I want to start with the bleedin’ obvious. You MUST consider the genre of your book BEFORE you start writing. Why? Because it’s too ******* late to change when you have finished !!!
The guidance I give below is not that of a seasoned professional writer. One day I might get somewhere close, but for now, I am on a steep learning curve and I expect to be that way for many years to come. All I can offer you here are the results of my own experiences and my insights herein and thereon (it’s difficult to get out of lawyering habits).
I started writing my first novel about two years ago. At that time I knew NOTHING of genre, style, format or publishing. I just knew that for years I had wanted to write a book, and now I was going to damn well do it! No matter what everybody said!
I started my wonderful tome with reckless abandon, gaily tapping away and filling pages and pages with the most amazing and exciting prose it was possible to imagine. My modesty prevents me from comparing my outstanding work to other giants of literature, but only just. I did not consider whether it was a thriller or a goldfish, a crime novel or a cheese sandwich. To call me naive would have been a great insult to really really really naive people. If you would like to see the results, you can check out my book, ‘Deadly Election’ HERE
Now, it is fine to write this way if you are writing purely for your own satisfaction, and do not, and will not in the future want to sell your book for profit. You may as well stop reading this now. But, If you DO want to sell your book, or start to establish yourself as a professional writer there are many serious considerations you should have before you even open a word document.
All books that are offered for sale either electronically or physically will be classified by whatever type of book retailer you choose to use into a category, and probably a sub category – so that prospective readers will have an idea what to expect when the open it, and so that readers that want a certain genre can be pointed in the right direction. Publishers will certainly want your genre well defined, and one of the main considerations they will have in considering your work will be whether the genre you are writing is popular at the time.
Ok, let’s start with the basics. What is a Genre, Really! - here is a dictionary definition:
a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content
Now, let’s look at the generally recognized genres. Many works will fall into several categories or at least have elements of many genres
Usually characterized by stuff like explosions, fight scenes, chases, daring escapes, etc.
Examples, James Bond, Die Hard.
Sub-categories would include Western, Spy, War, Military.
Usually involves travel, chases, exploration or such like Sub-categories include space, travel etc.
Usually about a series of funny or comical events, or involving funny people and situations, intended to make the audience laugh.
Sub-categories include slapstick, satire, slapstick, parody etc.
A story about a crime that is being committed or was committed. It can also be an account of a criminal's life. It often crosses over with Action or Adventure genres.
Subcategories include Detective, Legal, Murder etc
A story that re-tells events rather than create them. Usually, it is about true historic events.
Erotic literature comprises fictional and factual stories and accounts of human sexual relationships which have the power to or are intended to arouse the reader . Subcategories would include. Lesbianism, Group activity, Gay.
In literature, Faction is a text depicted as based on real historical figures, and actual events, woven together with fictitious allegations. Faction is often disliked as confusing to people who are trying to find facts.
A story about magic and supernatural forces, rather than technology, though it often is made to include elements of other genres, such as science fiction elements.
A story about a real person or event. Often, they are written in a textbook format, which may or may not focus on solely that person or event. Subcategories include: historical fiction, biography,
A story that is told to deliberately scare or frighten the audience, through suspense, violence or shock. Subcategories include: Ghost, monster, occult
Although normally associated with the crime genre, mystery fiction is considered a completely different genre in certain circumstances where the focus is on supernatural mystery (even if no crime is involved.
Philosophical fiction is fiction in which a significant proportion of the work is devoted to a discussion of the sort of questions normally addressed in discursive philosophy.
Political fiction is a subgenre of fiction that deals with political affairs. Political fiction has often used narrative to provide commentary on political events, systems and theories.
Traditionally, a story involving chivalry and adventure. In modern writing, a story about character's relationships, or engagements (a story about character development and interpersonal relationships rather than adventures).
Subcategories would include Chicklit, historical romance and contemporary romance.
Often strictly defined as a literary genre or form, although in practice it is also found in the graphic and performing arts. Satire, human or individual vices, follies, abuses, or shortcomings are held up to censure by means of ridicule, derision, burlesque, irony or other methods,
Similar to fantasy except stories in this genre use scientific understanding to explain the universe that it takes place in. It generally includes or is centered on the presumed effects or ramifications of computers or machines, travel through space, time or alien planets and life-forms genetic engineering etc.
SLICE OF LIFE
A story that might have no plot, but represents a portion of (everyday) life.
This is by no means a complete list or a definitive one, it is purely meant as a guide to the genre your book or proposed work may fit into.
If you want to be financially rewarded for your work you must carefully consider the genre of your work, and whether it is popular now, or trending in the future. You should spend time on Amazon checking out what is popular now, what is rising in popularity – and then READ extensively the popular books in that genre.
Next you have to get out your crystal ball to see what may be popular when your book is ready to be published.
The book shelves are overflowing right now with books about sexual adventures, werewolves, vampires, and all three combined together (you would be amazed at what they can get up to!) – I wonder why???
If you are considering following a current trend you must realise that everybody else and their cats will be doing the same, and that the trend may not last until your book is published.
A careful definition and categorisation will be necessary to impress a publisher, or, if you are self published, so that you can define your possible readership and target them in your marketing.
Next week, sketching out the storyline – register for my blog (on the right, over there) to make sure you do not miss it. (you also get a free book!) Happy writing, reading and relaxing – do not neglect your family, friends, pets etc. It is all too easy to work to hard, get frustrated and lose enthusiasm. Been there, done that, got the tee-shirt.!!!