Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Knowing Your Genre

Do you feel as if you know your genre? Do you feel as if you're grasping at straws when you write, hoping that what you put out in the fantasy, Christian fiction, or YA genre is correct? Do you hope you are doing it right?

Photo by: Ben Oh, courtesy of Flickr

Straw grasping may work for getting a soda at the local McDonald's, but it doesn't work when you're trying to create a real world on another planet without having read any other fantasy authors who have dealt with the subject.

What about writing YA, when you have a difficult time relating to teenagers? What if you're unaware of the current lingo or concerns today's teenagers are facing?

What if you're writing a historical fiction book without doing any research?

Writing a mystery novel is different from writing even a fantasy novel.

And writing for children is different from writing for adults.

If you're feeling a little shaky....

1. Learn from novelists that write in your genre. That means reading their books and taking their classes.

2. Take time out to smell the roses. If you don't have children of your own and want to write for this age group, for example, offer to do some babysitting, make some time to go to a park and observe, take a visit to the zoo. Ask questions of your nieces of nephews. Take them overnight.

3. Study. Study the craft of writing as well as the genre in which you want to write.

4. Practice. You may find through your writing that what you thought was your strong point (general fiction) is in fact (fantasy). You learn what you're good at by writing and that includes writing exercises and writing prompts.

5. Don't guess. If you're not sure what the capitol of Oregon is, don't guess. Look it up.

6. Have readers who read your genre on a regular basis read your book before it goes to print. Listen to their concerns. Makes some editing decisions to improve your work.
Photo by: panduh, courtesy of Flickr

Above all, don't give up. Knowing your genre is a bit like knowing how to mow the lawn or weed the garden. It takes some training, dedication and experience to turn the average, stumbling effort into something truly beautiful.

1 comment:

  1. I've read most of the popular books in my genre-self help or educational how tos...got registered with goodreads and book goodies. Slow going but some progress...with marketing


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