Focus On Genre

Since we talked since we touched on the genre yesterday when talking about the tone of your story, today we’re going to take a deeper look at genre and the expectations readers have, based on that genre

The Prompt

Write a story focusing on genre expectations

Tips

  • Pick a genre that you know well. (It’s all very well to say that you’ll write a noir mystery, because the noir style is so easy to copy. But if you don’t really know noir you’re just making life harder for yourself.) If you spend most of your day reading Regency romance, then by all means write a Regency romance today. (I’m looking at you, fellas.)
  • Grab a book in your chosen genre and take a look at the first page. How does the author let the reader know — immediately — that they are reading a particular genre?  Look at the choice of words. Look at the names of the characters. Look at the length of the sentences. Each genre has specific norms and you need to be using these norms if you want to please a lot of readers. (If you’re making experimental art, you may be able to skip these things. But, even if you are writing for your own pleasure, you’ll be dissatisfied if you feel like you’re missing the mark. Looking at reader expectations in your genre is one way to narrow your focus and hit that mark.)
  • Make a list of the features you notice on the front page of the book you chose.
  • Now that you have a list of norms (and a cheatsheet) for your genre, grab a Story Spark and start writing in the style of the genre you’ve chosen. Don’t be afraid to go over the top and write almost a parody. It can be a useful lesson in what makes this genre tick.

Leave a comment telling us what genre you are writing in today. Was this exercise hard or easy for you? Did you know what genre to pick? And remember, if you’re enjoying these prompts, please share them!

17 thoughts on “Focus On Genre”

    1. You’ve really nailed it!

      And now I want to know what kind of supernatural she is.

  1. Really enjoyed this prompt. Went with a parody on a Sam Spade type of mystery. But enjoyed it so much that it got too long to finish today. So like I did the other day, I gave myself clear concise outline directions for the rest. Will be easy to fill in and complete at a later date. Fun.

  2. The eastern boy writes a lot of Westerns. Started this one last night and just just just finished this afternoon. Kind of a lopsided squint at a Hemingway quote, but I like it. It might be a sensitive subject, but the story intrigued me from the moment Luke Flynn called Ben “boy.”

    Here’s “Running Free by Daylight”
    http://wp.me/p1AR9N-2S2

    1. cliff hanger!!!
      I think you could start this story with your third paragraph (“Chad…”) and then go back in and tell us some of the backstory once you’ve already sucked us in. Just a thought…
      Intriguing!

Comments are closed.