Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Shut Your Mouth-Your Genre Is Showing

I was doing some research on Memoirs, just because I was curious how a nobody writes their personal story and people want to read it. If I had the clout or celebrity of Michael Crieghton, or John Grisham, maybe, but not plain old me. What I found actually had little to do with clout and everything to do with the genre where your author's voice has the most strength.<I know a lot of fiction writers, but I also know a historical writer whose been nominated for a Pulitzer prize. A woman writing a memoir to teach the world about mental disease and the role physical abuse plays, and a Super-Mom who writes and publishes her own children's books.<My curiosity became peaked with our differences as far as genre are concerned, and our similarities as far as our writing is concerned. Why do some author's speak to Young Adults? Middle Grade Readers? Adults? or Children?How do we find our "voice?
I asked a middle grade writer, a young adult writer, and a new adult writer the former question. How did you decide who to write for? Here's their answers-
Middle Grade: Cheryl Carpinello, author of The Young Knight's of The Round Table series.
"Growing up, I remember this as a time when I devoured books. I would go through a book a day. I borrowed from the public library all the time. It wasn't uncommon for me to read a book in a day! Frequently, I re-read the books if it wasn't time to go back to the library (I went once a week.). I asked for books at Christmas and on my birthday. Books were my souvenirs from a vacation.After I became a high school English teacher, I encountered many students who didn't like to read. Over the years, I realized that those students either />had problems reading in elementary school, or couldn't find a topic/subject that sparked their imagination. During this same time, I taught the Legend of King Arthur. The students loved this unit. Some who hadn't read anything I assigned became excited about Arthur and started reading. Some of my other non-readers still didn't read, but found the summaries of the works we were reading and read those so that they could participate in the discussions.
A couple of years before I retired from teaching, I decided to write Arthurian Tales for ages 8-13. My hope is to hook those reluctant readers, as I call them, and get them excited about reading."<br /><br /><br /> Young Knights of the Round Table: The King's Ransom - Read Now - On the Eve of Legend Read Now -
Young Adult:Alyssa Shrout, contributing Author to
"When I was a teenager, I enjoyed reading, but found some of the required classics to be tedious to read (who doesn't?). However, when I discovered the YA genre (still a pretty new genre at the time), I was hooked on reading. I voraciously devoured every book I could get my hands on, from Harry Potter to Tuck Everlasting to anything Lois Lowry wrote. I'd finally felt that I'd found my niche, my connection to the world, through the YA voice. It wasn't until I was in my twenties, though, when I was STILL reading YA that I dared to consider writing in the same genre. There were too many YA books that had changed my perception of the world, and writing couldn't be so hard, could it?  I still remember my first attempted book. It was about a girl who kept eluding Death (who was a man). I mostly wrote random scenes in a semi-chronological order because I had no idea how to plot. When I realized how boring my story was, I got discouraged and stopped writing for a while. Then I heard the whispers of two characters...Devi and Silas. I spent some time getting to know them in my head until I couldn't stop myself from getting up early in the morning before my toddler woke up and writing their conversations and story down. It's a story that's evolved over the past six years into something better than I thought it could ever be when I started.
Even though I enjoy reading books written in the adult market, it's YA that I frequently return to reading. It could be that, at heart, I don't feel I've aged a day past 17 years old. Or maybe it's because, as a teenager, it feels as though the world is wide open and thrumming with infinite possibilities of what to do, who to be, where to go. Whatever the reason, time and again, the characters that call to me are most often in the YA age range, so I gravitate to this genre most." or look for her upcoming novels on goodreads.
New Adult: Traci McDonald, author of Killing Casanova
"Yes...this one is me. Partly because this genre is new and when I started writing I didn't know where my voice belonged. The truth is I still don't. I've been told I write for the 18-28 age range but not in the last part of college/first day of the rest of my life way that NA is known for. I've been categorized as Chick-lit. women's fiction, and adult romance/suspense. Maybe all of that means I don't have a genre. I write characters in their early to mid twenties because this was a powerful, life changing time for me. I went through college, Nannying in New York, severe health problems, and a spiritual awakening that included the loss of my eyesight and the discovery of my true self. Your twenties are a magical, miraculous time as well as being terrifying, terrible, and heartbreaking. Teen aged characters, for me, were too immature to "know" anything. Although I read a lot of YA and thouroughly enjoy it. Probably because I wish I'd been a wise, mature teenager, like the characters in the books. I don't write for people above thirty because I enjoy writing about the experience of falling in love. Since I did that when I was twenty five, I don't have the expertise to know about it from a mature perspective. The world is a teeming tide pool of love, laughter, and experience when you're in your twenties. Writing for this genre feels limitless in possability.", twitter tracimcauthor, or on
So if you're looking for the genre where you might find your voice, discovering the period of time in your life when you had the best experiences with life, with books, or with learning to love to read, you might just find your voice. Before you know it your genre will be showing.

1 comment:

  1. Traci, I enjoyed your post. Thanks for including me.