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Understanding Your Genre; Why You Need To and What Happens When You Don’t

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Have you ever had a hard time figuring out what genre your story fits into? Or, maybe you know the genre of your story, but you don’t know how to structure it. Perhaps your book keeps switching from one genre to the next depending on which chapter you’re writing. If genre is feeling a bit hazy for you, or if you just want to understand it better then this week’s picks are for you:

#1: Tinker, Tailor, Wizard, Spy: The Joys (And Dangers) of Blending Genre Elements

W.L. Goodwater states, “When readers browse the genre shelves at the bookstore, they are looking to sign a contract with the writer: I, the undersigned, will purchase and read this book, but only under the following terms. Writing genre is not simply about meeting readers’ expectations, but managing them.” And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why understanding genre is so important.

#2: Mixing Genres Is All About Messing with Structure

Stuart Turton explains about the structure of different genres and how he was able to get his stories to fit snuggly within the right ones. While he specifically mentions genres like mystery, time-travel and sci-fi, his methods of fixing his stories could work for any writer, no matter your genre of choice.

#3: A Taxonomy of Nonfiction; Or the Pleasures of Precision

As an assistant professor of creative writing, Karen Babine explains in detail, genre, subgenre, form, mode and shape of nonfiction writing. Ever thought about writing a memoir, or essay? Consider this article as your basic 101 course.

#4: Genre Labels: What Makes A Book More Thriller Than Sci-Fi?

Writing a sci-fi thriller? This article lists five main points about how to scrutinize your story and determine where it falls on the spectrum between science fiction and thriller. You’ll know exactly what you need to change to balance your story correctly within these two genres.

#5: Writing a Genre That’s New to You

A short read and to the point about how to get started writing in a new genre that you’ve never written in before. Or, perhaps you’ve only toyed with the idea, but haven’t been brave enough to try it yet. According to the author, Greer Macallister, “No one can stop you from writing in a new genre but you.”

#6: In Psychological Thrillers, The Abyss Stares Back

This article is an interesting and even freaky example of how writing and the genre you choose to write in can mirror your own life, without you even realizing it. The uncanny experience of author Sebastian Fitzek and his not-so fictional story shows firsthand how our lives can bleed into our work, thus giving us a new perspective of our own past and how it has shaped our present.

Happy week, and happy writing to you all.

Until next time,


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