#writingcraft: The Discounted Genre

#writingcraft: The Discounted Genre
image by Matt @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/dippy_duck/

I read a fair number of blogs that are centered around writing. It was not until earlier this year that I started seeing posts about genres in particular. True, some writers would mention the genres they were interested in but did not sway away, making me consider and ponder on how much they really knew about the craft as a whole.

Sorry if this offends anyone. I just feel that the capacity of a wordsmith should go beyond what his or her preferences are. A lot can be learned from all facets.

I know I would be a klutz at writing anything about science fiction, yet I still do exercises with this type of writing because it expands my knowledge of the skill as a whole.

I could probably write a romantic story but I do not have any inclination to do so. I am one of those strange females who only sees love in the smallest of acts. The grandiose actions performed in movies and, oftentimes, in books do not strike me as being real or true. This, I am sure, is hurting my knowledge of my experience with this art.

The blogs I subscribe to have been doing a better job of running more of the gamut of genres over the last few months. Nevertheless, they seem to be overlooking a category that, in actuality, is rather extensive–the genre of non-fiction.

Although I find fault with this inattention, I will admit I am just as guilty or even more so. There were not any instances during my years in schools when I would have made such a blunder. After all, my better grades were attributed to my capabilities to write in this genre. Through these last few years, reading so many blogs about writing, I acquired a belief that was totally unfounded. The belief was the opinion that I could not call myself an author until I had a work of fiction published. Yes, ludicrous to say the least.

Where did I get this fabricated notion? After pondering on this question for several days, I, finally, decided I was putting too much reliance on the opinions of others and not nearly enough on my own experiences, opinion, and education.

After this inner deliberation, I set out to detail my knowledge a little.

There are four major types of non-fiction:

  • Narrative Writing: “This type of nonfiction tells a true story about a person, event, or place. Sometimes this kind of nonfiction can be written in the first person, but it always involves some research on the writer’s part.”
  • Expository Writing: “The purpose of this type of nonfiction writing is to explain or inform a reader about a certain topic. With expository writing, the reader may or may not have prior knowledge about the topic being discussed, so research is central to successfully executing expository nonfiction.”
  • Persuasive Writing: “With persuasive writing, the writer takes a position on an issue and argues for his or her side or against an opposing side. The writer will use facts and information to support his or her own argument while trying to influence his readers’ opinions. Normally, this kind of writing takes the form of an op-ed piece or editorial in the newspaper.”
  • Descriptive Writing: “Descriptive nonfiction employs all five senses to help the reader get a visual of what the writer is trying to describe. Sensory language, rich details, and figurative language are methods used to achieve good descriptive nonfiction.”

[quoted material from EliteEditing]

On top of this, there are thirteen subgenres and thirty-seven ways to use this type of writing.

What really perturbs me now is I know I am halfway decent at writing non-fiction, which definitely is not the case with fiction. I have spent over three years trying to do something I know I have too many weaknesses with, thinking, somehow, I can overstep them. Additionally, I have disregarded half of the field of writing, the side I actually enjoy with gusto.

I must, also, admit, that it is I who chose to subscribe to blogs that center around fictional writing. I have, since this epiphany, added blogs more suitable to what I want to learn more about in the craft.

§

Is anyone else out there struggling because of one misbelief?

“We are sitting on top of a vast cultural and historical pyramid of accumulated misconceptions, lies and myths, built one on top of the other.” ― Bryant McGill, Voice of Reason

 

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11 Replies to “#writingcraft: The Discounted Genre”

  1. To me the concept of writing genres has always been for marketing and conversation purposes. And to put an artificial box or limits around a writer.
    “What do you write?”
    “I write science fiction.”
    I rarely sit down at my computer and think, “What genre will I write?” I write stories – some true, some fiction. The whole genre thing is an interesting academic study for me, but it doesn’t do much to influence what or how I write.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. The nature of many blogs that focus on writing fiction is expository, including my own. Much of my blog describes ways to understand or improve writing fiction, because that is my interest in writing, but the blog articles themselves are often expository or narrative. You do the same here, Glynis. One of the growing fields of interest is in narrative or creative non-fiction, a major that wasn’t even offered when I was in college.

    I agree with Andrew that putting our work into a genre category is a marketing tool – it lets potential agents and editors know how to frame a book, and it attracts readers who want stories within a particular genre. Even within non-fiction, solid writing is a must, and many of the fiction writer’s rules apply as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You’ve hit on a pet peeve of mine: writers who start a critique with “I don’t write *** genre so I can’t really critique it”. Well, yes, you can. There are lots of writing skills that transcend genre. Start with those–like wordsmithing, pacing, flow.

    Sigh.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There are some writers who will not accept the criticism from others who do not write in their genre. They have it in their heads that no one can understand where they are coming from except alike minds.

      As for this post, I am disappointed in how so many writers with blogs who center their blogs around writing are ignoring this genre. A few are coming out with posts about what they have learned about non-fiction but the numbers are very few.

      Like

  4. What if you wrote something that everybody loved and it didn’t fit any of the categories? If enough people liked it, they might name a genre after your work 🙂

    I am very cautious when reading blogs that provide advice to writers. I wonder sometimes about the value. If I like writing a certain way, and someone tells me I shouldn’t, then I go into this little internal conflict, and then I push back. I don’t read a lot of genres; meaning I wouldn’t sit down with a book, but I often read a short story or flash fiction that would fall into those categories. Some of these are OK, others are really good. So, I conclude that I know what I like and I try to notice the things I like about that writer’s style.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It would be nice to think there was not a genre but even my first trip to a library proved they exist and always will. Although I took several creative writing courses throughout my years in school, there is still so much to learn. True, not every writing blog has sound advice. Some put out an attitude of being all knowing when, in fact, they are biased, not only in their knowledge but their delivery of what they know.

      I do not care for all styles either, Dan. The voice of some writers can even grate on my nerves.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I read both fiction and nonfiction and enjoy them equally when they are well written and interesting to me. I prefer to write memoir, which I think of as creative nonfiction, and opinion essays. But I’ve recently taken baby steps toward fiction. I also belong to a poetry group and write poems for it. I believe that each genre of writing I do informs and improves the others. I know writing poetry has made me more attentive to word choice and metaphor in everything I write. Finally, I think the models provided for me by good authors teach me more than blogs that focus on how to write. Thanks again, Glynis, for a though-provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Memoirs is one of those subgenres so it is non-fiction. I had written poems but it has been ages. Even at that, they were all free verse poems. I lost my desire for them long ago, I’m afraid. Now, reading your comment, I feel guilty about not dabbling in that form because of what I could gain in knowledge about writing as a whole.

      Like

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