Thursday, February 9, 2017

Researching Your Genre

If writers want to improve their writing, one of the best things they can do is to research their genre. This is not so much an issue of taking workshops or reading books. This is all about reading extensively in your genre. I would also add that it is important to read genres from the publishers that you want to submit to. The more you do this, the more you will understand the nuances.
Here is the thing to consider. You should not be reading to just get the plots. You need to take the time to read and see if you can spot patterns in the writing. This may include things such as how the back story is put forth by the author. How long the paragraphs are. How much world building is included. And even take a look at the type of characters and tropes that seem to be showing up.

It is also important to understand that things change over time. Sure, reading the classic authors is fun, but things change. Read those new authors that are coming out. This is going to give you an idea of what the editors are now looking for. Reading the established authors may give you a wrong idea. Remember, they are established and can pretty much get away with a lot of things because they already have a following.

I teach a workshop called Dissecting the Novel. This is really what you need to do with your reading. Don't just read for pleasure, but really take the time to dissect that story. Pull it apart. Examine the pieces. Do this on a regular basis, and then go back to examine your own writing. This might give you an idea of what is working and not working in your own stories.

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