This article was originally published in The Writer’s Everything, Issue #006.
The Purpose Of Writing Concepts
Every week, published in my writing magazine, The Writer’s Everything, Writing Concepts will discuss a major piece of knowledge that authors would do well to be aware of.
This week, the topic of Writing Concepts is “Genre Conventions.”
Genre conventions are the story elements that are common, if not unique, to the genre in which an author chooses to write their story.
While a dozen writers may have the same idea for a novel, it’s up to each individual to choose how they want to tell it. A large part of that involves the genre which the author chooses for their book.
The same story, such as that of a computer system successfully achieving self-awareness, could be told as a highly intellectual psychological thriller (Ex Machina), a high-octane action film (The Terminator), an action- oriented murder mystery (I, Robot), or a heart-warming but potent character drama (A.I. Artificial Intelligence).
Every genre is defined by different and unique characteristics and events. These genre conventions have developed over decades, if not centuries. As readers and watchers consume hundreds of stories in their favorite genres, they come to recognize, and even expect, certain things from those stories.
A romantic comedy will almost always have the couple get into a major argument just minutes before realizing the truth about each other and running back into their open arms.
A ‘whodunit’ will almost always have an ensemble cast packed full of colorful individuals, each one with a long and storied past filled to the brim with connections to the murder victim.
Genre conventions are not set in stone. No author is obligated to write a story beat simply because it’s common in the genre in which they are writing. Middle ground must be found between fulfilling reader expectations, and creating a novel that is derivative.
The Writer’s Everything
This article, as well as many others, have been featured in previous issues of my writing journal, The Writer’s Everything, in which I, along with occasional guest contributors, provide essays, guides, encouragement, motivation, writing prompts, character bio development kits, and anything else that can help you turn your dream of becoming a writer into a reality.
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