FICTION WRITING — GENRE
The word is pronounced john-ra or zhon-ra, and it simply means kind or variety. In our case, it refers to the kinds of stories we read and write.
Here are some basic genres and examples of each:
* Mystery (Anne Perry’s William Monk or Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series)
* Thriller/Suspense (Brandilyn Collins)
* Horror (Ted Dekker)
* Sci-Fi (DragonKeeper Chronicles by Donita K. Paul)
* Fantasy (J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings)
* Western (Louis L’Amour)
* Romance (Karen Kingsbury)
* Historical Fiction (Bodie Thoene’s Zion Covenant and Zion Chronicles)
* Children (classics like A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle)
* Young Adult (excellent theme books by Melody Carlson)
* Short Fiction (Linda Hall’s The Weather Ladies)
Each of these genres can be broken up into sub-genres, with new off-shoots developing daily. See the following link for more: http://www.cuebon.com/ewriters/genres.html.
What’s your genre? The key question is usually: what kinds of stories do you most like to read? I say usually, because I love reading mysteries, but I haven’t published one…yet. I also love reading historical fiction, and the more I read, the more I learn about how it’s done.
Based on your favorite genres of fiction, which would you most like to write? Why? I like Historical Fiction because it reminds me that every historical figure I write about has actually lived and died, loved and hated, succeeded and failed. When I create fictional characters in my historicals, it is with the hope that they will become as real as their historical counterparts.
Of course, there’s always genre help on the web. Here’s one site of many to check out: http://fictionwriting.about.com/od/genrefiction/a/How-To-Choose-A-Genre-For-Your-Novels.htm
The conundrum with genre selection is whether to write from the heart or for sales stats. The answer depends on our goals. If our number one objective is to sell our story, then we must research and write what’s selling. We can still be creative when we write for the market, but we must make sure we’re okay with it.
Personally, I need to write from the heart, whether it sells immediately or not. Pair that with the premise of Kevin Costner’s movie, Field of Dreams: “Build it and he will come.” Write it, and the readers will come, so we hope and pray. We must make the choice.
For the Christian writer, published or not, the choice of genre is important. If we plan to build a platform (the genre and style of writing that people think of when they recognize our names, also referred to as our brand), we will need to concentrate on writing in one genre until we are known by our readers.