Outside Genre: How Story Trumps Convention
The first thing most beginning writers learn is that their work must fit into an established genre. People will ask, “What do you write – thrillers, mysteries, literary fiction?” Each genre has its own rules, which writers learn when they attend writers’ workshops and conferences. For mysteries, the main rule seems to be: plot first. But what if, like me, the biggest mysteries in your life are the people who live with and around you? What if, like me, one of your favorite books in the world involves an old man sitting in a cabin by himself where in terms of plot, nothing happens? Can the development of character provide the same jolt that the unraveling of a crime provides in a traditional mystery? This presentation will address the notion of genre, why it’s important, and why, most of the time, your concept for your story should be held above all else.