Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Writing on Wednesday: Know your genre

When I first mentioned the word 'genre' to the Frog he gave me a look and asked me to repeat it at least five times and then I had to explain exactly what it meant and then he went: "Oooh gen!" in exactly that annoying way I have of correcting his English when he mispronounces a word. Then he asked me why we didn't have an English word of our own.

But I digress, my point this week is knowing your genre. I am absolutely dead certain that I know my genre: fantasy. When it comes to children's books I like reading it: His Dark Materials, Harry Potter, The Keys of the Kingdom, Mortal Engines, the Narnia books, oh The Wind Singer, Artemis Fowl, anything by David Almond. And when it comes to writing it, that's what I love writing. I've written stories about clones with aura reading fathers, time travellers, mermaids. The character I can't get out of my head, well I think I may have finally plotted something now and it's a ghost story. See, I just love the weird and wonderful. I know books take you to other worlds, but I take that literally, I like creating those other worlds.

And herein lies a problem, it doesn't matter that I know I write fantasy. Children's and Young Adult fiction seems to be all forgiving in a way that adult fiction is not;  you can mix fantasy with crime, or a love story with fantasy, or hey why not comic fantasy, all is possible. Children's and Young Adult Fiction is not so much a genre, as an age range. What I really need to know is my the age of my audience. The thing is I know that too. An advanced 10 year old with good reading skills would enjoy my wip (in my fantasy world they would), but by about 14 they might be looking for something a bit meatier. I write neither for 8-12 year olds nor YA, I write for the 'tweens. And my question is, is that a genre?

I think that I am probably mulling over this a little too much, when in actual fact what I am really doing is procrastinating. Last night, faced with a bit of a sore throat that was threatening to become nasty I retreated to bed with a medicinal whisky and went through my wip. What I have done so far is rewrite the first chapters getting rid of the fluff. I have brought some of the action forward from chapters in the middle. I have one more relatively easy chapter to edit and then I have this big fat soggy middle, which is written from the wrong point of view, all the good bits have been used elsewhere and when I go through it I end up having about one or two important sentences left! Ugh.


Nicky Schmidt (Absolute Vanilla) said...

you're right, you're procrastination - just get on and write the thing and get it submitted - someone will tell you what age group it's for if you get it wrong. :-)
And no, tweens is not a genre, it's an age group. Now go away and write - just as I should be doing!

Michele Helene (Verilion) said...

Wrist duly slapped and went off and wrote a chapter :) Thanks for cracking the whip.


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