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How to Write a Novel: Genres Part One

So how many genres are there? A lot depending on who you ask. According to dictionary.com, a genre is “a class or category of artistic endeavor having a particular form, content, technique, or the like.” And this works because genres do have a particular form, content, or technique that distinguishes them from the other genres. So let’s talk about these genres and the difference.

The Romance
These are always about trials and tribulations of relationships whether the main coupling is already in a relationship or the writers is trying to get them there. Either way, there’s always something (the person’s uncertainties, insecurities, school, job etc.) or someone making the relationship difficult or stopping it from happening all together, and the main coupling has to overcome that.
Romance is also all about the emotions. Yes a kiss and physical intimate moments can be in them, but those are the essential for erotica romances. But it’s the emotionally intimate moments, the emotional obstacles, as well as the things that threaten to ruin the current or future relationship that make a good romance. It doesn’t have to be passionate love and feelings at first sight or it doesn’t have to be that way and they’ve been together a while. Romance is about the growth of a romantic relationship despite the obstacles. It doesn’t have to have a happy ending but it doesn’t have to. In fact, I love the bittersweet romance. Anyway, here are some conventions of the romance:

The love triangle
Forbidden love
The unlikely pair
Love at first site (I hate this one most of the time)
Hate at first site (the pair starts off hating each other)
Soul mates
Temporary heartbreak
Internal antagonists (doubt, fear, insecurities etc…)
External antagonists (the person who doesn’t want the relationship to happen)
Beauty and the beast or geek, or jerk, etc….
Coincidental meetings
Fate and Destiny
Many more than I can name….

The Science Fiction
Notice that I don’t pair this with fantasy and I hate when people do it because there is a big difference between the two genres. Anyway, Sci-fi is typically in a futuristic world with all sorts of advancements like flying cars, devices that can teleport, aliens, ships travelling a light-speed to different galaxies, you name it. It can appear to be fantasy, and some sci-fi’s dance around that line, but the thing that distinguishes it from fantasy is that the things you see are in the realm of future scientific possibilities. This means that all of this is just high form of high science that may be possible in the real world one day through advancements in science. Star Trek is a prime example. Anyway some conventions are:

Flying cars
Travel between galaxies
Contact with aliens or non-human races
Inter-dimensional space travel
Advance brain capacity (telepathy telekinesis)
Discovery of new species
High tech computers
Everyone has a spaceship to go visit their family who lives on another planet
Manny more than I can name

So if fantasy isn’t sci-fi, then what is it? Fantasy is whatever the imagination can come up with and isn’t bound by realistic scientific possibilities. Its only boundaries are the writer’s imagination. In other words, anything and I mean anything can happen. This is where myth and folklore come into play. Anything and I mean anything goes. From elves, to dragons, to vampires, to magic, witches, warlocks, sorceresses… You name it.
There’s the urban fantasy which takes place in the real world where magic or fantasy isn’t the norm but creeps up which is what I write or something like Twilight (ugh). Then there’s the rural fantasy which is a straight up fantasy world where magic is the norm even though everyone has it and they believe it exists. These can take place in medieval times where people actually believed it existed or a completely made up magical world. In rural fantasy, there can sometimes be a lacking of scientific development because magic is the norm, like in Eragon or Tamora Pierce’s novels. Then there’s the something in between which is what I call Harry Potter. It has traces of urban and rural mixed together. Some conventions are:

The hero adventure
Magic, witches and warlocks
Mind Control
Magical Creatures
Fantastic worlds
Castles and Palaces
Anything your imagination can come up with

Wow… This article has gotten long and I’m about to go out of town, so stay tuned for Genres part two tomorrow.

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