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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

 

Writing Projects and Inspiration…

October 22, 2015
mandyevebarnett


new idea

Our creativity can be inspired from the smallest word, picture or even a globally known news worthy article. Some of you will have read my short story – The Keys. (Oct 17th) The photo inspired the story.

What obscure stimulus has sparked an idea for you? 

As many of you know I am a free flow writer so apart from a vague idea where I want the story to go, it is a mystery to me. That is the thrill for me. It is an adventure I willingly travel with my characters. They lead and I follow with frantic typing. ‘Listening’ to my Muse enables me to create freely.

How do you approach new ideas? Frantic notes? Plot arc? Character descriptions?

No matter what system we use, an idea can grow exponentially once it takes hold. This is wonderful, of course, the only downfall being if we already have a bucketful of ideas already. I thought I was doing well submitting my western romance, Willow Tree Tears to a publisher and a short story, The Toymaker for a contest. However, my suspense novel nagged me to plunge back in and begin a fresh round of editing. So now I am embroiled with a protagonist on the run, hiding in the forest for The Giving Thief. After some months away from the story, I am enjoying getting to know this character again and enhancing his story.

editing

How long do you leave your writing before beginning revisions and edits?

Although, my plan for 2015 was to re-visit two previous projects and re-write, edit and revise them. Now I have this other story demanding to be written and it is impossible to resist. Added to that an idea for a children’s book formulated from a dream a month or so ago, which will require some foundation work. I have drawn one character, named a couple and know their environment.

Have you experienced a story unwilling to stay quiet?

Obviously, I will have to reschedule my plans and go with the flow. My older projects will have to wait a little longer but I am determined to get back to them.

author at work

What are your writing plans for the rest of 2015?

An Interview with Craig Boyack…

April 9, 2015
mandyevebarnett


Boyack

What inspired you to write your first book?

I started writing in the 1980s, but gave it up for family and fun. Then I got bored one winter, at 48 years of age, plus I had technology that surpassed anything in the 1980s. This one is a trunk novel today. It was a western steampunk story with ice age mammals running around.

My newest book is called Will O’ the Wisp. It’s the story of a teenage girl coming face to face with an ancient family curse.

WillOWisp

How did you come up with the title?

Will O’ the Wisp is a natural phenomenon, that has become a cryptid. It is a mysterious floating light. People all over the world made up legends about them, so I did too.

Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or unpublished)?

My first two novels are trunk novels that nobody will ever see. I have five books available on Amazon.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I can firmly answer no. I read to escape, and believe there are others out there like me. My stories are pure entertainment.

How much of the book is realistic?

The story takes place in the 1970s, and I went to great lengths to make sure it was an accurate reflection. (Anyone remember Quisp cereal, Montgomery Wards, International Harvester?) my main character, Patty, is fifteen. She has a love/hate relationship with her mother. She also has to face a few teenage coming of age moments. That part is realistic.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

They are not. I created the characters and tried to really get into them.

Arson

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I’m sure every author would. I believe there is a time to stop picking at it and set it free. I’m very happy with this story, and the reviewers appear to be too.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

This story is suitable for young adults. Not all of my tales are, but your own teenagers can enjoy this one too.

Panama

What is your favorite part/chapter of your book/project?

I’m really happy with the climax in this one. It stitched together some supernatural elements with a coming of age moment and a big dose of fear. It just worked out really well.

What is your favorite theme/genre to write?

I write speculative fiction, and don’t limit myself to one corner. My stories are science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. Will O’ the Wisp is a paranormal story.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

We never really think about it, but if a topic doesn’t interest me I won’t force a story. There are too many things that do interest me to worry about it.

Wild Concept

What book are you reading now?

As I type this, I’m between books. I have Beginning of a Hero, by Charles Yallowitz up next on my iPad. I may start it by the time this posts. I just finished Maplecroft by Cheri Priest.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Yes, and I’m loathe to name names. If I forget someone, I’ll hurt someone’s feelings. These are all indie authors, and I’m really cheering for them.

Do you see writing as a career?

In some kind of dream world, sure. The realities of the 21st Century are that I have a full time job. An FTJ with paid vacation, insurance, and retirement.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Hopefully, continuing to do the things I love. At 64 I expect to still be working, and putting out books.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

There is a huge learning curve here. I learn and adapt, just like anyone else. It’s part of what appeals to me about writing. Perfection cannot be attained, only improvement.

Have you ever hated something you wrote?

No. I like everything I’ve ever written. I’m a better writer today than I once was, but I still like my characters and stories.

What book do you wish you had written?

Jurassic Park.

What is your best marketing tip?

I wish I had one. Marketing is just so foreign to me. I think the best thing I can do is to write my next book. There is stability in volume, provided the product is good.

What genre is your next project? What is it about?

My next book is another paranormal piece with science fiction spicing. It’s about social media gone horribly wrong.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

I released Will O’ the Wisp yesterday, (as I’m typing this out). I’d rather focus on that. I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written so far. I’d really appreciate it if your readers would check it out.

How do we find your books, blog and bio?

Follow my blog: http://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com

Check out my novels here: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00ILXBXUY

Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/Virgilante

On Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9841203.C_S_Boyack

Will O’ the Wisp can be found at these sites:

Northern American Continent http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UPH6BNS

Rest of the world http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UQNDT2C

Thank you for the invitation, Mandy. It was a pleasure answering your questions. I’ll make sure to surf back through and participate in the comments.

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