Friday, September 27, 2013

The Writer's Alphabet - G is for genre

G is for genre. Genre is not so much what your book is, but more about who is the audience. When you write a story, you need to be aware who you are writing for.  Oh, I know it's apropos to say of course, we are writing for ourselves, but that/s not entirely true, is it?  No.  We write for one real reason: to entertain the reader.  And to do that, we have to target who the reader is.

Knowing your audience dictates everything about your work.  The genre defines the demographic of your targeted reader.  For instance, because I write in different genres, I have had to adapt different voices.  When I am writing Young Adult, my voice has to be genuine, or I will be called out as a fraud.  The genre dictates that my work be realistic, a bit angsty, and interesting enough to hold a shorter attention span.  When I write adult horror, the genre defines my characters as less introverted, shallow in some instances as adults can tend to be, and less restricted, as Young Adult tends to require.  Are you seeing it now?

As a writer, you also need to be able to define your genre readily.  Agents and editors or publishers will have no interest in your work if you are unable to identify your audience.  But what about genres that overlap, I can hear you asking.  Same rule applies.  You must be able to nestle it securely in one of the named genres.  Sometimes nothing seems to fit perfectly.  You are sure you have just invented the newest genre: Time-traveling historical figures with a dash of paranormal romance! Um, not so much.

Determining your genre is actually easier than it sounds.  Answer one question: What is the driving force of your work?  Is it the romance, or the paranormal element? Which one can exist without the other?  Most would agree Twilight is very much a romance, right?  But, what makes it INTERESTING?  The paranormal element.  A-HA!

Once you can define your genre, you are well on your way to submitting your work for publication.

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