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  1. #21
    Luckyscars, Taylor. I’m not at all sure that this tale of the French Revolution is a romance and that is part of this thread— really getting down to what genre we are talking about. The couple do not get together at any time nor even move closer to it. But I really like the idea of picking someone lower class to tell the story. That’s really effective in Year of Wonders and that movie with Rachel Weiss about the burning of the library of Alexandria... I think that was based on a book (I should look into it). It’s told from the perspective of a slave in love with Hypatia.

    This is why I asked about the literary genre I need to read the articles again, but it didn’t seem like they had nailed down any obligatory scenes for literary genre.

    I think some love interest can be in any story, but if it’s a romance genre the tension between the two characters and whether they get together or not is the main plot and conflict of the book.

  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Llyralen View Post
    This is why I asked about the literary genre I need to read the articles again, but it didn’t seem like they had nailed down any obligatory scenes for literary genre.
    Just to be clear, how are you using the term "literary genre"? I thought it was the over-arching term for all genres of fiction. And then it is broken down into the various sub categories, i.e. romance, science fiction, thriller, fantasy, etc. So for the greater category, there wouldn't be any OS.

    I'm not sure that answers your OP. But is it possible that you are not falling directly into a genre?

    You needn't be fearful of it possibly being marketing as a historical romance. You would be be in good company, i.e. Jane Austin, Jane Ayre, Wuthering Heights, Gone with the Wind, Dr, Chivago, etc.

    Depending on your timeframe, maybe you could add the word "epic". Perhaps an 'epic romance' would give it more weight.
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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Llyralen View Post
    This is why I asked about the literary genre I need to read the articles again, but it didn’t seem like they had nailed down any obligatory scenes for literary genre.
    Literary is kind of a wild card like that. With genre fiction you more or less know what your heading into when you start reading. Meantime, being a kind of catch-all non-genre is part of what makes lit-fic so hard to pin down.

    A piece of fiction in any category that doesn't conform to the expectation probably fits. Same for a work that's beautifully told but lacks any appreciable plot or resolution; sometimes the telling is the art moreso than the story.

    Can the mundane be interesting and still not cater to the OS&C?
    I hope it can. At face value, most of the character development shorts I have planned are rooted in the mundane. I mean...the last one I put was ~400 words about a guy cutting himself shaving. The one before that was about leaving home under bad circumstances. I'm chewing through a rewrite of a twenty-page monster about helping people who don't appreciate it. One's about getting a dog. One's about getting involved, however well-intentioned, in the affairs of neighbors. None of this is earth-shattering stuff. It happens all the time, and unless you're directly effected you'd likely never know anything happened at all.

    Thinking on it some more, I'd forward the theory that lit-fic generally happens around characters and genre-fic generally happens around plots.

    I may have to revisit this later and see it holds under scrutiny.
    Last edited by JBF; March 1st, 2021 at 03:47 AM.

  4. #24
    I was wrong.

    My book on the Greenland Norse is not nearly as much of a romance as I was thinking. I am re-thinking this all as well... there is one scene I’ve written— and I don’t have much written— that would make it mean to anyone like it was romance genre, I think and I have now decided ultimately it isn’t a romance because whether they get together or not is I plan on my protagonist having 2 or maybe 3 marriages, depending on how it goes while I’m writing it. Probably her childhood sweetheart then an old man whom her brothers pretty much force her to marry and then an Inuit “heathen” man as her society is getting demolished and she finds a home with the Inuit tribe that takes her and her two children in. Her sense of connection to higher meaning/higher powers and with humans and nature are the main themes in the book.

    I originally wanted to write a warning about the environment and then I realized Jared Diamond was wrong (as most researchers have realized and said). The Norse didn’t collapse due to environmental change. There were cultural changes working against them. Well— it’s really complex but has more to do with British pirate raids for slaves, being cut off from Norway by trade guilds and by the fact that Norway which supplied their lumber and way of life was decimated by the plague was then taken over by the Swede-Danish-Norwegian new monarchy. Norway never really recovered from the plague— it killed 60-70% of the population and the population did not recover. Yeah, it has been interesting to study and also to realize that really I’m writing a spiritual journey for her to feel at peace with mankind after her uncle is burned as a witch by the priest and church she trusted. Its been very interesting and it’s kind of nice to story board a bit here.

    Basically I need to make sure I’m not writing full romance scenes in a “literary” genre, but some is fine. These marriages very much determine a big part of her quality of life and experiences.

  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by JBF View Post
    Literary is kind of a wild card like that. With genre fiction you more or less know what your heading into when you start reading. Meantime, being a kind of catch-all non-genre is part of what makes lit-fic so hard to pin down.

    A piece of fiction in any category that doesn't conform to the expectation probably fits. Same for a work that's beautifully told but lacks any appreciable plot or resolution; sometimes the telling is the art moreso than the story.



    I hope it can. At face value, most of the character development shorts I have planned are rooted in the mundane. I mean...the last one I put was ~400 words about a guy cutting himself shaving. The one before that was about leaving home under bad circumstances. I'm chewing through a rewrite of a twenty-page monster about helping people who don't appreciate it. One's about getting a dog. One's about getting involved, however well-intentioned, in the affairs of neighbors. None of this is earth-shattering stuff. It happens all the time, and unless you're directly involved you'd likely never know anything happened at all.

    Thinking on it some more, I'd forward the theory that lit-fic generally happens around characters and genre-fic generally happens around plots.

    I may have to revisit this later and see it holds under scrutiny.

    I think that’s what the articles are saying too, there was something in there about the fight for soul being thr “real” issue and I’d agree with that. There’s usually questions of morality that are very important, almost considered more important than life or death in literary “genre”.

  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
    Just to be clear, how are you using the term "literary genre"? I thought it was the over-arching term for all genres of fiction. And then it is broken down into the various sub categories, i.e. romance, science fiction, thriller, fantasy, etc. So for the greater category, there wouldn't be any OS.

    I'm not sure that answers your OP. But is it possible that you are not falling directly into a genre?

    You needn't be fearful of it possibly being marketing as a historical romance. You would be be in good company, i.e. Jane Austin, Jane Ayre, Wuthering Heights, Gone with the Wind, Dr, Chivago, etc.

    Depending on your timeframe, maybe you could add the word "epic". Perhaps an 'epic romance' would give it more weight.
    The articles use that term too, meaning a character-changing “literary” book. Basically like classics like Catcher On the Rye and The Great Gatsby. See what I wrote (above), I wrote it first to you but then thought I better quote. Sometimes I can’t find people’s replies very easily.

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
    This is much more interesting and creative than the first plot.I like it!

    However wouldn't this go against what Elizabeth Craig was saying in the OP article, about not disappointing your reader? I would think an obligatory scene would be them getting together -- no? If he is secretly in love with Francoise, and it is from his POV, then the reader would become invested in the love story. You risk a let down at the end. This is always the problem when you walk away from genre conventions. I'm all for it, don't get me wrong, but to respond to the OP wouldn't one need to give the reader a head's up. Perhaps the copy states it's a "tragic love story."


    Or could there be a period where they get together? But she dies anyway from something else. Then at least they would have those OS together. Perhaps he helps her escape but she must live with him in his modest quarters. But she is too delicate and becomes ill and he tries to keep her alive, but fails. Itís already starting to sound like something Iíve read...lol!

    This stuff is hard!
    I had some fun looking at it from different genres that the articles talked about (thereís a bit of duplicateó too much cutting and pasting on a mobile phone, but below are some genre spin-offs of your cool story.

    I think some love interest can be in any story, but if itís a romance genre the tension between the two characters and whether they get together or not is the main plot and conflict of the book.

    If it was a thriller then it would center around the life and death questionó the possibility of getting away. But it focuses instead on this young manís soul. One of these articles was talking about modern super-thrillers combining hero and victim in the protagonist. You need a strong villain and then also it being ultimately about the protagonistís soul.

    I think itís an interesting exercise to think of how to tell essentially the same story in each genre. If this was a romance then it would be between the girl, Francoise, and the prince (a brother or cousin of the king? Queen Antoinetteís sons were young) and maybe he would try to pass as a commoner to save himself and her. Would he end up killing others as the executioner in order to be in a position to save his love? What if neither one made it. If this one was a life or deathó this super thriller that that article seems to describeó then what I would have Francoise be the hero/victim and she would have to try to save her family and maybe have to do some horrible things to get into position to save them, it would take a good villain according to what we are reading.

  8. #28
    One night watching Mad Men the one where January Jones’ character finds out her husband Don Draper isn’t who he says he is... she was stumbling onto his old records and you were terrified for her. I’m sure anyone watching it would have been just terrified. Whatever they did, they did it right. It felt real. I was dying for her, and since I could barely handle it, I turned it off and switched to Big Love on the next channel where the red headed guy who will do them harm shows up. When lightning strikes he is right outside by the sliding glass door. And it was kind of cornet and not scary and I thought to myself “A potential murderer outside the sliding glass door in one show is not working and not scary, meanwhile finding some photographs in a shoe box is so terrifying I couldn’t handle the intensity. That’s about the writing. I’m not sure how they are doing it, but it is intense stuff!

    So yeah... small things can ruin someone’s life. I think it has to do with understanding the stakes (with Big Love on that particular villain they didn’t set them up) and also feeling like what is being destroyed is precious. If you think something is precious, your audience does not want it ruined. The stakes are there.

  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Llyralen View Post
    Luckyscars, Taylor. I’m not at all sure that this tale of the French Revolution is a romance and that is part of this thread— really getting down to what genre we are talking about. The couple do not get together at any time nor even move closer to it. But I really like the idea of picking someone lower class to tell the story. That’s really effective in Year of Wonders and that movie with Rachel Weiss about the burning of the library of Alexandria... I think that was based on a book (I should look into it). It’s told from the perspective of a slave in love with Hypatia.

    This is why I asked about the literary genre I need to read the articles again, but it didn’t seem like they had nailed down any obligatory scenes for literary genre.

    I think some love interest can be in any story, but if it’s a romance genre the tension between the two characters and whether they get together or not is the main plot and conflict of the book.
    Well sure, but do you really want to write a generic romance story?

    This is, ultimately, the difference between Genre Fiction and Literary Fiction. In genre fiction, the mantra tends to be 'more of the same!', in literary fiction it tends to be 'none of the same!' That's a generalization, a simplification, but it's generally the case: In genre fiction, the book needs to feel a part of its genre and that doesn't mean zero originality, but it means less. In literary fiction, the idea is to tell an entirely new story or, at the very least, to tell a story in such a new way that any source material or likeness isn't very recognizable anymore.

    As such there is a huge difference between romance and Romance Fiction. What are we talking about? If you want to write Romance Fiction, you have to put aside at least some of a desire to be hugely groundbreaking because that just isn't the priority. Most Romance Readers, like most Fantasy Readers, don't want vast swathes of new ground being broken. You won't get many (popular) fantasy books that don't 'feel like fantasy books' because readers want Fantasy Books to feel like Fantasy Books -- originality, therefore, is generally limited to the superficial or some matter of 'new spin'. That familiarity comes at a cost and that cost is greater adherence to trope. It doesn't make the book lesser, it simply makes the goal different. In many ways, writing to incorporate tropes and 'rules' about genres can be harder than writing without them.

    Even so, you can still subvert tropes in genre fiction, and you should. The question is which tropes and to what scale. The handsome prince should not be rescuing the beautiful princess, that much is clear now. In the Revolution! concept, my antidote to this trope was to simply exchange the prince for a potato-peeler-turned-guillotine-executioner. That may be enough, you can still perhaps keep the other components of Romance i.e. happy ending. Perhaps he does rescue her from the guillotine and they end up together? Perhaps that rescue is at tremendous cost to somebody else who is close to him? It doesn't really matter, it's just an idea...
    Deactivated due to staff trolling. Bye!

  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    Well sure, but do you really want to write a generic romance story?

    This is, ultimately, the difference between Genre Fiction and Literary Fiction. In genre fiction, the mantra tends to be 'more of the same!', in literary fiction it tends to be 'none of the same!' That's a generalization, a simplification, but it's generally the case: In genre fiction, the book needs to feel a part of its genre and that doesn't mean zero originality, but it means less. In literary fiction, the idea is to tell an entirely new story or, at the very least, to tell a story in such a new way that any source material or likeness isn't very recognizable anymore.

    As such there is a huge difference between romance and Romance Fiction. What are we talking about? If you want to write Romance Fiction, you have to put aside at least some of a desire to be hugely groundbreaking because that just isn't the priority. Most Romance Readers, like most Fantasy Readers, don't want vast swathes of new ground being broken. You won't get many (popular) fantasy books that don't 'feel like fantasy books' because readers want Fantasy Books to feel like Fantasy Books -- originality, therefore, is generally limited to the superficial or some matter of 'new spin'. That familiarity comes at a cost and that cost is greater adherence to trope. It doesn't make the book lesser, it simply makes the goal different. In many ways, writing to incorporate tropes and 'rules' about genres can be harder than writing without them.

    Even so, you can still subvert tropes in genre fiction, and you should. The question is which tropes and to what scale. The handsome prince should not be rescuing the beautiful princess, that much is clear now. In the Revolution! concept, my antidote to this trope was to simply exchange the prince for a potato-peeler-turned-guillotine-executioner. That may be enough, you can still perhaps keep the other components of Romance i.e. happy ending. Perhaps he does rescue her from the guillotine and they end up together? Perhaps that rescue is at tremendous cost to somebody else who is close to him? It doesn't really matter, it's just an idea...
    ...and a good one!

    It's true that a Romance Novel has a certain feel to it and why I don't find them entertaining. But your idea of setting a romance in the middle of the French Revolution and having the executioner in love with the girl and having to kill her is intriguing.

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