Home » Writing

Selecting A Genre In Which To Write

Jun 5, 2008
A short time ago, I suggested to other retired workaholics the idea of attempting to write a novel. Granted, the idea was not an original one, but rather suggested to me by my wife because I was a little at loose ends after my ten to twelve-hour days began to shrink. I suggested that the idea would be especially appealing to anyone whose business had been in research, teaching or similar vocations.

I had suggested writing in the historical genre because it happened to be a personal favorite. The others available are legion, of course, and some require little to no research. Chick-lit was an overwhelming favorite for some time (although I understand it is waning today) and required no research whatsoever. I believe the genre would be quite a far stretch for the retiree, however.

If you want to stick to genre writing, Mysteries, Romance and Adventure always are a good bet. Mysteries probably are the toughest to tackle. They require an agile mind that can come up with twisting plots and believable characters. They have moved far from the old 'the butler did it' days.

Today, sophisticated techniques, including DNA sequencing, are quite generally understood by the public and are expected to be used. A working knowledge of police work and their procedures also is mandatory. Police lieutenants, for example, more usually do not go around investigating crimes. By the time they reach this rank, they really are in an executive position. There can be exceptions, of course. The lieutenant may be new to the precinct and may be making the rounds when a murder occurs. If he were young, his tendency could well be to become more personally involved. You would need to explain a situation of this nature, however. Mystery story readers are a dedicated breed who know the rules and will severely chastise anyone who does not follow them.

Adventure tales are a good choice, if the writer has a good imagination, or has been fortunate, or unfortunate, enough to experience adventure of various sorts. Once again, I cannot express strongly enough the need for thoroughly researching the place, time and people involved. A recent book review I read pointed out a specific error in the novel where a brazier was part of a costume in a period of time several years before the undergarment was manufactured.

Another fault often encountered is lack of attention to detail. I recently was chugging along happily in an adventure story when suddenly the rifle the man was carrying was referred to as a shotgun and two pages later again reverted to a rifle. Mistakes of this nature give the reader an unpleasant jolt, and if they occur in any number, discourage a reader from looking for more offerings by the same writer. Quoting from a recent review with respect to another book, "The author's attention to detail is superb - it is one of the qualities I look for in a truly good book." Most reviewers look for the same.

Romance, of course is the genre that has had the greatest lasting power. It might be said to have begun with Jayne Eyre and Wurthering Heights in the 1840's. Before that, reading of novels was considered morally wrong, especially for young ladies 'whose passions might be unnecessarily excited.' Religious readings and the writings of Bulwer-Lytton (most notably, The Last Days of Pompeii) were those recommended.

However, it was not long before novels by Victor Hugo, and others, began to appear in abundance and it appeared that the seeds of the 'Romance Novel' had taken root. And the heroine changed dramatically. The heroine of Alexander Dumas Fils' Camille, was a prostitute. Mrs. Henry Wood's novel East Lynne, published a little later, depicted adultery, bigamy, double identity and murder. From here, the run was on, and today's publishers rarely will turn down a good romance novel. The one problem with the genre, is you've got to think that way. However, if you can, you're pretty sure of having a career as an author.
About the Author
John H. Manhold is a retired professor and scientific journal editor. He is an author of several textbooks, a lexicon in four languages and now novels that often require extensive research. He provides coaching on various types and phases of writing. Please see John Manhold for more information, and an address.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 247
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors