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Posts Tagged ‘non-fiction’

Welcome back! Wow, you must be serious about wanting to be an author.

During this ‘So, You Want To Be An Author’ series, I’m using all my WWBC knowledge taught to me by author and social media Jedi, Kristen Lamb, to help you become a better writer.

Last week we talked about why we wanted to become a writer and what it was about writing that we love so much, we need to write ourselves? And there were some brilliant answers.

This week, I want to talk about genres.

How many of you know what a genre is? Pretty much every single one of you, right?

Well I’m not ashamed to admit there was a time way, way back when they baffled the hell out of me. Huh? Is this girl a thicko, or what? Hang on. Before I’m hung, drawn and quartered, let me explain what I mean.

There are two main categories in writing: Fiction and Non-fiction.

Non-Fiction

I’ll touch briefly on non-fiction as this post is mainly about fiction writing.

What is non-fiction writing?  Non-fiction is factual. It’s real. Under this heading we find DIY, health and beauty, sports, automobile, craft, autobiographies, etc, etc. Non-fiction shows, narrates, and even gives helpful little pictures of the topic we wish to learn more about. Got it? Good. Now lets move on.

Fiction

Right, now let’s get down to business.

What is fiction writing? Fiction is totally fabricated and made up – hence why I love it so much.

Now, I myself love writing thriller and crime novels although I’m currently writing a paranormal (but that’s whole other story). Fiction has many sprogs: historical, contemporary, western, romance, science fiction, young adult. The list is endless. But, how do we know which genre is for us?

For example, as I said earlier I am currently writing a paranormal novel. But, I recently entered a competition and paranormal wasn’t an option. Instead I found ‘supernatural’. Okay, close enough,’ I thought. Paranormal – supernatural…. same thing, right?

I mean, most of the genres seem straight forward. Horror pretty much speaks for itself and you can’t go wrong with romance… Well, unless you write a romantic suspense. What does that make your novel? Romance or suspense?

If you plan on writing for Mills & Boon, then you’re pretty much covered. They have a gazillion categories for everything you can think of: medical, nocturnal, western, historical. You just can’t go wrong….unless you’re writing something that has zilch romance. Then forget Mills & Boon.

So I thought I’d try to simplify the genre dilemma a little.

Genres

Western: Howdy. If it has cowboys, horses, (maybe) a damsel in distress, a saloon and a heard of cattle being yee-hawed across a prairie between 1800 and 1890, then western is your partner.

Historical: Whether Victorian, Edwardian, or Tudor, these tend to be based around specific eras with a ton of knowledge to go along with it. If you like your history and you like your research, this just may be the one for you.

Horror: Slicing and dicing is the theme here. Lots of blood, gore, and frightening the bejesus out of your reader.

Children: Don’t confuse this with young adult. The children genre is usually aimed at toddlers and kids up to the age of eleven. So no bad language or sexual references. We don’t want mumsy-wumsy throwing a fit.

Here’s an example of how not to write for children – I warn you, it’s rude.

Young Adult: Probably the easiest way to describe this genre is to think Stephenie Meyers Twilight saga, or L.J. Smith’s (you can see her 30 second interview here), Vampire Diaries. All involving teenagers doing way much more than I did when I was their age. I was a good girl 🙂

Paranormal/Supernatural: This is a big genre at the moment. Vampires and werewolves are a hit with readers of all ages. So if it has fangs, claws, no reflection, rises from the dead, or wears a halo above its head – stick it here.

Mystery/Crime/Police Procedural/Detective: Firstly, if your opening page starts with your main character searching for her hair brush, not only does this NOT mean it’s a mystery, but I will brain you. However, if your story revolves around an unsolved crime, murder, or anything else that needs both the protagonist and your reader together searching for clues and piecing the bits like a jigsaw, then you may call it a mystery.

Fantasy: Not to be confused with science fiction, this one can be set anywhere; Earth or some made up land where unicorns, fairies, elves and trolls make an appearance – along with a magical maze and a spellbinding witch. Fantasy is totally make-believe, thank God.

Science Fiction/Sci-Fi: Futuristic aliens, robots, the distant galaxy or downtown New York; if you can explain it, no matter how far-fetched, using science, then you have yourself a genre.

Romance: Two people meet, two people fall in love, tragedy strikes, two people break up. reader cries – but then two people get back together for a happy ending and reader goes to shops to buy another box of tissues.

Chick lit: Ever read Sophie Kinsella’s Confessions of a Shopaholic or Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones Diary? How brilliant are those books? Aim at the female population to provide nothing more than humor, romance, and good old-fashioned girl power.

Thriller/Suspense/Espionage

Action/Adventure: Similar to thriller/suspense for its car chases and fight scenes, this genre is usually aimed a the male race and often uses an expert of some kind: whether ex-military, police, bomb expert, or in Sly Stallone’s case a mountain guide. Then the story will bung said hero in a jungle, dessert, or on top of a mountain. Sometime, though, if the hero is really lucky he’ll stay in his own city.

Legal Thriller: A large part of the action takes place in a court room while we run through a did-she-didn’t-she scenario. If you haven’t ever read John Grisham, surely you’ve seen his movie The Firm? No? How about Judge Judy?

Commercial/Mainstream: These are of no specific genre but are whatever is trending in the ‘moment’. They are, more often than not, plot driven and are expected by the publishing powers that be to make a ton of sales and wads of cash.

Literary: Unlike commercial novels, these tend to be more character driven. But that about ends the description. Even publishers cannot pin-point what makes a novel – literature: use of language, ability to address human conditions, it’s ‘truth’, moral ambiguity…

Right, I think that about covers it. So now it’s your turn. What genre do you write? Have you ever chosen the wrong genre? Do genre labels confuse you? Do you have a story where you are unsure of the genre? Let me know in the comments and together we’ll crack it.

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This week’s competitions that have caught my eye:

Up to 6000 words of engaging and unique fantasy/medieval adventure, written in english. The short story must trap the audience, leaving them begging for more. The standard dungeon crawlers are ok, but winners bring out the emotions of the readers as they escape reality and explore your world. Grammar and punctuation must be epic.

http://www.tavernsvault.com/

To win this competition, all you have to do is to create a story surrounding the woman in the photo published on the website and write a summary about your story. Make your summary as informative and concise as possible as you only have 300 words to make your entry stand out.

http://creativecompetitor.com/competitions/new-competitions/free-writing-competition/

Using the picture for inspiration, write a one page entry in a journal. Remember this is fiction so it can be written from any character viewpoint and be about any subject or written in any tone i.e. confidential, angry, revealing, reflective etc. Must be written in the first person style.

http://creativecompetitor.com/2011/08/27/the-journal-fiction-competition/

RWA

2011 Heart to Heart

Sponsor: San Francisco Area RWA
Fee: $15.00
Deadline: August 31, 2011 midnight *extended*
Eligibility: unpublished
Entry: the first 15 pages where your hero and heroine meet for the first time. All electronic entries – no paper submissions. No synopsis required.
Categories: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Erotic, Young Adult
Judges: PAN and PRO members, trained and unpublished members.
Final Judges:
Laura Bradford, agent from Bradford Literary Agency
Leis Pederson, editor from Berkeley
Jay Austin, ePub editor from eXtasy Books and Devine Destinies
Kimberly Myers, ePub editor from Omnific Publishing
Tera Kleinfelter, ePub editor from Samhain Publishing
More to be announced
Top Prize: Certificate
FMI, contact contest coordinator at 2011heart2heart@gmail.com or check for submission guidelines on www.sfarwa.com.

2011 Unpublished Beacon Contest

Sponsor: First Coast Romance Writers
Postmark Deadline: August 31, 2011
Eligibility: Not published in last three years.
Entry: First thirty pages, including optional synopsis.
Judges: Experienced, published, unpublished. We offer detailed feedback.
Final Judge: We’re lining up excellent judges, check out http://www.firstcoastromancewriters.com/ for more details.
Top prize: Lapel pin, all finalists receive certificate.
FMI, visit our website at: http://www.firstcoastromancewriters.com/. Email questions to contest coordinator at beaconunpub@firstcoastromancewriters.com.

2011 Melody of Love Contest

Sponsor: Music City Romance Writers
Fee: $27.00 (PayPal accepted)
Electronic Deadline: September 1, 2011
Eligibility requirements: Not published or contracted in category entered. Email or check website for specifics.
Entry: Electronic. First chapter (up to 25 pages) of unpublished novel-length manuscript (40k+) including prologue, if applicable. See website for tips.
Judges: trained, experienced, published.
Categories/Final Judges: Contemporary – Latoya C. Smith, Grand Central Publishing; Paranormal – Angela James, Carina Publishing; Historical – Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Agency; YA – Leah Hultenschmidt, Sourcebooks Fire.
Top prize: $50, certificate.
FMI, e-mail Jody Wallace at contest@mcrw.com or visit our website at www.mcrw.com.

2011 Reveal Your Inner Vixen Contest 

Sponsor: Maryland Romance Writers
Fee: $20 MRW members, $25 non-members
Opens: July 1, 2011
Deadline: September 1, 2011
Eligibility: Published and Non-Published writers
Entry: Up to 20 pages that showcase sexual tension between hero and heroine, plus unjudged 1-page set-up (optional).
Categories: Series Contemporary, Single Title, Historical, Alternative, Erotic Romance: Young Adult.
Final Judges: Editors, to be announced on http://www.marylandromancwriters.com
Top Prize: $50 and gold Vixen pin
FMI, visit www.marylandromancewriters.com or contact Jackie Gray, contest coordinator, at mrwvixen@live.com.

21st Annual Hold Me, Thrill Me! Contest

Sponsor: Southwest Florida Romance Writers
Fee: $25.00
Deadline: September 1, 2011
Entry: First 20 pages. New This Year – All Electronic. Five Separate Categories Judged.
Categories and Final Judges: Contemporary – Amanda Bergeron, Avon; Historical – Elizabeth Bistrow, NAL; Paranormal – Meredith Giordan, Berkley; Romantic Suspense – Alex Logan, Grand Central; YA – Kristin Rens, Balzer & Bray, Harper Collins.
FMI, visit our website at www.swfrw.org or email contest@swfrw.org.

Hot Prospects Contest

Sponsor: Valley of the Sun RW
Fee: $30.00 US
Deadline: September 1, 2011
Eligibility: Any RWA member in good standing.
Entry: First 25 pages of any uncontracted work and 5-page synopsis (not to exceed 30 pages total).
Judges: Trained judges, both published and unpublished.
Categories and Final Judges: Historical/Regency – Editor Katherine N. Pelz, The Berkley Publishing Group, Agent TBA; Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal – Editor Deborah Werksman, Sourcebooks, Inc., Agent Jenny Bent, The Bent Agency; Romantic Suspense – Editor Amy Pierpont, Editorial Director, Grand Central Publishing, Agent Paige Wheeler, Folio Literary Management; Contemporary Long/Single Title – Editor Jennifer Enderlin, St. Martins, Agent Michelle Grajkowski, 3 Seas Literary Agency; Series Contemporary – Editor Johanna Raisanen, Associate Editor, Harlequin, Editor Leanne Morgena, Senior Editor, Sweetheart Rose, The Wild Rose Press
Top Prize: The winner can choose between a book trailer, static banner and active banner from Firebird Web Designs for the book of their choice (a $300.00 value) or $100.00 USD.
FMI, http://www.valleyofthesunrw.com/vos-hot-prospects.htm.  

Good luck and let me know how you get on.

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