Wednesday, January 23, 2013

8 Genres. 8 Experiences.



Last summer, Editorial Director of Baker Books, Chad R. Allen wrote a memorable post entitled, How to Write Stuff Everyone Wants to Read. He emphasized how, as writers, we are crafting experience. In his post, Allen challenges writers to engage the imagination.

I thought I’d play with your imagination a little today.

Allen’s point about inventing experiences that rival reality made me think of how various genres stir unique feelings in us. While every book should roll out an intricately woven one-of-a-kind carpet to captivate its intended readers, I had fun envisioning the experiences the following eight genres tend to evoke.

8 Genres. 8 Experiences.

Suspense
Jolting sensation of riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster in The Magic Kingdom. Plot twists catch in your lungs like unexpected gear shifts.

Romance
Gondola. Fingers entwined in yours. Sigh in your chest. Brushstrokes of sunlight painting whorls of shimmer across the water and in your loved one’s eyes.

Historical Fiction
Meandering through museum halls. Absorbing the well-placed recordings of times gone by. Swept up in the past.

Fantasy or Dystopian
Hobbit meets the White Witch. A play. Disguised and in costume. Dragons breathing fire. Crowd cheering as the halo encircling Katniss alights in a wreath of flames.

Children’s
Playground. High-pitched joy-born giggles. Erupting in non-stop smiles, warmed by endless possibilities resplendent in youth.

Crime
Yellow police tape snapping in the wind. Blood spatter. Quivering angst-filled anxiety rotisserie turning in your gut, pushing you to solve it.

Literary
Coffee shop. Shot of espresso springing your brain to an intoxicating awakened awareness. Craving to touch everything you see in order to take it all in anew.

My books (women’s fiction)
Remember this experience? I want to bring it back for you…

Breaking in a sprint to reach your beloved tree. Heart bursting in your chest as you climb and swing. Devotion coursing through you as you carve your initials into the bark, proud to say you’ve been there. Hope swelling as you gather wood and begin to construe a plan for building a tree house. Come one, come all. A club house—a book club house inspired to include all those who love to read.

Can't wait to see that day—to watch as you run to the tree I’ve planted!

Can you think of other experiences specific genres churn inside of us? What experience are you hoping to create for readers of your books? What experience do you love having as a reader?

photos by stock.XCHNG

8 comments:

  1. You captured each genre! I want women to curl up with my book and nod their heads in understanding--I hope they can see themselves in my main characters. :)

    Love that picture...

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  2. Love this! I like reading almost all of these genres, so I must like a range of feelings! ;) And I can't wait for the day when I get to read your books.

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  3. Great job capturing the experience of different genres. As a reader, the thing I hope most to experience, no matter the genre, is to meet characters that live and breath rather than sit on the page, characters that become my friends. As I writer, that's the same experience I hope to give to readers.

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  4. As a reader (I love historical fiction) I read to capture an era gone by - something completely out of my realm of experience. I love to learn about cultures and people who have lived before us, to better understand who we are today. There is something very romantic to me about history. I'd much rather spend a day in 1898 than 2013 (okay - only if I have all my modern conveniences...)

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  5. I love it! You did a great job, Wendy. As a reader, I love to become the characters, cheer for them, laugh and cry with them and learn something about myself and this world from a hopeful view. I want my readers to experience the same from my writing.

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  6. Ooh, masterfully expressed...especially the women's fiction one. :)

    Rom-com: I love, love, love hanging out with my sisters or best girlfriends when we can go from laughing our heads off to serious, maybe even tearful moments in a matter of mere minutes. That's what I love in a well-done romantic comedy.

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  7. Shared this over at my Author FB page. Love the way you look at things.

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  8. I like the descriptions of each genre. As a reader, I prefer stories that come across as real adventures of the characters. As a writer, I fall short in this department. That may be why I write devotions, newsletters, and columns.

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