Wednesday, October 5, 2022

The Genre Debate (#IWSG October 2022)

I am the shadow on the moon at night
Filling your dreams to the brim with fright

Happy Halloween month, everyone!

The Fall season is always a busy time for me (when isn't it?) First we have back to school in September, then comes October, which in our household involves more prep work than Christmas. Starting two years ago, we've been hosting highly-involved Haunted Houses for the kids in the family. The first time was due to Halloween being cancelled due to Covid, but the kids have insisted we keep it going. This year I may be painting the entire basement black. This may or may not be a good idea.

Next month is November, which is a crazy writing time as I prepare the family books for Christmas presents, followed by December which is of course always a write-off in terms of being productive.

I'll get back to finishing Gale Harbour Book 3 eventually...

October Question
What do you consider the best characteristics of your favorite genre?

Oh, this is a rant I've been meaning to go on for awhile, so this is a perfect opportunity to do so.

My gut reaction to "what is your favourite genre" is for me to say "comedy," but comedy isn't really a genre. It's a style of writing that can be added to any other genre (and should be, IMHO). So that means that my favourite genre is probably fantasy or sci-fi. Except...


"Robots" by itself is not a genre. "Robot-erotica," on the other hand...

I will admit, I got this idea from Shawn Coyne's The Story Grid, but I completely agree with it. A "genre" describes the plot of a story - genres are meant to include specific plot points, in order to let their readers know what to expect. A mystery has to have an inciting crime, a villain's MacGuffin and the exposure of the criminal. A romance has triangles, secrets and lovers split-up/reuniting. There is a little more to it than that, and there are always exceptions, but the framework is the key and very specific. That's what makes a genre. 

How do you define "Fantasy" and "Sci-Fi"? Fantasy generally takes place in a secondary world (or our world with different rules), and includes some system of magic. Sci-Fi takes place in a "futuristic" world and includes technology that seems potentially possible (magic based in science). None of these things describe the actual story, they describe the setting where your story takes place.

Fantasy and Sci-Fi aren't genres, they're SETTINGS.

You can have a fantasy action story (Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson), or a fantasy mystery (anything by Jim Butcher or Charlaine Harris). You can have a sci-fi horror story (the original Terminator or Alien) or a sci-fi romance (pretty much any anime or manga from the last 30 years). Fantasy and Sci-Fi says nothing about the plot by themselves. You can't have a fantasy or sci-fi story without a plot (well you can, but it would be terrible). You have to layer a genre on top of it. 

Come at me.

Huge & Kisses,

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at

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