Thursday, March 18, 2010

Genre series kick-off

You know how yesterday I announced that I'd officially shelved Oracles Promise and would be moving on?  I mentioned that there were a lot of lessons to be learned from this experience.  I'm here today to start the journey of sharing one of them.

Genre.  I've been questioning lately what genre is really "my" genre.  I've read fantasy all my life.  For the most part.  I did read Austen's Pride and Prejudice at the wee age of 11.  (Yes, I waited a whole 6-7 years after reading my first book to read this classic masterpiece.) (Note, I'm being facetious about the years, not the status of Ms. Austen's book.)  Anyways.

This got me thinking.  What really goes into a genre?  Is there a better genre out there for me?  The first novel I wrote would likely be considered a romance.  Or metafiction.  Or both.  I don't know.  Which is why I am researching genres and will be sharing the information I glean from the internet with you all in a very nifty thing I am calling my genre series.  (Clever title, eh?)

So, I thought I'd set off my genre series with some general definitions and such things.  I'll get into specific genres over the coming weeks.  Just give me time to do the research.  (I'm thinking maybe only on Tuesdays so that I still have Thursdays to write about more timely things.)

This wikipedia article lists several criteria for defining genres.  I'll summarize here, but you can click through the link if you wish.

Truth of the main story or general setting; character's occupation; worldview of POV character; interest focus (character-based, plot-based, setting-based, etc.); setting; age range; author's age; realism vs. idealism.

Wikipedia, of course, says that the list is incomplete.  We all know this.  But how do we determine what else to add to the list?

Thanks to the internet, a vast amount of information is readily available.  (I won't attest to the accuracy of such information.)  Wikipedia also has a list of literary genres.

Absurdist, Adventure, Children's, Comic, Education fiction, Experimental, Historical, LGBT, Memoir, Metafiction, Nonfiction, Occupational, Philosophical, Political, Pulp, Religious, Saga, Speculative, Horror, Fantasy, Suspense, Western, Women's, Tragedy, Urban, Thriller.

Pretty much every one of these has a list of sub-genres.  Then there are the cross-genres.

I'll not be touching all of these in the coming weeks.  (There are just some I won't touch with a ten-foot pole.)  But I'll hit on some of the major ones.  We'll start next week, on Tuesday.  At this point I do hope to accompany each genre post with a list of examples (hopefully that I've read and can recommend.)

We'll see how that goes.  Hope you all enjoy this series that's coming up.  (Frankly, I'm hoping the same for myself.)


  1. Sounds cool. Great idea! I'll be checking back. :)

  2. I'm looking forward to your genre series!

  3. Cool idea! I've actually been struggling to find what genre my current WIP is in, so I'll be sure to check back on your series! :)

  4. This will be a help. Thank you!

  5. I hope I don't disappoint you all. I'll try not to. Thanks for stopping by everyone.

  6. Yes, you've got to find the genre for you, or you never feel truly at home when you're writing. Good luck!

  7. Amen. Hopefully this series and my next two projects help me find that.

  8. I gotta say, never ever query an agent saying your work is a metafiction novel. In my eye at least, metafiction is closer to a device than a genre. For example, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and the Thursday Next Series are metafiction, but no one would ever say that is their genre. I'd say SF/F; some prefer the broader-reaching speculative. Generally, the best books don't fit neatly into one genre, which is why authors often have difficulty labeling their work, but there is always a primary genre (and audience to go with it).


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