Learning to Write in the Genres

Blame my job for the lack of updates!  I’ve been really tired after working, so I apologize.  Not much on the “me” front other than the job.  Hopefully I’ll get a more regular schedule next week.

Genre Writing vs. Literary Writing

One of the biggest things I protested in college was genre writing vs. literary writing.  The Carroll writing program highly emphasizes literary writing over genre writing.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but as a person who writes a lot of science fiction and fantasy, it was a huge change.  The big difference between literary fiction and genre fiction is that literary fiction can happen in real life.  For those who don’t know, genre writing is pretty much everything else in the fiction category (romance, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, etc.)

I used to kick and scream against literary fiction.  However, it’s probably a better idea to focus in on literary fiction BEFORE diving into the genres.  Now WHY would I, the science fiction writer, suggest this?  Because without the extras added in genre writing, you can really focus in on the basics of writing.  You learn how to write believable dialogue, when to switch to scene vs. narration, how to properly control your story arc.  Once you’ve learned those basics, you can apply them into the genre of choice.

Learn your Genre

I can not emphasize this enough.  Learn about your genre before you write in it!  There’s always room for artistic interpretation, but knowing the basics of how fantasy or romance works is a good idea before diving headfirst into writing.  The best way to learn about the genre?  Read!  Read tons of books in the genre.  Read the classics of that genre.  And from there, put your own interpretation on the genre.  Refresh the genre.

Strong Characters!

I know this seems like a no-brainer, but I’ve found that the extras included in genre can bury characters.  A character should be able to stand out from the scene, the character should be the real focus; the focus should not be on the flying car zooming overhead.  I believe if the character is nice and round (meaning, strong and has the ability to change), that there will be no problem in being more interesting than the flying car.  Make sure to avoid Mary Sues!  They tend to pop up more in genre writing for some reason, so be wary!


Lets say you want to include some high level physics in a new story.  Now, a lot of writers would just start writing without knowing the high level physics.  The danger in this is having someone call you out on the physics being wrong, which you would kindly reply “I’m a writer, not a scientist!”  I don’t know.  I’m a huge fan of making the stories as believable as possible.  Included in this is research.  Researching will add a layer of fact to the story.  That layer of fact will aid the “suspension of disbelief” in your story.  Meaning, the reader won’t be pulled out of the story as much.  So research is good 🙂

Of course, these aren’t the only things to writing in the genres.  But these are a few tips that I think will be helpful!

Thanks for reading!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s