Genre Rules

It’s helpful to know what genre you will be writing before you start typing, don’t you think. If you’re a total pantser (flying by the seat of your pants) maybe you don’t. If you are in full tuxedo when you sit down to write, after you’ve written your “log line,” “detailed outline with plot twists,” and charted your story on a graph, before you write, then you can skip this post.
I’m a half-*ssed pantser myself. This means that I write down an idea for a story and think about the beginning and end. I’m sure there are better ways, but I’m being honest here. It’s the way I’ve approached my writing. After I jot down the idea I think about it some more, flesh it out and write down a one to three sentence description of the story. Then I do a loose outline of the story and that’s where I find the middle.
Before today I hadn’t thought too much about Genre rules, where it fits in the above scenario and all that it entails. But I came across two good blog posts about the ‘rules,’ of Young Adult, Literary Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, and Romance Genre.
Kristen Lamb says that understanding genre can help guide you in plotting your novel. Each genre has it’s own rules and expectations. Once you know the rules you know how to begin and navigate through your novel. She has written several posts on structure during the last two weeks. Ms. Lamb has a way of putting things that get her ideas across in a novel way,
In writing as in food, some combinations are never meant to go together. Paranormal thriller? Okay. Cool. Popcorn jelly beans. Literary thriller? Tuna ice cream of the writing world. Just my POV.”
Writer’s blog gives similar info on rules and word count on Historical Fiction, Horror, and Old Western Genre’s. They have another post on genres defined, including Chic Lit, Chica Lit, and Mommy Lit (do they really call these subgenre’s of Women’s Fiction these names?)
After Ms.Lamb is done with her posts this month, she will have made me lose my pants. You know, like Maya Angelou says: You do better when you know better.


Categories: Genre Definitions, Genre rules, plotting, Writing

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