative and decide on the genre it suits best.

For example, my Edmonton Best Seller, The Twesome Loop began as a light-hearted romance with a few characters finding their soulmate. However, the complexity of writing in two time periods required a significant amount of detail to be incorporated to allow my readers to understand the backgrounds and personality traits of these people from their past lives to the present. Other secondary characters also began to take on a life of their own and the subsequent narrative follows several love stories intertwined with the main characters.

Clickety Click

https://www.amazon.ca/Clickety-Click-Mandy-Eve-Barnett/dp/1927510856

In my YA novella, Clickety-Click, I had what I though was a definite plot arc but young Alice, the central character and the circumstances of her finding out about her true self went in a surprising direction. It still deals with self discovery and self confidence but also has a twist that I hope will delight the reader.

As a reader what captures you about a book?

Do you prefer one genre over another?

111Reincarnation themed

Past Presence by Nicole Bross

42856212Absolutely loved this book! Well crafted characters, a sense of place and a great plot, I didn’t guess the culprit! Woven with regression tales, which is an interest of mine it has wonderful elements in the story to propel you onward.
Can’t wait for the next book, Nicole.

What book have you just reviewed?

 

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Public Speaking & Interview Practice

January 23, 2020
mandyevebarnett


Jan 2017

One of the additional skills, writers need is public speaking. This can be a nerve wracking thought let alone practice for the ‘new’ author. There will be author readings and interviews as you promote your book, so knowing how to read from the narrative and talk about the story is important.

Here are a few tips that can help make reading your novel in public easier, once you have the booking.

Author Reading

  • Visit the venue (if possible) to become familiar with the layout. Ask staff where the reading will take place and if you will have a podium or a chair and table.
  • When choosing what to read chose a short section with dialogue and action. The opening line should be a hook that says something about the book and hopefully intrigues the audience. Choose excerpts of varying lengths and with varying appeal.
  • Practice in front of a mirror, ask a friend to sit and listen or video yourself. Notice where you hesitate and read the passage over and over until you know it well. 
  • Once you are confident in the piece practice looking up to engage with the audience instead of having your head down buried in the pages.
  • As you practice the segment use inflection to elevate the language and avoid a monotone speech.
  • Practice your reading aiming to be shorter than the time allowed.  Using a timer will help keep you on track.
  • On the day of the reading, arrive early so you can relax and arrange your books for sale in a display.
  • Ask someone to tweet and record your reading for later promotions.
  • Once you have read your piece thank everyone for attending and mention your books are available for sale.

Interview

There are several options for interviews, prerecorded, live and via social media. Preparation is important so ask as many questions as possible from the host prior to the interview. If possible have a list of the questions they will ask, this is not always possible but they should be able to furnish you with a framework for the interview. 

  • Make sure you are dressed appropriately, smart but casual.
  • Have your book(s) with you and memorize the blurb.
  • Know the back story, the protagonist’s motivations, and the genre of the book. This may sound irrelevant but refreshing your knowledge will make the interview more polished. You don’t want to be stumbling with your answers.
  • Prior to the interview relax with some deep breathing and curb your nerves.
  • Keep eye contact with your host but also the camera (if relevant) so you are engaging the audience.

Here are some interviews I have done to give you an idea.

TV Interview on Arts Talk – 7th December 2011 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtIz3amV_HI   Go to 8.22 on the time bar.

TV Interview n Arts Talk: Talking about Clickety Click and my other books on Arts Talk TV show – go to 11.04 on the timeline. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNl7Db_jGaQ&feature=youtube

Online for Authors Video Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfpGTAlbd2s&t=10s

Newspaper Interview:

www.sherwoodparknews.com/news/local-news/local-author-pens-fantasy-novella-sequel

15 Nov 2019 interview

 

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – What Makes You Choose a Book?

January 14, 2020
mandyevebarnett


We all have specific tastes in literature, which equates to the genres we mainly read, but there is another reason that a book can catch our interest – something that fascinates us. Obviously, the list is vast and always changing as we grow older, gain life experiences and even move location, whether to a new town or country. These underlining interests can even stem from childhood. For instance, I was taught about the natural world around me and the globe from an early age and I enjoy books that encompass that. My children’s book, Ockleberries to the Rescue is set in a forest, where magical sprites help their woodland animal friends. 

Ockleberries

I also became intrigued with reincarnation and life after death after experiencing several incidences while nursing. My favorite novel uses this topic as it’s basis. Ferney by James Long is a book, I reread regularly not just because of the reincarnation element but also because it is beautifully written and I love the characters. 

I recently found two books, with this topic. Past Presence by Nicole Bross and River of Destiny  by Babara Erskine. They are spellbinding stories and well written.

I also used reincarnation in my own novel, The Twesome Loop where four characters meet their past souls in modern day. It is a romance that begins in England but culminates in a beautiful Italian villa.

amazonfullcovertwesomeloop

What guides you to specific genres?

Do you seek out books that use a certain topic or theme?

I would love to hear about them.

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Book Reviews

January 7, 2020
mandyevebarnett


111

As readers we enjoy a well written and absorbing story and know only too well the agony of finishing a good book – the book hangover. The character’s can remain with us for days, weeks or even months afterwards. If we are lucky to know there will be sequel’s, we must be patient and wait for the next installment but sometimes the tale is a one off, leaving the characters to remain in the ether and our minds.

There is one request all author’s ask and it is for a review. Now for some reader’s this simple request brings with it a strong nervousness or even stress. They ask themselves – Where do I write a review? Well, there are numerous options: Amazon, Smashwords, Goodreads or even directly to the author via their social media or blog. No matter which avenue you choose, the author will be forever grateful, knowing you enjoyed their narrative and the many hours, weeks, months and years they toiled to bring you that story were not in vain.

The next question is the one that makes many readers despair and decide not to leave a review. How do I write a review? Many think a review needs to be a long, lengthy in-depth summary of the book and that is certainly not the case. A simple one line sentence saying you enjoyed the narrative, the characters, the location or that it moved you in some way is all that is required.

Now for the question that is even more tricky. What if I didn’t like the book? Obviously, we can’t love every single book we read but we don’t have to be mean about reviewing it either. If a book doesn’t please you then maybe just a short sentence telling the author this particular book of theirs didn’t move you but always find something nice to say. Maybe the location was well described, one character remained you of a relative or friend, you enjoyed the plot idea, anything to show the author their worth. We authors are a sensitive bunch.

Would you make a pledge to review every book you read this year along with me?

hand-on

I have a Goodreads profile so feel free to follow me. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477059.Mandy_Eve_Barnett

I also set a reading challenge on Goodreads each year. It is a fun way of ensuring I read more books and hopefully can exceed the goal.

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