Elemental Genres

wx-11-cover-palegradient4-300x300In season eleven of Writing Excuses, they dived into the definitions of elemental genres. Here’s the framework they posted. I’m included their definition because it’s better worded than mine.

Elemental genres are the things that make you read, the emotional resonance that drives a story. Not bookshelf genres, but elemental genres. The 11 elemental genres planned are wonder, idea, adventure, horror, mystery, thriller, humor, relationship, drama, issue, and ensemble. This is a framework for talking about what makes readers turn the page and have emotional responses, not a hard-and-fast set of categories or rules. Elemental genres let you mix-and-match underneath the veneer of the bookshelf categories.

It was a fantastic season. They talked a lot about what defines the different genres and how to layer them with the plot, subplot, and character arcs. I particularly enjoyed Newton’s Laws of Writing.

[1] A word count at rest tends to remain at rest, while a word count in motion tends to remain in motion. Motivation? To keep writing, write some more! To start writing, start slow, then bump your goal. Build your writing inertia by writing every day! Oh, at the end of a session, don’t stop at the end of a chapter. Write the first page of the next scene, and then pick up with that jumpstart. Dan it all! Don’t sweat the zone — fight to make the most of each chance, and make sure people understand don’t interrupt me! Think before you start writing, don’t waste time ramping up. [2] Word count equals motivation times focus. Motivate by thinking about what comes next. Focus BICHOK and clear distractions. Consider word count per hour. Try a timer (sand timers don’t beep!). Meditation might be your ticket to a clearer mind? [3] For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. When you write words, the words write you. You also are affected. Writing is its own reward. Every word you write builds your writing skill. The goal of writing stories is to become a better writer. The equal and opposite reaction to writing is that you become a better writer!

Go ahead and give it a listen!

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2 thoughts on “Elemental Genres

  1. Pingback: Genre Conventions and Obligatory Scenes | Kaitlin Bevis

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