Ask Me Anything: Jason and Jason

I have two different Jason’s waiting in my ask box, so I decided to combine their posts.

Jason 1 asks, “Will you be writing any more books in the Daughters of Zeus series?”

Yes. I will be writing an Artemis series. It’s been delayed a good bit due to Covid, but I should have updates once the world goes back to normal.

There’s a little I can tell you. Artemis will be a point of view character. Aphrodite and Persephone and the rest of the Pantheon (including Hades) will make appearances. Medea and Otrera will be playing a role. The plot will be taking place mostly after the events of Venus Rising as Artemis has been tasked with hunting down the spoilers that escaped when Persephone spoiled. And there will be flashback scenes to the early days of the Pantheon.

Jason 2 asks, “Thank you for the offer to ask you anything! I’m a SG Guild member, but found you through a Google search on the obligatory scenes in Women’s lit. I’m writing a new series on what I’m terming Men’s lit and since it is a genre that doesn’t actually exist (yet) there is zero information on it. The closest I can think of is Women’s lit. Unfortunately, I can’t fine any information on obligatory scenes on the genre. Everything I’ve found is in the overlying genres such as Historical Fiction, Thriller, etcetera. 

Do you have any insights into what the obligatory scenes in Women’s lit are?

Thanks for you time.”

You’re welcome!

I’d argue that most lit has been men’s lit, but I think the difficulty you’re bumping into here is that obligatory scenes occur within genre fiction, and the word genre there is actually more accurately described as a sub-genre. Once you broaden out to genre as in broad category, you’re not going to find obligatory scenes.

For example, take the sub genre of space opera. It’s going to have the obligatory scenes and conventions, and it probably also has some borrowed tropes from a cross-genre like romance or heist. But a space opera is a sub genre of science fiction, which has its own, less specifics conventions. Not so much with the obligatory scenes. Take a step back and science fiction belongs to the wider genre of speculative fiction. There are a few conventions that make a book a part of the speculative fiction genre, but they’re loose fitting to make room for horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. Take another step back, and you’re in genre fiction, which only requires your work have fictional elements and be set within a specific genre.

Over to the side, you’ve got your other categories of fiction. This is where literary fiction comes in. Literary fiction can absolutely borrow from the tropes, scenes, and conventions of genre fiction, but it doesn’t have to. The entire point of literary fiction is for authors to experiment with the craft of writing. A work either starts as a literary fiction, where the author is intentionally breaking conventions, such as The Night Circus (which absolutely borrows from several sub-genre tropes), or it graduates to literary fiction when the writing community notices a particularly skilled break in conventions, like every famous author you’ve ever read. Whatever it was they did, they broke ground there and expanded on the art of writing. Their techniques may eventually become common place, but when they did it, it was a convention breaker.

Women’s literature is as broad a category as fiction. The only requirement is that it feature a given subject’s impact on women. Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale absolutely fits as speculative fiction — science fiction— post-apocalyptic in the obligatory scenes and conventions. It’s also literature because her writing style and approach broke the conventions enough to set her own tropes. It’s also women’s literature it focuses on the impact of this particular dystopia’s issues on specifically women.

That’s also why I’d argue that by strictest definition, the vast majority of literature has been men’s lit, exploring a given issue’s impact on men. Women may be present (as men are in the handmaid’s tale) but they aren’t the focus.

So, long answer short, your obligatory scenes are going to come from which sub-genre you hang your story onto, so long as you focus on the impact your stories issues have on men specifically, you’re within your category.

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