Resources for Writers
Figuring Out Genre by Paul Anthony Shortt
One of the first things any writer should work out is what genre they want to write in. Not only does it help with querying to agents and publishers, since many will have specialties in certain genres, but it also helps you hone your craft by studying the successful writers who’ve gone before you, and learning what your readers expect.
But there can be a lot of confusion over genre. How do you tell the difference between contemporary fantasy and urban fantasy? What makes a cozy mystery distinct from a police procedural? There are a lot of broad genres that most people are aware of – fantasy, thriller, romance, etc. – but then there are sub-genres, and new genres being defined all the time.
I’m a big believer in learning as much as you can about your chosen genre (or genres), so I’ve gathered up some of the best links on the subject.
1: Genre Map – Book Country has put together this awesome interactive map of the most common genres. It’s a quick and easy way to learn about different genres, and start you on your path to figuring out which genre best describes your work.
2: What’s My Genre? – This article from Writers’ Store starts with the statement that 95% of writers fail right at defining the premise of their story. Take their advice, and make sure you know what you’re writing from the start.
3: How To Figure Out Your Book’s Genre – Rock Your Writing (a name I’m still bitter I didn’t think of first!) presents this guide to the broad genres, and the process of deciding which genre is the right fit for you.
4: The Joy of Genre Mashing – Not every story will fit neatly under a single label. Joanna Penn takes us through the tricky territory of combining different genres together.
5: Creating Your Personal Genre – In the competitive world of publishing, you’re trying to sell yourself as an author as much as you’re trying to sell your books. Your work needs a personal style, a signature that readers will recognise and seek out – a strong voice. Take this advice for developing that into a personal genre all of your own.
That’s all for this week. Good luck!
(c) Paul Anthony Shortt