Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Science-Fiction? Women's Fiction? Young Adult? - Represent Your Genre!

It's all about you! We're looking for writers to describe their preferred genre on our blog. Each day, we'd love to have someone else discuss the conventions of their genre, along with the advantages and disadvantages of that genre. Do you love your genre cliches? Do you love your genre despite those cliches? We're hoping this little adventure brings us one step closer to understanding one another and why we choose to write what we do. And, most likely, we're going to learn a lot from each other.

So, if you're up for representing your genre, please let us know in the comments section on this post (list your genre choice please). Chances are, even if you don't want to write the main post, you'll have some ideas for us in the comments section when your genre comes around. It's also your chance to win us over--we admit to being a tad biased when it comes to literary fiction. Prove us wrong!

And, because it's all about you, we wanted to take today to send out some congratulations to Tess Hilmo and Jody Hedlund, who both recently acquired agents. Congratulations!

44 comments:

  1. Congrats Tess and Jody!!! MUAH!

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  2. Thanks for the shout out :)

    I write Middle Grade fiction. I love it, live it, read it, think it....

    What drives me batty is that very few people know the difference between YA and MG. There is a difference.

    The Giver??? Middle Grade

    Harry Potter?? Middle Grade

    Bet you wouldn't have known that, eh?

    The Graveyard Book?? Middle Grade

    Anyway...let's just say I have an opinion or two on how great middle grade fiction is and how I wish people knew the distinction more. Within that genre, you can have all the others...sci fi, fantasy, literary, etc...

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  3. Traci: I'm going to appear completely stupid and ask what MUAH means...

    Tess: So do you want to do our Middle Grade post?

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  4. Traci: I just got it. Man I'm slow... I thought it was an acronym. LOL.

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  5. I like Suspense/Thrillers.

    I like to read them because they are the real page turners. A good one will keep you guessing until the end. They are most likely to make me tune out the rest of the world and focus on the story.

    I like to write them because the plotting is fun. What to reveal and when to reveal it to keep the suspense high is challenging.

    One hard part of writing in this genre is balancing action with description. It requires very judicious editing to preserve a literary prose style while maintaining action and forward momentum in the story. I also try to maintain a literary edge through the themes I use and the thoughts they provoke - life and death, and life after death. I want my readers to feel satisfied with the ending, but to dwell on why it ended the way it did.

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  6. Oh...and congrats to Tess and Jody!

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  7. I consider what I write literary fiction becomes it's more about what drives the characters versus the characters driving the narrative.

    But, since I know I'm probably stretching things a bit . . . I'll go with mainstream fiction.

    Currently, I write about everyday people, real life, and the choices the characters must make as they strive toward finding what they think - sometimes they're wrong - is happiness. As one beta reader said . . . Your characters seem to find that even the most meaningless of relationships, ironically, have meaning after all.

    So, for me, that sums up the genre I must choose for my writing.

    S

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  8. Traci, in Paris it's MUAH, MUAH! :P

    Tess, I'd love to learn more about MG fiction. It's something I didn't even know had it's own term until Michelle mentioned it to me a few weeks ago.

    Rick, We've been discussing the literariness of writing as well. Thanks for your thoughts on that!

    Scott, what do you mean by "stretching things a bit"? Does stretching things make it less literary?

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  9. Tess, I did know that HP was MG. (Although some of the later books in the series were bordering on YA.) But, hey, that's my ballpark. I am a YA writer, and I do know the difference between YA and MG, and I love both. I read a lot of both. Like Tess says for MG, it's fun that there are all kinds of different genres in YA including literary.

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  10. Well, I'm all about the romance! I write Christian contemporary romance novels (aka--tame!).

    Congrats Tess and Jody!!

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  11. Davin - I guess it all depends on the definition of literary fiction, and which definition a writer follows.

    In the majority of mysteries, there is a mystery to solve, and the MC might change a little.

    In a romance, 'she' meets 'he' falls desperately in love, they suffer much angst and live happily ever after. Okay, not really that simple . . .

    In chick-lit . . . well, I'm not even going there. : )

    So, my story takes place today, here, now, and the characters truly are going through internal struggles as they adjust to who they are and where life has placed them at this point in time. The decisions they make will affect them, and the people around them. There are no raging gun battles, no murders to solve, no embezzlement at a corporate level, or execs going on a retreat with bailout money. There is just the deep delving into each character as they try to figure out the meaning of their lives.

    The characters interact with each other, and the world around them, but those outside events play little part in the overall decisions they must make.

    So, stretching the definition is what I mean, since what I wrote doesn't fit neatly into an in-depth definition of 'literary fiction'.

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  12. MG & YA, all the way. Also: within those categories, fantasy and SF.

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  13. Congrats Tess and Jody!

    I write non-fiction stories. (At least that's what I'm working on.) I'm a journalism major, so writing fiction doesn't usually come easy to me. I love to read and learn about other genres, but non-fiction (journalism) will always be my true love.

    As for books, I love to read non-fiction, like the recently popular 'Marley & Me.' But I also love mystery fiction, like 'Rebecca' by Daphne DuMaurier. Both of these books are on my list of Top 5 Favorites.

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  14. Well, we all know I wrote about zombies, but for me, its more about the end of the world than the zombies.

    Dystopian fiction, speculative fiction, sci-fi, fantasy. That's my bag. :)

    And no writing YA or MG versions of it for me. I tend to explore the darker side of things in my writing.

    And grats on the agents guys!

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  15. I'm YA with comedy, action, and romance sprinkled in. I also secretly develop Jane Eyre-esque symbols, but don't tell!

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  16. So here's the thing:

    WHO WANTS TO VOLUNTEER TO BE A GUEST BLOGGER AND SPEAK ABOUT THE FORMS/CONVENTIONS OF THEIR CHOSEN GENRE?Ground rule #1: You can only bash a genre you actively work in. No complaining about someone else's genre!

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  17. Scott, thank you for posting your comment. I was wanting to ask, as well, since nobody's raising their hand yet... anybody? anybody? I'd volunteer but I'm already on the blog. :)

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  18. Ooh, congrats to the newly agented authors.

    Second, I write YA (straight, science fiction and fantasy). Literary? Um, some of my writing is literary. I think. ;-)

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  19. Scott, you're as subtle as a cannonball. Ha ha. Hmm, if you absolutely (totally, seriously) need me, I can do a little research and spin you a tale or two about the origin and development of science fiction, fantasy, "SF/F", or "sword and sorcery"; otherwise, call me Worthless Bowman.

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  20. P.S. I don't blame you for your boldness (tee hee), uncle. The half-reprimand was necessary; bloggers are a flighty sort.

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  21. Thanks for posting the news on Tess and Jody!

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  22. You know I'm never shy to throw my $0.02 in and/or stir the pot. I'd be honored to do a guest post.

    What's my deadline?

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  23. YA is my genre for sure! I do dabble occasionally in adult fiction, but I feel as though I belong in the YA genre. Probably because I'm really immature.

    I don't consider myself all that knowledgeable, but if you guys would like me to guest blog, I'm sure I could pull something together. :P

    I think a lot of people underestimate teenagers, and the YA genre in general. (I've even heard YA bashers say things like "Oh, you're writing YA? Is that, like, practice before you write your grown up novel?" Um. Hm.)

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  24. Justus: "Subtle?" I've heard the word, but I don't quite know where, nor what it means. Hmm. My protagonist gets called "little worthless" at one point. More evidence supporting the rumor that you and I are the same person.

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  25. Rick and Kat, would you be able to post up anything next week? You can pick the day--though hopefully not the same day. :)

    Tess, I'd personally love it if you'd get into the distinctions between YA and MG, if you're up for it. No pressure, though.

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  26. Oh, this question is a toughie--my characters are for the YA market, but sometimes I feel as if my writing is more literary and mainstream. I love to hang on the realistic side of things, whatever specific genre it may fall into.

    I know a lot about the YA market because I've spent the last six years researching it--and I actually have a report due on the market for class tomorrow--so I'd love to make a few comments if need be, but it looks as if Kat's got the hang of it. Let me know if you need any help!

    And CONGRATS to Tess & Jody.

    My friend, Sara J. Henry, over at Sara in Vermont was also offered representation a few days ago. It seems to be the new trend!

    Cheers!

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  27. Ha ha. The same person, eh? Sounds great, since that means I get an agent. Hmm, I must be the insane half.

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  28. Dr. Justus and g.f. Hyde. Cool!

    Davin,

    I'll have a post to you by Monday morning. I'll let you decide when you want to post it.

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  29. Davin,

    I can have a post written for you by Monday as well, and you can choose when to put it up. How should I get it to you?

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  30. Thanks a lot, guys. We really appreciate this. You can email the posts to me at dmalasarn@gmail.com.

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  31. Rick: You get a lot of readers from a wide variety of genres at the slush pile site. Would you add a call for guest articles there for anyone who wants to write about their genre? We're missing at least SF, mystery, horror, historical fiction, fantasy, and who knows what else.

    The basic questions are: What characteristics define your genre? Do you violate the "rules" of your genre or not? Why/why not? Who are the top writers in your genre?

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  32. I'd be happy to write up a post discussing the distinction between MG and YA. That's right up my alley. Just give me a timeframe and some directions.

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  33. Duh! Missed your e mail comment...I'll do it over the weekend and you can post it or pass -- whatever works is fine w/ me.

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  34. Terrif! Thanks a lot, Tess. I'm looking forward to it.

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  35. Davin...Yes! Muah on each cheek! ;-) God I love Europeans. Wish I lived over there.

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  36. Awesome idea. It looks like you're covered for YA, which is my genre, so I'll tune in quite happily to see how things turn out. :)

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  37. Looks like you found a lot of volunteers. Phew! Less work for me.

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  38. Congrats to Tess and Jody!

    I'm not writing anything at the moment...my thesis is coming up though. I enjoy the comments and bantering, so I'm going to quietly stay tuned...

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  39. Middle Grade all the way, Davin. It really does have all flavors added to it. :)

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  40. Thanks for all your comments and offers, everybody!

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  41. I could talk about sci-fi. I'm soft sci-fi ("space opera" stuff) though - don't know if you'd want to hear from someone who writes hard sci-fi. It's two different animals. :)

    <.<

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  42. You've already had a two hands raised in my general row of the bookshelf -- sf/f, but I'm always up for contributing a post pontificating further on the subject. If no one's spoken for hard sf, I'd be happy to take it; or if sf is covered by Justus and Guppy, I'd also be happy to remark on Epic Fantasy (ye olde Tolkien wanna-bees!)

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  43. "The Hong Kong Connection" is a legal thriller about a gutsy female attorney who takes on high ranking International officials. It's a taut, rollercoaster of a ride from New York to Palm Beach to Washington D.C. to Hong Kong. The plot is expertly woven, the characters persuasive, and the dialogue snappy and spot on.
    www.StrategicBookPublishing.com/TheHongKongConnection.html

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