This week I am off the regularly scheduled topic. We will returned to the regular programming shortly. Hopefully. I am crossing my fingers.
Public Service Announcement:
My schedule has been a bit of a stramash over the last few weeks with some family emergencies thrown in for good measure. Let me just start by reminding you to take the time to say “I love you” to your family and friends. You will never regret telling someone you love them. You will only regret NOT telling them. Just say it.
On to the Writing Topic of the Day: Genre and Trope
I did some freelance work recently, which reminded me of the importance for writers to know in advance what kind of book they want to write. Don’t waste weeks, months, or years buy aimlessly writing a story that goes nowhere and doesn’t fit on a shelf in any bookstore. If your goal is to write commercial fiction, you have to follow the expected pattern for that particular kind of commercial fiction.
The purpose of writing commercial fiction is so the most possible number of readers will read it. Right? We want readers to read and love our stories. This means that authors have to meet reader expectations if they want to sell books.
So let’s talk about commercial fiction and what that means.
Commercial fiction a.k.a. genre fiction novels are stories that fall into specific categories (mystery, western, etc.). These categories exist because readers know what kind of book they want to read.
Think about the last time you walked into a bookstore. You already knew what kind of book you wanted to read most likely, right? So do most readers.
Ruby Reader walked into her local bookstore knowing that she wanted to read a cute little romance book. The bookseller, wanting to sell as many books as possible, grouped all the cute little romance books together into one section so that Ruby reader could easily find what she was looking for. She found her cute little romance book, and another, and another, and instead of buying one book, she purchased five books.
That’s just good business.
Commercial fiction has trope requirements to make readers happy. Remember, it’s all about selling books.
Genre, and the required tropes for each genre, allow you, and the publisher if you traditionally publish, and the bookseller, to target a specific audience for each book. Each genre has it’s own story patterns because that is what readers want. They know, for example, like Ruby Reader, that they are looking for a cute little romance, and what that cute little romance should look like. Your job as the author, is to make Ruby Reader happy regardless of the genre she feels like reading.
You must follow the expected patterns and tropes for your genre.
Don’t know what the tropes are for the genre you want to write? Do some research on your genre. Make your story idea fit the reader expected pattern so your book will fit on a shelf and your reader can find it. Remember, it’s all about making readers happy.