Tag Archives: genre fiction

How Genre Fiction Changes Lives For Real

Sometimes fantasy isn’t very far from the truth.

I’m a storyteller.
It’s what I do.
I’m a writer.

And, not get to get dramatic but stories change lives.
Because stories ARE lives.
Stories are how we as humans relate to other humans and human values, struggles, ideologies, victories, etc.

Anywho, this is a post I wrote a while ago but then forgot about. Nice to know it still 100% applies.

 


A blood prophet is a gal who is born with the ability to tell the future…. If her skin is cut and blood flows from the wound.
This brings great pain until she speaks the prophecy out loud, which she then cannot remember, as her brains switches off and she feels euphoria to compensate for the terrible things she sees.

But what really pinged for me is how she experienced life.
And how OVER STIMULATED she got, so easily.
And yet she still SAVED LIVES.
She matters, has purpose.
Even though she can’t handle more than a few more “images” a day.
When Meg, the main character who is a blood prophet that escaped slavery, began to live in the real world, (that is, outside of a white-walled room with nothing in it, literally), she became way too easily overstimulated by all the new stimuli and her brain sort of “turned off” and she was a zombie for a few minutes. Without even realizing it, she’d zone out, turn off, numb.
You see, Meg, like all blood prophets, was kept in a teeny little room and shown photos of things from the outside world. The only experience with the outside world she ever had.
When Meg has new images or places, situations, photos in a magazine, facial expressions, personal feelings, etc…. and she get’s too many new ones in one day… she’s done.

I realized, this is exactly what I do.
My brain turns off.
Without me realizing it.
I was abused as a child and as such, learned to “detach” or clinically put, “dissociate”.
Meaning, mentally, Daphne wasn’t home.
As I grew older I continued coping with unhealthy situations and relationships this way.
Without knowing it.
Once into therapy, we figured it out.

But I didn’t know it was so pervasive in my everyday life.
I thought it was one size fits all.
Instead, there’s versions of it. Levels.

To spare any lengthy dissertation of my life and experiences in the past four years, I’ll stick with the most jarring and recent realization.
Which came about ONLY once I’d read this book and realized it was an actual thing that happens to human beings.

I started college.
One class.
First semester.
A subject I LOVE.
I approach class every day with enthusiasm, interest, excitement, ready to learn more about what I love and apply it to my life.
And I HATE college.
Let me repeat…
HATE!
LOATH WITH A PASSION!!!

I couldn’t figure out why.
When it finally hit me, I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to figure it out. It was once I’d read three books in this series that I added the knowledge to my life and behaviors in the past months and the light bulb BURST into life above my head.
I am a slow learner.
No, really.
I need to soak in, absorb, directly apply information to my life, and repeatedly read stuff, take notes, dissect, etc. when it comes to learning.
When it comes to doing things in a job, I learn really fast.
When I have to read and learn something new in a book environment, I’m slower than molasses in midsummer.
And it threw me. I’d always considered myself a quick learner. When I had things to do – I excelled. Give me a pattern of activities to do and BOOM I have it down.
Not to mention I got through schooling with ‘A’s in every subject.
So HOW am I a slow learner?
I focused on getting good grades. Not on learning. School doesn’t reward learning; it rewards good grades, doing the work, being disciplined, etc.
I’m a hard worker, I’m disciplined.
I’m a slow learner.
I need to learn at a much slower pace than 3 chapters of twenty-five pages each and 3 assignments with their own set of research and information – in one week. Which is the definition of college.
NOT for me.
Lucky for a gal like me, life has options.

Reading Anne Bishop’s novels on Meg taught me something about life, about myself, about how I learn, and about how often I get overstimulated and zone out, without realizing it.
REAL LIFE wasn’t teaching me this.
NOTHING was teaching me this.
A work of fiction. A story. An urban fantasy. This is how I learned vital information about myself and how I operate within the world.
A work of fiction genre taught me truth no one else and nothing else ever had.
THAT is the power of genre fiction.
It is a lie with more truth in it than we can imagine.
Because no story, no matter how bizarre or unusual, is ever truly made up.


The series I am talking about in the post is Anne Bishop’s “The Others” Series. You can check her books out here. I have only read books #2, 3, and 4. I’m excited to read more.

What have works of fiction taught you?

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On Genre Fiction being the Scum of the Literary World

Why do you read books?

I mean seriously. Why bother? Its paper, ink and made up people and places and mostly none of it is true.

 

So WHY

Do You

READ BOOKS.

 

Stories. People like stories. They’re fun. They’re an escape. They teach us something, even if we don’t consciously realize it. Stories help you understand yourself better, as you decide what you think and feel because of everything you just read. Or you have parents that beat you and stories give you a place to live that’s safe from your reality. Or you simply have your head in the clouds and love the adrenaline rush of being someone else inside your head.

 

What KIND

Of Books

Do You Read.

 

Anything? Everything? A specific genre? A few different genres?

I know you’re supposed to have read books in school, mostly literary novels. You most likely hated them, hated having to read them. I know you’ve probably read the dictionary, at least one word on one page, if you’re my generation. Younger and you might have simply googled what the word meant, but hey – it’s still a dictionary. I know you’ve read fluff pieces on or in a magazine whether it’s on the internet or in the grocery store line that never ends. I know you’ve probably read your children’s crazy words if you have kids. I know you’ve read your own inner monologue if you keep a journal.

The list goes on.

 

What Type

Of Books

Are All of Those.

 

Literary, nonfiction, cozies, informational, fictitious, stream of consciousness.

Is one of those BETTER than the other? Did any of them AFFECT you more? Did you end up LOVING one of those and now you search out that kind of writing, essays and books everywhere you go? When you’re in the store for diapers or canned soup, do you check the book racks to see if there’s anything good? Do you wander around the used bookstore? Wonder if your sister, children, mom or best friend read, and if so, what?

 

Which

Books

MATTER.

 

All of them.

End of story.

But because this is real life and real people are contradictory, let me explain.

 

Apparently

I Write the

Scum of the Earth

Why? Because I don’t write non-fiction or literary novels. I write fiction. Fantasy, horror, paranormal. Dear cookies in heaven, I’m the devil!

 

There’s this

Theory

 

It’s an opinion really.

That all genre fiction (for example, what I write and romance, adventure, etc) is scum. It is pointless. Shouldn’t be read. There are snobs who turn their noses up at it and declare the writer of such garbage a freeloading brat who needs to get a real job, while the literary author gets to work and does something real, something important.

 

WHY?

the-reader

 

I have no idea. Maybe it’s one of those things where young people turn their noses up at old people, saying they’re better. And old people look down on young people, saying they’re ignorant idiots with easy lives. People apparently aren’t happy with themselves and need a “reason” to put others down, elevating themselves. In their head only, that is.

Regardless of where I go, all I hear about is people deciding they’re better than other people.

When really, we’re all just opinionated. We have opinions. We have likes.

I like books.

Do I care what kind of books you read?

NO! No a million times over. As long as you enjoy books, I’m a happy camper. And if you don’t like books, well that sucks and you’re missing out but hey, that’s you and I’m me.

 

See How that Works?

 

Honestly, I’d like for people to get over their selfish snobbery and pull their heads out of where the sun don’t shine.

 

GET OVER YOURSELVES.

Everyone.

Right now.

 

I like what I like. You like what you like. The garbage man down the street likes what he likes. The kindergarten teacher, too.

 

Does that make me stupid?

 

No.

Does that make the literary writer stupid? The suspense novelist stupid?

NO!

 

Writing a book

IS HARD!!!

 

I cannot stress this enough. I don’t care if you’re writing for professors, chemical engineers, third graders or the mom who has five minute breaks every couple of hours. WRITING THE FREAKING BOOK TAKES WORK. Hard work. Hours every day, just like a “real” job.

 

Genre Fiction

Is NOT

Scum

Literary Fiction

Is NOT

Snobbery

 

One bad apple does NOT ruin the whole bunch.

So knock it off.

I should be able to take a creative writing course in college and not have a professor look down on me, belittle my work and call it scum because the monsters aren’t 100% human.

But I can’t, now can I?

Because apparently, genre fiction is the scum of the literary world.

Now how

DUMB

does that sound?

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Difference Between Preternatural, Supernatural, and Paranormal?

While working on my defining the fiction genres series, a thought occurred to me.

What is the difference between preternatural, supernatural, and paranormal? And do they differ enough to actually matter when referring to what genre book you write?

Then I stumbled into an (awesome/heaven) secondhand bookstore which categorizes books under the following categories: fiction, romance, horror, science fiction/fantasy, and paranormal.

I know for a fact that Barnes and Noble has now changed their store again and their genres (that I pay attention to) go as follows: science fiction/fantasy, fiction/literature, and romance. They don’t factor in horror or paranormal as their own genres. Horror is under fiction, while paranormal is under fantasy/science fiction.

So yeah, that didn’t help.

I figured I didn’t know what to figure. So, naturally, I Googled it. And guess what? No one has a one correct answer, but tons of people have their own opinions and beliefs.

So of course this then became a matter of me being curious and having to look into it whether it was relevant to defining the fiction genres or not, and I had to figure this out as best as I could.

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Define the Mystery Genre

I didn’t know there was such a thing as a ‘culinary’ mystery before this post.

It brought to mind a crazy chef trying to hack me to pieces with a meat cleaver. But I was a bit off…

 

MYSTERY: Genre Fiction.

Mysteries are an unsolved puzzle of some sort, dilemma, or crime to be figured out, step by step. Misdirection and complexities are common, as the entire novel is about the protagonist(s) figuring out the answer to the mystery. There are always secrets that are unknown by both the reader and protagonist, or at least the protagonist until the very end.

There can be one protagonist or a group of protagonists working together. The protagonist’s struggle to find the answer they seek can be physical and/or psychological. It’s not often that the person who committed the crime stays unknown, or the answer to the puzzle or dilemma goes unsolved. Most often the novel ends with the mystery being solved.

Said to be more plot driven and to have the perfect “beginning, middle, end” set up where the plot is concerned. (BEGINNING: Mystery – MIDDLE: Looking for Clues/Facts/Evidence to Solve Mystery – END: Mystery Solved)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Define the Thriller Genre

Thriller? Suspense? Adventure? Action?

What is the name of this genre?!?! *me pulling out my hair*

Some people say they’re synonymous, some say they each have their own break down. In my opinion, they’re different extremes of the same genre. If you don’t feel that way, don’t fear, I won’t attempt to brain wash you.

 

THRILLER/SUSPENSE/ADVENTURE: Genre Fiction

The plot is concentrated on quickly moving action, danger, and high stakes. The main characters always have something threatening their very lives, if not multiple things and it is very much a rush against time. The characters do not lead a normal everyday life, or at least if they started out leading one of normality something comes along and changes that in a quick fast hurry.

Suspense and tension keep the reader concerned with what is going to happen next. Most sources say that the adventure itself (plot) overshadows and is more important than the characters and theme. Whatever the case, this genre is all about the emotional and psychological thrill and/or excitement evoked in the reader.

Thriller dictates that the action is of a quick pace. Leans more towards the sensational side of this genre. Generally has more violence, sex, as well as a “good vs. evil” basis.

Suspense is a slower, tenser buildup of the conflict.

Adventure is a more broad and generalized definition of this genre. Thriller and suspense are ultimately the same genre, simply at different ends of the spectrum. Each has its own measurement of suspense, action, adventure, and thrill, just at different level of extremes.

 

For the sake of retaining my sanity (and so this makes sense to you), when I refer to this genre as thriller, suspense, or adventure; I mean it to be the same genre. I mostly used “thriller”.

 

 

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Define the Romance Genre

Alrighty, well as you can see I’m going out of order with the defining of the genres posts. I promise, you will survive (hey! hey!).
I defined the genres as thusly (here):

1. Fantasy
2. Horror
3. Mystery/Crime
4. Romance
5. Science Fiction
6. Thriller/Suspense/Adventure

But I’m not going in order. That’ just me though; sporadic. Although, I never said I’d go in order, so… In fear of kicking a dead horse, let’s move on.
I loathe that phrase, by the way: kicking a dead horse.
Here is my definition of romance and then all of its subgenres (and its subgenres’ subgenres)…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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