Tag Archives: literary genres

Genres of Literature – Biography


Biography_Word

A biography, commonly known as a bio, is defined as a detailed description of a person’s life. Rather than dealing with the basic facts of the subject’s life like education, work, relationships, and death; it portrays a person’s experience with life events, presenting a subject’s life story, with highlights of various aspects of his or her life, including intimate details of experience, and may even include an analysis of the subject’s personality.

Biography’s are usually non-fiction in nature but fiction can sometimes be used to portray the subject’s life. One form of biographical coverage is called legacy writing that deals with in-depth research. 

At first, biographical writings were merely a subsection of history focusing on a particular individual of historical importance. The independent genre of biography began emerging in the 18th century reaching its contemporary form at the turn of the 20th century. Biographical research as defined by Miller is a research method of collecting and analyzing a person’s whole life, or on occasion a portion of their life. This is accomplished through the in-depth and unstructured interviews, or even by semi-structured interview or personal documents. In short the research can come from “oral history, personal narrative, biography and autobiography” or “diaries, letters, memoranda and other materials.

There are two types of biography:

  1. Authorized biography which is written with the permission, cooperation, and at times, participation of a subject or a subject’s heirs.
  2. An autobiography which is written by the person himself or herself, sometimes with the assistance of a collaborator or ghostwriter.

The idea of writing our own biography is a daunting one for most of us and knowing where and how to start can be the main stumbling block for many. What to put in and what to leave out!

With other members of my writing group, I helped produce a memoir writing guide, which gives pointers on how to collect and compile artifacts, photos, letters etc. into a themed collection enabling you to format and theme your memoir/biography.

YourLifetimeOfStories

http://www.wfscsherwoodpark.com/fp/your-lifetime-stories

The practical suggestions included in the pages of this book will suggest to you ways you can identify, record, and organize your collection of memories so you can begin to write your stories. It is not a how to write but a how to begin workbook. 

Have you thought of writing your biography?

What would the title be?

 

Genres of Literature – Meta-Fiction


metafiction

Metafiction is a form of literature  where the author deliberately emphasizes its  constructiveness that continually reminds the reader to be aware that he or she is reading or viewing a fictional work as the author self-consciously alludes to the artificiality or literariness of a work by parodying or departing from novelistic conventions and traditional narrative techniques.

Metafiction is  commonly associated with postmodern literature, however it can be traced back to much earlier works,  such as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1387) Miguel de Cevantes’ Don Quixote (1605) and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. (1954-1955. It became prominent in the 1960’s with such tales as John Fowles’ The French Lieutenant’s Woman and Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49.

There are four variations:

Explicit/Implicit metafiction is identified by its use of clear metaficiton elements within the text quoting its own artificiality. For example, the narrator explains the story they are telling.
With Implicit metafiction rather than commenting on the text, it foregrounds the medium or its status as an artifact through various, such as disruptive techniques like metalepsis. Relying on the reader’s ability to recognize these devices to evoke a metafictional reading. Implicit metafiction is described as a mode of showing.

Direct/Indirect metafiction in contrast consists of metareferences external to it’s text, such as reflections/parodies and general discussions of aesthetic issues on specific other literary works or genres. 

Critical/Non-critical metafiction is more frequently found in postmodernist fiction aiming to find the artificiality or fictionality of a text in some critical way. However, non-critical metafiction does not criticize or undermine the artificiality or fictionality of a text and can be used to “suggest that the story one is reading is authentic”.

Generally media-centered/truth- or fiction-centered metafiction deals with the medial quality of fiction or narrative but in some cases there is an additional focus on the truthfulness or inventiveness of a text, which merits mention as a specific form. The suggestion of a story being authentic would be an example of truth-centered metafiction.

Were you aware that the great tomes above were metafiction?

Have you written this genre? Care to share?  

 

Genres of Literature – Fan-fiction


 

fanfic_logo

 

The definition of fan fiction or fanfiction is stories created by fans of original works of fiction rather than the original creator. Since the advent of the Internet it has become a popular form of fan labor. It is not commissioned or usually authorized by the original work’s creator or publisher, and is rarely professionally published but rather qualifies under ‘fair use’. Attitudes differ by the original authors and copyright owners of these original works to fan fiction ranging from indifference to encouragement to rejection. Copyright owners have occasionally responded with legal action.The term “fan fiction” came into use in the 20th century. 

Fan fiction is both related to its subject’s canonical fictional universe and simultaneously existing outside it. Most fan fiction writers work is  primarily read by other fans, such as Spockanalia (1967) based on Star Trek, which was mailed to other fans or sold at science fiction conventions. It is interesting to know that women dominated fan fiction initially in 1970 by 83% and increasing to 905 in 1973. Due to the accessibility of the Internet it is estimated fab fiction comprises one third of all content in regards to books. In 1998 the site Fanfiction.Net came online allowing anyone to upload any fandome content onto it’s not-for-profit platform. This practice came to be known as ‘pulling-to-publish’. In 2013 Amazon.com established Kindle Worlds enabling certain licensed media properties to be sold in their kindle store. The terms included 35% of net sales for 10,000 word plus or 20% for short fiction from 5,000 – 10,000 words but with restrictions on content, copyright and poor formatting.

 

Around 1960-1970 in Japan dōjinshi began appearing where independently published manga and novels, (known as dōjinshi), were frequently published by dōjin circles. Many were based on existing manga, anime, and video game franchises. 

Today there are a multitude of fan fiction internet sites for all sorts of genres from comic heroes to romantic couples to TV shows. It is a growing ‘genre’ and a vehicle for many authors to showcase their work.

Have you written fan fiction? 

What or who was your subject?

Why did you decide to write fan fiction?

Genres of Literature – Superhero Fiction


superhero-text-effect

Superhero fiction originated in American comic books, although its popularity quickly expanded into other media through adaptations and original works.

It examines the adventures, personality and ethics of a costumed crime fighter, commonly known as a superhero, possessing superhuman powers, who has the desire or need to help the citizens of their chosen country or world by using their powers to defeat natural or super powered threats. They battle similarly powered criminals, referred to as super villains. The super heroes involve themselves (either intentionally or accidentally) with science fiction and fact, including advanced technologies, alien worlds, time travel, and inter-dimensional travel; but the standards of scientific plausibility are lower than with actual science fiction.

Superheroes sometimes combat other threats such as aliens, magical/fantasy entities, natural disasters, political ideologies such as Nazism or communism and godlike or demonic creatures. Super villains may not have actual physical, mystical, superhuman or super alien powers, but often possesses a genius intellect that allows them to draft complex schemes or create fantastic devices.

Both opposing characters have secret identities or alter egos, but for different reasons. The superhero hides their true identity from enemies and the public to protect those close to them from harm and to some extent problems that are not serious enough for them to become involved in. In contrast a super villain keeps their identity secret to conceal their crimes enabling them to act freely and illegally without risk of arrest.

Who is your favorite superhero?

Have you written a superhero story/novel? Care to share?

A good friend of mine wrote this superhero novel, which has a fantastic twist. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Powerless-J-McKnight/dp/1927510848

Powerless

 

 

 

 

Genres of Literature – Folklore


folk1

 

Folk literature is the culmination of folktales passed down through generations and then written down. It includes myths, legends, epics, fables, ballads and folktales. The authors of the traditional literature are usually unknown or unidentifiable.

These tales are largely about animals and people, of cultural myths, jokes, songs, tales, and even quotes and often take on the characteristics of the time and place in which they are set.  In short they describe a culture, which has been preserved by verbal telling. Folklore is also known as “folk literature,” or “oral traditions.”

The main purpose of folklore was to convey in an easy way a moral lesson, present useful information and everyday life lessons for common people, who were illiterate. The tales tended to sugarcoat hard life lessons giving the audience pointers about how they should behave. It is one of the best mediums to pass on living culture or traditions to future generations.

Currently, many forms of folk literature have been transformed into books and manuscripts, which we see in the forms of novels, histories, dramas, stories, lyrical poems, and sermons. Folk literature is not merely a carrier of cultural values, it is also an expression of self-reflection. It serves as a platform to hold high moral ground without any relevance to present day reality. Instead, writers use it as a commentary or satire on current political and social reality. In the modern academic world, folklore’s and folktales are studied to understand ancient literature and civilizations.

For example, Rudyard Kipling was keenly interested in folklore, he wrote many English works based on folklore such as, Rewards and Fairies and Puck of Pook’s Hill. His experiences in the Indian environment led him to create several works about Indian themes and tradition. His most popular work, The Jungle Book, consists of plenty of stories about traditional folktales.

What is your favorite folktale?

Have you written a story based on folklore?