Genre Guides
Genre Guides

Genre Guides

We began work on the Genre Guides a few weeks ago. It’s tough work because these things are HUGE. But it’s rewarding work, too. Codifying information in a way that others can digest forces me to examine my own processes. Whenever I do this, those processes improve. Anything you do, even if you do it well and a lot, can experience drift. I think sometimes that the more common the activity is, the less you notice the drift. And you’re hardly motivated to examine things you’ve been doing successfully for years. But whenever I do, I find many ways to improve. Lazy habits I’ve picked up and can now excise. New techniques I didn’t know about when I began that I can now integrate into the process and improve my workflow.

And that’s just the selfish reason I enjoy writing these guides. I also think they’re going to help a whole lot of writers!

For an idea of what these are going to look like, they have a description at the top and a general rundown of the genre. Tips for POVs and tense that work best. Common structures, archetypes, and reader expectations. That kind of stuff. Then a link to an entire other page entitled “Should I Write in this Genre?” which lays out the type of people who tend to succeed in this genre.

Then we get into some meaty stuff: Must Haves, the things that really define the genre and that without them, most of that genre’s readership will be disappointed. Tropes and Cliches, things the readers expect and dislike.The Subgenres, a list of all the subgenres and what distinguishes them from the others. If the subgenres are unique enough, they get their own whole page with description, Must Haves, tropes, cliches, etc. I’m working on the Fantasy Genre Guide right now, and fantasy subgenres are wildly divergent. Nearly every one is really its own full genre and the subgenre pages are getting huge.

And this is all just on the craft of writing in your chosen genre. We’ve got the whole business section for the genre, as well, with writing to market, category, and search term research. We go multi-media with some of this with videos looking at the covers and blurbs of the best sellers in the genre and talking about what they have in common.

There’s more, too, study materials and story builders, but I’m getting tired talking about it—and I still have so many left to make!

Back to it then.