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!

[Writing Prompt] Mood Altering

Today, if you normally find that your stories come out one way, try to write a different way.

The Prompt

Write Against Your Normal Type

What I mean by this is simply: if your stories are usually sombre, try to force something flippant. If you normally go for comedy, try drama. If you write romance and happy endings, kill off a hero today. If you normally write paranormal stories, today try something rooted firmly in the real world.

It may not work, you may find that it feels awful, or you may discover that you’re much, much better at writing something other than what you THOUGHT you were meant to write.

Go!

And when you have written your story, log in and post your success in The Victory Dance group or simply comment on this post and let the congrats come flying in.

Daily Prompt – May 19: Write In The Style of…Pt. I

Write (or Rewrite) A Story In The Style Of A TV Show You Know And Love

Daily Prompt LogoThis is the first of a series of prompts that will encourage you to choose a story to write several different ways. You could choose a fairy story or a tale you’ve already told right here during Story A Day May. Each day I’ll give you a style to write in. You can reuse the same character, plot, timing, whatever works as you import your story into the new style. Feel free to ditch characters, change their names, switch out the endings, whatever makes sense.

Write (or Rewrite) A Story In The Style Of A TV Show You Know And Love

I’m not going to limit you, because I know I wouldn’t have a clue what to do if you told me to write in the style of a CSI show, but a more gentle mystery might work for me. Or maybe it’ll be sci-fi, daytime soap, or rip-roaring Melrose Place evening soap. Reality show? Sitcom? Adult cartoon? What do you watch and love?

Go!