Archive | 10:09 AM

Writers’ Group: Genre

23 Jan

My writers’ group met last week and talked about genre. As a writer, you can write in whatever genre you want but you need to know what that genre is so you can market your book to readers and agents who like that genre.

We started with the California Department of Education list of literary genres. Fiction seemed to be a catch-all category which included romance and suspense. With those categories selling so well on their own, we felt that though they might not merit their own listing by CDE, they would for sure want to be listed separately when querying or marking a book.

We gained a bit more insight on romance from the Romance Writers of America website. There, they define a romance story as having the central story being a love story and that there is an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending. This got us thinking. Would a story that focused on a love-driven plot but did not end well be a romance? Take the movieĀ Titanic for example (a favorite of mine). Spoiler alert, but Jack dies. Does that mean this isn’t a romance? We decided that it’s not a romance, we would probably classify it as a drama.

We took a look at subgenres as well. As a writer of historical fiction, I was a little taken aback to see a definition of contemporary as anything set in the 1950s or later. That seems too far back to me. So much of our culture has changed since the 1950s including family life and never forgetting technology. I think a book set in the 1950s, 1960s, or even the 1970s would feel a bit historic to someone of my (Milennial) generation. I would personally place this cut off at the 1980s when women were empowered and technology started to take off. I think those two things can make a novel feel dated.

It was a great discussion we had. Next month we’re going to talk about things to avoid in book previews. It should be a good one.

Until next time, write on.

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