This post was written specifically for the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop. All opinions expressed are the author’s own, so blame him accordingly.
So, our gracious host Raimey made a comment on one of my previous Toolbox posts that got me to thinking. I had been talking about how I was organizing my notes and she remarked how some genres might or might not require a glossary. So, for this one, I think I’ll talk how the genre we work in determines our process.
Granted, genre is a fairly fluid thing and you can mix and match elements to your heart’s content, if that’s what you want. But, in my opinion anyway, with cross-genre work, there’s usually a ‘core’ genre and then whatever other genre the author lays over that. Or you could think of it as the ‘world’ genre and the plot genre. Anyway, I digress.
As a writer, you’re probably already reading a range of different genres to help refine your craft. So, you already know that there are certain conventions common to certain genres. For example, mysteries & thrillers tend to have a crime of some form at their center while fantasies often feature some type of quest. Once you know what readers are likely to expect, then you can build your plot accordingly.
Some genres require faster pacing than others. Anything more action-oriented; military sci-fi, thriller etc, you’ll likely want to more things along that little bit quicker.
This is a broad generalization but to my mind, the closer to reality your work is, the more research you might need to do. My reasoning is that if you have a reader who is inclined to nitpick or point out factual errors, anything set in the real world is fair game. If you have something set in your own world, you might have a little more leeway. Which brings me to…
It stands to reason that if you’re creating your own world, then the more world-building you need to do. Again, anything set in the real world, you can assume with relative safety a degree of existing knowledge but for a second world, you’ll probably have to dig a bit deeper. That’s not to say you won’t have to do any. If your thriller features a secret society for example, then you’ll want to build the history of that society, it’s rules and rituals etc.
As I say so often in these posts, I’m probably not even covering a fraction of what you’ll want to know here. But, for right now, this is the best I’ve got. If you’ve made it this far, please comment your own genre choice and how it affected the way you work.
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This is a really good way of putting it: “there’s usually a ‘core’ genre and then whatever other genre the author lays over that.” I also think it’s really fun to play with genre conventions. Shake things up a up. But like with everything, you can’t break the rules well until you know them well. Interesting thoughts here, Drew. I enjoyed reading.