1. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    What genre do you write?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by bluebell80, Aug 15, 2009.

    I'm just curious. I've been looking through different publishing houses who allow open unsolicited manuscripts and got to thinking about writing specific genres.

    I tend to bounce across all different genre lines in different stories I write. Sometimes they might be more general fiction, sometimes thrillers, sometimes sci-fi/fantasy, sometimes historical...but right now I feel like I'm on a horror kick. Everything I think of is somehow dark, scary, and a little morbid. Not that I'm much of a dark person, quite the optimist actually.

    I notice how a lot of publishers shy away from straight genre, but what really defines a genre? Is it the overall plot? Is it the writing itself and use of language? Is it the theme? The characters? I realize there's a pretty bold line between what general fiction and sci-fi/fantasy is (generally sci-fi/fantasy doesn't happen on our world, includes magic, unknown science, aliens, creatures, beings of non human origins.) But like romance, what is the difference between a general fiction with romance in it, or a straight "romance MM book?" What the difference between a thrilling general fiction novel and a genre thriller?

    I'm not really asking a question for myself, like what genre am I writing? .... but just some general genre questions. And: What do you write most of, a specific genre or general fiction type stories?
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i just write whatever begs to be written... i have never considered genre before writing anything...
     
  3. Tall and Weird
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    Tall and Weird New Member

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    I tend to write the fantastical rather than the realistic, the whimiscal rather than the gritty, but I work on whatever pops into my head whether or not it adheres to my tendencies so I suppose that I don't have a genre.

    A genre is a broad category that attempts to define a book simply by its subject matter. A horror novel has horror, a science fiction book has crazy science, a romance one has kissing, a fantasy story has magic.

    Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your point of view, placing any story into a genre can only be done in general. Once you get into specifics every story can fit into any number of genres and the differences between them, as far a genres go, becomes nothing more than an arbitrary decision on the part of the publishers.

    Still, saying that, a romance will have more kissing than monsters and a scifi book will have science over magic.

    I guess what I'm saying is that if you limit yourself to any particular genre you might be shortchanging your story.
     
  4. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    I am trying to write a fantasy...

    I enjoy writing all sorts though
     
  5. Dr. Doctor
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    Dr. Doctor Contributing Member

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    The difference between genre fiction and general fiction is just that genre fiction follows a format and general fiction can be...well, general! I'm no expert on this stuff, but yeah, like the others said, general fiction is any kind of fiction the human mind can come up with, no restraints. A thrilling general fiction novel is just that, one that is thrilling, without necessarily having the same traits as a specifically horror/thriller/mystery book. It could be a mystery set in space, or in a fantasy world, and still be thrilling.

    I write gritty, realistic type stuff. I enjoy creating human fiction with twists and kick-ass action and all kinds of other elements from romance to horror. My current project is a fiction story that incorporates just about everything outside of fantasy or science fiction in its repertoire of thrilling madness. It's fun to have so few boundaries in what I can do.
     
  6. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Genre fiction has a lot of rules (beats) that must be met. In a romance, the heroin or hero has to be sexy, rich, preferably one rich and one not. They have to meet early on in the story. There must be a lot of sexual tension between them. That is they must want to be together but can't be together, or in the beginning, she is attracted to him, but she doesn't think he is her type, perhaps she thinks he is a jerk. They must get together at the end.

    The plot must never take up more time or attention than the developing romance.

    All genres have these beats to them. The best way to learn what those beats are is reading genre novels. There are books on genre writing as well.
     
  7. murphcas
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    murphcas Member

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    I tend to stick to fantasy and teen because that's what I read the most and what I'm really interested in. I think it would be hard writing something you're not really into.
     
  8. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I write everything except westerns, and historical, but I mainly stick to horror, romance, sci-fi, fantasy, adventure, thriller, or a mix thereof.
     
  9. Dante Dases
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    Dante Dases Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like writing SF more than any other genre, possibly because of the broad scope of SF and the amount of ideas I can work with. Without constraints, I can work on a story far better than I can with other genres.

    Previously, I wrote a lot of fantasy (and, indeed, the one novel I have on the go is a fantasy novel - albeit a fantasy with virtually no magic, no fantastic beasts and characters very much grounded in a reality not dissimilar to our own), and recently I turned my eye to a little historical fiction surrounding the First World War and the abolition of the death penalty in Britain. I've enjoyed mixing up my work recently and challenging myself.

    A couple of years I also had a shot at writing a black comedy about teenage life. Only for Skins to come out on telly and ruin it. I may yet go back to it.
     
  10. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I agree entirely. In the current Interzone magazine, there's an interview with sci-fi writer Domonic Green, which has one of my favourite quotations about sci-fi:

    (Taken from Interzone #223, pg 21)


    I love it, because it's an accurate assesment of sci-fi, and an insult regarding Dan Brown, all in the same breath :p
     
  11. Dante Dases
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    Dante Dases Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have to say I like the quote too. Especially regarding violence against the person of Dan Brown, I mean, that should be an international sport. Nations should compete at it at the Olympics in 3 years' time. With the Vatican City winning its first ever gold.
     
  12. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    thanks for the replies so far. I guess genre doesn't matter really until looking for a publisher for which it must be categorized for them to publish it, and sometimes even read it depending on what the editors like.

    I had been searching through different publishers on the web, saving those I saw that accept unsolicited manuscripts, and I was noticing how they broke down genres frequently between different editors, which would affect who I would send the manuscript too. So I got to thinking about where my current project would fit in, and although a genetically created zombie virus is both a little science fiction (because so far we don't know if it is possible to have a reanimation virus) as well as horror due to all the blood and guts and general zombie mayhem. But then I also have a romantic fiction that I am working on, but it's not romance, it's a relationship novel with some romantic elements, which made me think it would probably be general fiction, not genre romance.

    I read from most genres, except western. I don't understand everyone's hate for Mr. Brown. I found the book to be moderately well written, a few things bugged me, but overall the story was something I was already familiar with. I've read Holy Blood Holy Grail, the non-fiction book that Dan Brown's book was based on. I knew of the myth involving Christ's marriage and secret child. So seeing someone put it into a fictional novel was rather interesting to me. It kept me entertained for a week's worth of nightly reading.

    And really, that's all I ask in a book. Entertain me. That should be a genre in itself. All boring books need not apply. :)
     

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