Last weekend’s post touched upon editing components to consider when doing your own editing.
Not one for abundant eye-glazing details, I prefer to—as you’ve likely noticed—keep posts reasonable in length. While the above list doesn’t comprise the be-all-and-end-all of editing elements, it’s a solid place to start.
And speaking of starting, let’s take a gander at genre. You probably already have one or two you like and write. Or maybe you’re setting forth on your first writing adventure, debating what sort of story you’d like to weave? Let’s give some thought to the multitude of genres you can choose from.
Firstly, books are either fiction or nonfiction. The former revolves around a story created by an author (you)—courtesy of that wonderful creative faculty called imagination—while the latter comprises factual information.
We could break down the two types even more.
Fiction would include, but not be limited to:
⇒ mystery (a personal favorite), thriller, police procedural, romance and erotica, horror, Gothic, children’s and YA (young adult), fantasy, science fiction, drama, saga and western, action/adventure, fabulism (also known as magical realism), satire and parody.
Fiction could come in the form of a novel or novella, short story or prose. We also have literary fiction and commercial or popular fiction. The first is more “cerebral”, if you like; the stories tend to be more involved, non-mainstream, and “clever”. The second is what the majority of readers enjoy—those books we purchase (or used to before Kindle) at the airport or corner store. Most books on bestseller lists tend to fall under the commercial umbrella.
Nonfiction would include, but again not be limited to:
⇒ history, politics, how-to advice, travel, true-life tales (biographies and autobiographies), science, health, guides, cooking, inspirational, religion and spirituality, New Age, anthology, creative (decorating, refurnishing, remodeling, crocheting, you-name-“ing”), diaries and journals.
Nonfiction can be divided into narrative nonfiction and general nonfiction. The first is factual information arranged to convey a story while the second is information that revolves around an actual/factual topic.
Both fiction and nonfiction, of course, break down even further into sub-classifications/subgenres. If you’re interested in learning more, I heartily encourage you to go Googling—there’s oodles to be discovered.
If you’re determining which genre you’d like to write, be aware that each one has specific rules—but you may already know this. If you’re devoted to a certain genre, you’ve no doubt recognized its pattern and rhythm. You know that certain types require a specific ending: a happy one. Yes, of course, you can always break the mold, but that’s another post.
Some genres will require more imagination than others, such as sci-fi and fantasy. Here you’d be creating unique worlds and non-human characters. You’d have to visualize—and aptly describe—them. With other genres, such as westerns, family sagas, and historical romances, you’d need to do in-depth research re costumes, locations, vehicles and paraphernalia. Mysteries, particularly those that lean toward police procedurals and crime dramas, would benefit from actual law enforcement (and related) processes. More on fact-finding in a subsequent post.
If you’re looking to earn some serious$ money, you’d likely want to write in a top-selling genre (though, personally, I believe you write for the love of it). The five genres that sell exceptionally well are:
⇒ romance (and erotica) ⇒ mystery (and crime) ⇒ religious and spiritual/inspirational ⇒ sci-fi and fantasy, and ⇒ horror.
Truly, there’s much (!) to offer on the subject of genres—I could probably write four or five posts on them alone, but the idea here is to give you food for thought, a (teeny) taste of all that’s available. Once you’ve determined your genre, know it inside out—and own it. Understand your audience, and deliver what it expects and wants.
Happy genre picking.