Why is Genre Important to Success? (HT: @AnneGracie)

David Baboulene writes this article about Genre, and it's a good read. He does some technical break down on story structure that's worth looking at:

Genre is a real tricky devil... and absolutely key to your success.

When we start out on a writing career, we don't see it like that. Genre is a restriction. Something to at least ignore and probably rebel against. You gotta be unique. You're going to prove yourself by doing something different. The only reason you would ever want to know the rules is so you can break ‘em good.

Personally I consider genre a marketing category. It's something I worry about after I've written a story and am trying to place it. I'm not sure if that's the right approach, but it seems to align with David's discussion here:

But before you get anywhere near getting assessed by the public, you as a writer, have to sell yourself and your material to an agent/publisher/producer. And I promise you, you are dead in the water if you don't have a clear genre. They will only take on a clearly defined genre piece, because they know they can't sell it if they don't. Look at it like this: When your publisher sells a book to a retailer, the first thing the buyer asks is: Which shelf does this go on? If it isn’t COMPLETELY obvious where it goes in the shop, then it’s rejected. Instantly. It could be brilliant but sorry, if the buyer can’t tell what genre it is, then neither can the public and it won’t sell, so he won’t buy it from the publisher.

Check it out here:

The Uncanny in Horror (via @tjbrown89 and @darkriverpress)

Dark River Press has a post by Thomas James Brown regarding Freud's theory of the Uncanny and how it works as a literary device in the horror genre:

The Uncanny itself ('Das Unheimliche') refers to the conflict between something appearing simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar. The end result of these instances is that the observer experiences a strange familiarity, where usually there would be none. He or she is both drawn to and repulsed by the object, creating the feeling of dissonance. The result of this dissonance is, more often than not, a subsequent rejection of the object in question, due to the unsettling nature of the Uncanny.

Horror writers (or Weird writers, or any speculative fiction writers who want to creep out their readers) should have a look. It's a good discussion and analysis.


Are Fantasy Tropes a Punk Response to Literature (via @tordotcom)

- This is our 100th post, by the way. And there will be many more to come. -

Stephen Minchin from Steam Press is a great source of interesting writing links, and I recently noticed this post on his twitter account.

Does incorporation of the fantastic constitute a punk moment of defiance for writers?

It's a cool little discussion on, and because Literature vs Genre is the kind of endless circular debate ideal for a few drinks at the bar, I found myself smirking at paragraphs like these:

Perhaps a real punk wouldn’t call themselves a punk, but the notion of protesting an institutionalized notion of art is likely a result of some amount of stigma or shame associated with the (punk) choice. Someone with a literary background like Grossman is going to be faced with more stigma or shame when he goes genre than someone like George R. R. Martin when he pulls a slightly punk move in Game of Thrones by not having it necessarily be about a big bad guy or quest. Perhaps Martin never faced the stigma, so the “risks” he took seem less punk than Grossman.

Have a skim through. I'm enjoying the blurring of genre lines in modern fiction. Could it be that clear distinctions between fiction genres are mostly for the benefit of marketing departments?

Read it here, folks:

A Genre Writer Accepts himself (via @CatSparx)

Cat Sparks posted a Salon article into my twitter feed recently. It's a nice light-hearted piece about growing as a writer. Will Lavender writes a passionate article about his journey from serious Literary writer, to 'mere' genre writer. It's fascinating, and a little sad, to see how marginalised 'non-literary' writing is by the literary establishment. Will explains,

I flailed, hilariously, to be sure my writing could not be confused with mere entertainment. I went through an experimental phase; I grew the requisite chin beard. I wrote text upside down, scribbled counterpoint in the margins. Every story I wrote contained footnotes. I was like John Gardner's Grendel: forever posturing, transforming the world with words but changing nothing.

Read the rest of the article here: