The Costumer - December 2020



Artwork by Chad Schimke in homage to The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

Sunday, October 8, 2017


THE WRITE MARKET - There can be no mention of the craft of writing without considering fiction genres. Why? You must know the rules in order to break them. So let’s talk about genre. Many industry types say there are solidly established fiction genres. I’m not so sure about that. Look at all the subgenres and how many stories pick up elements of one genre versus another. I’m not going to include all fiction genres since that’s not what inspires me. Here are my favorites. Crime – It features a detective or criminal as the main character, with elements of crime and punishment critical to the story. Horror -  A scary tale of the paranormal, monster, supernatural and or slasher variety. If you can create a feeling of fear or a gross out, then horror is working for you. Thriller - An action packed story that keeps you on the edge of your seat. This can definitely incorporate elements of crime and mystery. Mystery – Similar to crime but several possible culprits must be presented, with the true villian’s identity revealed in the end. Historical – Usually a costume drama set in a time long ago with historical events that are critically important to the story. Romance – If you can remove the romance from the story and still have something to tell, it’s not a true romance. The central theme is development of the relationship such as falling in or out of love. Science Fiction – This is a story set in the future or in an alternate reality of an imagined future. Extrapolated scientific inventions are used to advance the plot and character development. Fantasy – This genre can involve wizards and dragons, but can also be broader in context. Such as a fantastical world populated by strange non-human characters. It can also include magical realism and urban fantasy. LGBT – Stories that feature lesbians, gays, bisexuals or trans persons as major characters. These are often but not always erotic, coming of age and or romance stories. Literary – Just another genre despite what elitists say. For short stories, you should have read widely in The New Yorker. Literary can be anything from small moments to quirky to experimental. Haven’t read widely in The New Yorker? Haven’t read widely in a variety of genres? You really shouldn’t be calling yourself a writer. So get busy with the genre reading. What are you waiting for? 


  1. I do find writing a fascinating medium of expression. One has the power of creating a whole world from the figment of their imagination. Such a powerful thing to be able to do.


  2. This is interesting and I agree with a lot of what you say. Writing is such a powerful form of self-expression and communication.

  3. All aspiring writers should read this post! You are giving so much good info! Love it!

  4. Writing can be very imaginitive and creative. Nice post on this topic!

  5. I think many genres cross and include elements of others, but yes, all writers need to read a lot too.

  6. It's funny you should write a blog on this subject. I just got back from the Imaginarium conference and ran into Michael Knost. He has a book titled Writers Workshop of Science Fiction and Fantasy. In that book was a piece by Lou Anders titled Nebulous Matters, or Speculations on Subgenre. He says that the divide between genres has become fluid and ever changing and I believe that. I have written on cross genre story, Timeless. It is both Paranormal romantic suspense and Science Fiction, as well as archeology and historical romance. There are times I think to myself WHAT THE HECK WAS I THINKING. Then other times I'm certain I wrote the story just as it should have been written. It's very hard to promote though.