Monday, June 19, 2017

"Good writing is about telling the truth, but ... it's about as easy and pleasurable as bathing a cat.”

"Good writing is about telling the truth, but telling the truth in an interesting way turns out to be about as easy and pleasurable as bathing a cat.” 
Anne Lamott, Bird By Bird

Since you are going to write for a long time, write the kind of books you like to read. Don't shy away from the genre you love because you fear it will be too difficult. Since you are going to publish your own novel, just write what you like. If you try writing a genre you dislike, just for the money, it will show, and readers will know.

I wrote my first mystery novel, Kill Cue because it was a story I wanted to read. At the time, I lived in the Tampa Bay area of Florida and I had seldom found a book which was set there. Therefore, I wrote it for me, and thousands of other people ended up reading it. Write what you want to write, not what your parents or friends want you to write. Write about the things that make you enthusiastic.

There are about 2-billion genres these days.

Okay, I exaggerate.
In the old days, New York publishers demanded you write in one of a dozen genres they had identified. However, the conventions of genre fiction are now often undeclared, and no complete agreement exists in the publishing world about exactly what the genres are. The assigning of books to specific genres was arbitrary and subjective.

These days, you’ll find “sexy Amish romance thriller,” “fantasy western sci-fi” and “50 shades-sadistic but sweet romance,” genres so create your own genre.
My current work in progress, Hear After, is primarily a realistic thriller with underlying fantasy. However, there are religious overtones, political intrigue and low-key romantic friendship in the story as well.

Here are some of the main genres of the past:

Adventure Characters are involved in dangerous and exciting exploits. Includes spy novels.
Crime or Mystery fiction involves the investigation of a crime, usually murder.
Whodunit means the identity of the criminal is initially unknown. Discovering the identity is the focus of the story.
Whydunit indicates the criminal's motive is the focus, and their identity may be revealed early in the story. Mystery includes cozy mysteries (like Agatha Christie) and hardboiled mysteries, where the investigator is cynical. These novels are told from the viewpoint of the criminals or the detectives. They range in tone from lighthearted caper stories to darker plots involving organized crime.
Fabulist fiction blurs boundaries with fantastic events in realistic settings, flavored with exotic themes and blends of folklore or mythology. In fabulism, anything can happen, unreal, surreal and the unexplained. Some readers call it “slipstream” or the “new weird,” or “the modern fable.”
Fanfiction Fiction which is written by fans of, and featuring characters from, a particular TV series or movie.
Fantasy These novels use magic or the supernatural as a plot element, theme or setting. Fantasy is divided into high fantasy, which is epic in scope and set in a fictitious world, and low fantasy, which blends reality with limited elements of fantasy. Contemporary fantasy and magical realism overlap in complicated ways.
Historical fiction Novels with fictional characters and events in a historical setting.
Horror fiction Horror novels often feature supernatural phenomena or monsters, but it is not required.
Modern horror, such as splatterpunk and cosmic horror, is more explicit and less melodramatic.
Magical Realism features unreal foundations, which play a natural part in an otherwise realistic environment.
Mythology is often based on historical events, which reveal human behavior and natural phenomena, by its symbolism, often pertaining to the actions of the gods.
Mythopoeia is fiction where characters from mythology, folklore and history are recast into a re-imagined realms created by the author.
Romance is the best-selling fiction genre in America. It has produced a wide assortment of sub genres, most of which feature the mutual attraction and love of a man and a woman as the main plot, and most have happy conclusions.

This genre is so broad in definition it is often combined with other genres, such as fantasy, realistic and action-adventure.
Same-sex romantic fiction is extremely popular since the Supreme Court ruled to allow same-sex marriage in the USA.
Science fiction, although tough to define, generally refers to plausible, futuristic stories, ranging from hard science fiction to social science fiction and space opera. Science fantasy occupies a middle ground between fantasy and science fiction.
Speculative fiction includes alternate history, a subgenre of science fiction where the history of the novel strays from our world. Alternate history, science fiction, fantasy fiction, magical realism and some horror fiction are often referred to under the umbrella term speculative fiction.
Suspense and thriller fiction is about a person or group about to be harmed and the attempts made to evade the harm. Usually punctuated with action, ad-venture, and suspense.
Western fiction is primarily set in the American West in the second half of the 19th century and often features heroes who are rugged cowboys. Sometimes, romances make use of Western settings.

----- (From NOVEL SECRETS available in paperback and Kindle form.)

Lary Crews