by C. LaRene Hall
Genre Promises and Reader Expectations by Tristi Pinkston was a fun class.
What is the promise you are making to your reader when you write in a specific genre? Why is it important to keep your promise? You must follow expectations of the genre otherwise; your readers will feel you lied to them. You want the readers to be comfortable. You want them to know what they are getting.
If multiple genre – The second word is the main or key genre.
What are the different genres, and what are the promises or expectations that go along with each?
Romance – Boy meets girl or boy notices girl. Include first impressions. Then you have to have conflict. Something that is going to keep the two of them apart. Something large enough to focus on conflict. Then realize feelings. Show relationship strong enough to overcome what has happened to them. When you get to the end you have to have a happy ever after. A moment of realization. If you don’t have this moment you don’t have a romance.
Historical – Characters should be fictional because you can do what you want to them and then you put them in a setting. The setting for historical is very important. See how the characters react to the historical event they are witness to.
Regency – Setting is crucial. You have to see where they are, how they dress, what they do for a living, and modes of transportation. This helps your reader see that era.
Mystery – Something mysterious is going on. You want to mislead. You want clues. You want to be able to figure it out. Don’t make it obvious. You want lots of clues. With suspense we usually know who the bad guy is. Show emotion and response to the hunting. Someone being hunted, then they help save themselves.
Coming of Age – Character grows up in a significant way or an emotional growth. Some kind of event that we know he learned what he needed to learn. It can be adventure, romance, but the key factors are the character is flawed in maturity and they learn to be more mature in what they experienced.
How can you shake things up a little and deliver a truly different story, but still meet your obligation to your reader? Shaking it up a little more – when writing a romance you might investigate where they meet, something unusual. Have realistic conflicts but not the same old.
Every book should have some form of character growth. You have things that happen throughout the course of a year to shift the way you are. You grow and so should your characters. The readers will expect growth. It doesn’t have to be monumental. If the character hasn’t changed, why write the book?
The more you learn the rules, the more you know the rules, the more you learn how to break them. Once you learn to bend the rules you can break out of the patterns.