Genre writing is a fascinating and ever-evolving craft that has captivated readers for centuries. From epic fantasies full of dragons and magic to sultry romantic novels that make us swoon, there is a genre for every reader’s taste.
An essential part of the literary world, the diversity and flexibility of genre writing have allowed for a plethora of captivating stories to be told, transporting readers to another world altogether. A great genre novel not only entertains but also challenges our imagination and allows us to reflect on the realities of our world. But what sets great genre writing apart from the mediocre or clichéd?
Transporting readers to another world
A great genre novel transports us to another world, whether it’s a parallel universe or a fictional town in rural England. It’s a world that the author has taken the time to create in intricate detail, complete with its own history, customs, and unique features. In this world, the characters seem real and the storylines believable. We grow to care about the characters and become invested in their journey, whether it’s to save the world, solve a mystery, or find true love.
Genre writing transports readers to another world by immersing them in a new and unfamiliar setting, complete with its own rules and customs. It allows readers to escape their current reality and enter a world that is entirely different from their own.
The careful attention to detail, such as the description of the scenery, the unique features of characters, and the history and lore of the world, brings it to life and makes it feel real. By engaging the reader’s imagination and senses, genre writing creates an opportunity for readers to experience and explore a new world, allowing them to see life from different perspectives.
Through the characters’ thoughts, feelings, and actions, readers are transported into their mindset and can empathize with their struggles and triumphs. Ultimately, genre writing offers a sense of adventure and wonder, inviting readers to explore unfamiliar territory and tantalizing them with intriguing possibilities.
A blend of familiarity and originality
Great genre writing must balance originality and familiarity. Readers crave a sense of familiarity, such as the classic tropes of the hero’s journey or the damsel in distress. However, if the reader can predict every twist and turn, the story becomes dull. That’s where originality comes in.
Mixing familiar elements with unexpected surprises is key to crafting an unforgettable story. An excellent example of this is the Harry Potter series, where the wizarding world is a familiar theme but is interwoven with fresh ideas and unexpected plot twists.
Helpful writing tips
Balancing familiarity and originality is a crucial aspect of creating great genre writing. Here are some tips to help you achieve this balance:
- Study the tropes: Tropes are the recurring themes and motifs that are commonly used in genre writing. Knowing these tropes inside and out will help you understand what readers expect from your genre. It will also help you create fresh and original ways to use them.
- Put a twist on the familiar: Take a familiar trope and put your unique spin on it. For example, if you’re writing a romantic novel, instead of having the main character fall in love with the stereotypical good-looking guy, try having them fall for someone unexpected, like a person with a disability or someone from a different culture.
- Use fresh perspectives: Instead of writing from the standard perspective, try switching it up. For example, write from the perspective of the “villain” or a side-character. This can create a refreshing new take on a familiar genre.
- Incorporate real-world issues: Creating a connection between your genre novel and real-world issues is another way to balance familiarity and originality. By incorporating current events or topics that are important to you, you can create a sense of relevancy for your readers.
With these tips in mind, you can craft a genre novel that captures the attention of readers while also providing them with fresh and exciting new perspectives.
Bridging reality and escapism
Great genre writing must bridge the gap between escapism and reality. Genre novels often offer a way for readers to escape from the real world and immerse themselves in a world of magic or adventure. But these novels must also provide an element of connection to reality, whether it’s by touching on universal themes like love, loss, or family or by providing social commentary on current issues like climate change or societal inequality. When done well, genre writing can even help readers navigate the complexities of real life.
Helpful writing tips
1. Create a believable world with attention to detail: A richly detailed, believable world is essential to transporting readers to another realm. But the world must also have a connection to reality, with details that readers can recognize.
2. Develop realistic characters: Characters need to be relatable and have realistic motivations, reactions, and dialogue. This helps readers to connect emotionally and intellectually with them.
3. Balance fantasy with reality: Integrate realistic elements into the fantasy world, such as current social issues or diverse cultures, to add depth and provide a bridge to reality.
4. Incorporate familiar elements: Use familiar tropes or themes, such as a quest or a love story, but provide a unique twist to avoid predictable storylines.
5. Add complexity: A great genre story should not be too simplistic, but instead, have multiple layers to keep readers engaged and provide depth to the narrative.
6. Use allegory: Use allegory to explore real-world issues and provide social commentary.
7. Emphasize the human element: Whether dealing with sci-fi or fantasy, grounding the story with a human-centered approach, like exploring personal relationships or the characters’ emotional states, can help readers relate and connect to the characters.
Great genre writing takes readers on a journey to another world, offers originality while balancing familiarity, and provides a bridge between escapism and reality. Just like any great work of literature, it should move us, make us think, and leave us satisfied.