Home – Haiku, book recommend and Journey Notes for Writers

I’m currently reading Herman Charles Bosman’s short story collection: The Collected Works of Herman Charles Bosman. If you want a peek into a version of early South Africa, then I recommend it. Beautiful stories. Some very funny, some achingly poignant. South Africa has her battles, but she’s come a long, long way since those early colonial days.

Here’s a little Haiku called Home:

 

Leopard in the grass
Dawn to dust, sun on his back
The door is open

 

Journey Notes for Writers: Writing a novel takes as long as it takes. Some people crack their nut in the first year – like they were born with a clear path. Others wander through all sorts of hills and valleys on the road to getting there.

With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about the size of your canvas. Some artists paint intricate scenes on an inch square tile in minute and exquisite detail. Others need the side of a building.

So if you’re a “journey writer” then take a moment to consider the canvas you’re working on. Some writers work well within the rules and confines of a tight genre. Some don’t. So if what you’re doing isn’t working, consider whether your story needs more space. Perhaps you should be writing an epic that stretches over generations and worlds. Just a thought…

Know your Genre! I’m serious!

Know your GenreKnowing your genre helps you do everything from build your characters to set your tone. Who knew!!? When I finally looked for my genre, this is what I found! I had no IDEA there were so many. I’m serious! Scroll down the list! Excuse the number of !!!! but I was stunned.

There’s more to knowing and understanding your genre than making it easy for sellers to put your book on the right shelf.

Close to finishing my first novel (YES!!!!! It’s actually real!!), I began to pay more attention to the whole “know your genre” thing. Really only because I had to say where it belonged in the synopsis and cover letter.

So I looked at detective, mystery and thriller and to my surprise, my book didn’t fit any of them completely.

If you enjoy the thriller/detective/mystery genres, you’ll have noticed that although they seem similar, each genre has a very clear definition of what they are, who they appeal to, the type of language they use, the type of characters that make the story and how light or heavy they are as a read.

A thriller, Pelican Brief as an example, is totally different to a detective story like the Rebus books, which in turn is a world away from Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot in the horror genre. People who enjoy a thriller might hate detective stories. Both genres are about finding the truth, but they use different language, different types of characters and are most often on totally different stages: global for thrillers and local for detective (I am generalising now…).

My point being, the genre really does help you know your reader and what they will or won’t accept in your book. The supernatural, for instance, can sneak into a mystery, but it can’t often sneak into a thriller. Do you see what I mean?

Even the language is different. A down and dirty detective story might be written using a kind of language that someone who enjoys political intrigue just won’t get.

The genre determines the tone, language, subject matter, length, ending, EVERYTHING!

So ask a different question… Instead of asking “What genre is my book?” ask instead “What will people who read my book, also enjoy?”

You might be surprised.

When I asked that question, my mind turned to TV instead of books. People who enjoy Pie in the Sky, Rosemary and Thyme, Diagnosis Murder, Murder She Wrote… might just enjoy Feet First, a Boline Creek novel.

Hallelujah!!

Turns out, all those TV series are part of a genre called Cosy (or Cozy if you’re in the US) Mystery.

Never heard of it!

A Cosy Mystery takes place in a small town, the “detective” is most often not the police, death and sex aren’t taken seriously, the focus isn’t on blood and gore and there isn’t a lot of gun-slinging language.

So, take your time on this question. What will people who read your book, also enjoy?

Have a glorious week.
Tina