3 Essential Exercises For Writing In A Genre

3 Essential Exercises For Writing In A Genre


We are posting a series of Essential Writing Exercises to help you tell your stories. This post includes three essential exercises for writing in a genre.

On our course, Writers Write ONLINE, we spend time creating characters, plotting, learning to write dialogue, learning how to pace, and learning how to show and not tell. We teach you about viewpoint, setting, description, and scenes, and much, much more. In my series, I am going to concentrate on a few of these areas.

To help us get through this time of social distancing, I am going to post a series of Essential Writing Exercises to help you tell your stories. We’ve included exercises about dialoguecreating characters, viewpoint, plottingsettingpacing, endings, and beginnings.

This week I have included three essential exercises for writing in a genre.

3 Essential Exercises For Writing In A Genre

When we teach Writers Write ONLINE, we find that sticking to a genre can be difficult for many writers.

It’s important to get this right because readers like genres. They like buying and reading books that fall into a defined category. They know what to expect and they will enjoy it more if you fulfil their expectations.

As an author, genre controls what you write and how you write it. It describes the style and focus of the novel you write.

Genre affects many things in your novels, including the following:

  1. Manuscript length
  2. Character types
  3. Settings
  4. Description lengths
  5. Themes
  6. Plots

Once you decide on a genre, it’s important to stick to the accepted rules of that genre. For example, it would be wrong to include a serial killer in a romance, or to set a generic romance in a slum.

MUST-READ: The 17 Most Popular Genres In Fiction – And Why They Matter

To help you fit your story into a category, try our three essential exercises for writing in a genre.

Exercise 1: Communicate

Write a scene where your main character has to tell somebody about an accident. Write it in three different genres: Fantasy, Romance, Crime. Choose the way you will communicate. For example, you could use a letter for the fantasy novel, a telephone call for the romance, and a text for the crime novel. Focus on the style of the language and the tone.

Remember:

  1. Name the character/s.
  2. Use the five sensesdialoguebody language, and the internal thoughts of the viewpoint character.
  3. Show the setting through their interaction with it.

This exercise will help you focus on the way people would communicate in different genres.

Exercise 2: Terminology

Write a scene from the viewpoint a wealthy individual who realises that a loved one is in danger. The character is 40-years-old. Write it in two different genres: Science Fiction and Literary Fiction. Take care to choose terminology that suits each genre.

  1. Name the character/s.
  2. Use the five sensesdialoguebody language, and the internal thoughts of the viewpoint character.
  3. Show the setting through their interaction with it.

This exercise will help you find out if you like the surreal, uncomfortable feel of writing in second person.

Exercise 3: Characterisation

Create a character. Name them, tell us how old they are, where they live, who they live with, where they work, and what their goals are. Now see if you can create them in three different genres of your choice, perhaps a Western, a thriller, and a fantasy novel. Create brief character sketches for each genre. Include how they dress, what they eat, and how they fit into their societies.

Then write three scenes (one for each genre) where your character prepares a meal.

This exercise will show you how different your characters’s worlds are in different genres.

The Last Word

Use these three essential exercises for writing in a genre to help you tell your story.

Join us for Writers Write ONLINE for many more exercises like this (with feedback), and learn how to write a book.

© Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this blogger’s writing, read:

  1. 3 Essential Exercises For Writing Endings
  2. Why You Need Surprises In Stories
  3. 3 Essential Exercises For Viewpoint
  4. 5 Essential Exercises For Pacing A Story
  5. 5 Essential Exercises For Writing About Setting
  6. 5 Essential Exercises For Plotting
  7. 5 Essential Exercises For Creating Characters

Top Tip: If you want to learn how to write a book, sign up for our online course.