How to write fiction

How to write fiction taking advantage of genre

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Tags…not everybody likes to be tagged. Generalising or not, being x, y or Covid generation. Hipster, bohemian, queer; the truth is every one of us would like to belong to one and only category of being ourselves.

Nonetheless, to the given case of fiction narrative, the genre tags are there to guide the reader/audience into the right decision AND an outline or instant guide on what is required to comply with the plot.

To Robert McKee, one should choose a genre and believe on it, stubbornly[1]. Why? Cause the correct genre helps TO STABLISH THE RIGHT EXPECTATIONS. The reader/audience knows what to expect and where to expect it. A bad choice of genre is like go buying Playboy and open the magazine to read religious stories… besides the naked models.

Such is worthy, even for novels. Even when your name is a niche in itself. Ray Bradbury is not someone to fit to a T horror, science fiction or any other genre you might catalogue him into. He is his own genre. Regardless, he is still within library code to find him among a bunch of books.

Yet…Yeah, I’ve got a case to destroy the genre argument. Asimov. A guy that must have adorable in his lectures, in the clubs he was member of and as an author in book fairs…He admired Agatha Christie and P. G. Wodehouse —I like them both a lot too— which is why he included word games to humorize his stuff. He even has an essay “About humour”.

The problem lies in —I haven’t read a single one of his pieces in English — it isn’t funny. Not even with imagination aid and the defense of his honour by arguing how untranslatable is the joke to Spanish. Not to say the riddles of The black widowers are irking and arrogant and… in general, disagreeable to any under privileged mind[2]. To solve those, you need an IQ of over 100, belong to MENSA or to have read and remember every single Shakespeare line plus miscellaneous data[3]. Unlike the queen of mystery, whose craft needs only logic —and logic ain’t within my strengths. Still, I’ve been able to solve two of all the crimes I’ve read so far. 

The genre and its demands are not just a know-it-all-about-inside-out matter. It comes from affinity too. I read manga, manhua, manhwa and webtoon; particularly boy love. Why? Because shoujo genre uses to be cliché over cliché, in a way that seems that if you read one, you read them all. FAIRY TALES in which the characters get the flu, fall, need to be rescued… So the exaggeration applied to the same principles with masculine details used in boy love, made of this genre something fun and even cute. Till the genre little by little fell in a sort of slump similar to shoujo. And this doesn’t mean that shoujo or boy love doesn’t have its great exceptions. Sometimes, there is someone who thinks hard enough how to exploit better the conventions of the genre. lost, right? Cutting to the chase, if we match what I like reading with what I end up writing; you can see how genre goes hand by hand with natural affinity. I want to be serious; I end up being ironic and funny. Want to be cold, brainy and scientific? Magic and feelings come out. But never of the kind “read thread of destiny”… Whenever I want to be dignified and mathematical; I end up being Mozart writing to Nannette. Which takes me to Quino.

Quino hated being in people’s minds because of Mafalda. He wanted things like “Yo estoy bien y usted” to be also regarded as his. So maybe, maybe it isn’t a matter of just a conscious decision to know what genre suits us better. Perhaps we need to dig deep into our brain. And face on what comes from it.

What genre do you write?

[1] Story. Of scriptwriting. Robert McKee.

[2] Like mine, completely average.

[3] Note that Asimov is one of my writing models and I like many of his stories.

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