For many of us, giving our work over to an
individual or a group to be analyzed is scary, but so much can be learned by
having someone not intimately connected to you evaluate your work. An unavoidable
truth in the art world is that all through your career all kinds of people are
going to say all kinds of stuff about your art.
Some of them will even tell you to your face. Others may write about it,
post about it or gossip behind your back. An artist not only has to learn how
to handle this nonstop blitz of feedback, comments, and criticisms, but also
how to gage and respond to what is said, and most importantly, how to not take what
is said personally. To get the most out of a critique, it is important to decide Before submitting your work to a
critique, what you really hope to gain from it. This is where some honest personal
soul-searching can be useful. Most of us always try very hard to create the
very best art we can. We put the total sum of our skill into every painting or
sculpture. Unfortunately, when we ask, “how do you like it” we do usually hope
for an endorsement of our efforts instead of an evaluation of what is
technically wrong. Evaluate the person doing the critique. An important
determination you have to make about responses to your art is whether a
particular comment is based on the individual's personal tastes or is instead
based more on their overall knowledge and understanding of the type of art you
what you like about your painting before asking for criticism. The better you
know what it is you like or dislike before
receiving criticism, the better able you will be to evaluate what is being said.
Listen to what is said, make sure it applies, and then ask yourself: “would it be
better changed, or do I like it just the way it is?” Don’t get defensive! Remember;
a critique doesn’t have to become an argument to win the critic over to your
the opinions of your peers whenever possible. The more respect you have for the
critic, the easier it is to accept the evaluation by the critic. It helps also
if you attempt to understand his or her biases. We all have them. Some of us
are technical sticklers and others like to see the breaking of rules.
discredit positive feedback. Because we often feel guilty at accepting praise,
It is often easier for us to accept negative criticism than praise.
In : Developing Your Skills
Paranormal Mystery: Sometimes the things
in a mystery just can’t be explained. That’s where the paranormal mystery comes
into play. These books have an element of supernatural in them, that can include
magic, witches, skeletons or ghosts, and it can include werewolves, vampires,
and other creatures. The difference between paranormal and fantasy is
Paranormal concerns events or experiences not subject to scientific explanation
or outside the ability of science to measure or explain. ESP, ghosts and other
phenomenon fit this definition. Fantasy is a genre using magic or other
supernatural phenomena as a primary element of the plot or setting. (Think
Harry Potter or Harry Dresdin).
When classifying a Romance
Novel for publishing, the writer is often also required to define the Heat
Level in the Novel. Heat Level refers to the intensity of the romantic scenes
in the novel and can be applied to all romance genres. These Heat Definitions were
borrowed from the RomCon Romance Heat Scale:
None: Sensuality is not the focus of the book. There
may be profanity or mild violence. (e.g., Young Adult, Family Sagas)
Sweet: The romance deals with the emotional aspects of
love rather than the physical. No sex or scenes of physical intimacy except kissing.
No profanity. No graphic violence. (e.g., Christian Fiction, Sweet Romance, Young
Mild: There may be mildly described scenes of intimacy.
There may be mild profanity or violence,
Medium: Sometimes described as “Blush level”,
it is a little more than halfway between sweet and hot with more descriptive
loves scenes and profanity than mild. There may be sex scenes or the
preliminary action related to it. Scenes are usually not graphic and may
contain euphemisms for sexual parts of the body are common. The emphasis is
very much on feeling.
Hot: There usually are detailed sex scenes, profanity
and/or graphic violence. Authors who often write at this level of
sensuality include Nora Roberts, Susan Wiggs, Rebecca York, Judith Arnold, Mary
Balogh, Edith Layton, and Candace Camp.
Wild Ride/Erotica: There will be graphic sex
scenes, including multiple partners and or alternate lifestyles. There may be
explicit adult language and/or graphic violence. (e.g., Erotic Romance, High
Fantasy, Thrillers…) Within RomCon®’s website, this is referred to as Erotic
Romance. Be careful here; certain subject matters are still taboo (sex
with children among others) and you will need to be specific in the reasons for
Blood Thirsty: Sensuality is not the focus of the book,
but there will be graphic violence, bloody scenes, or horrific scenes with
frightening or intense content. (e.g., Horror, Thrillers, some High Fantasy…),
here again you need to be specific for the reason you gave the rating.
Paranormal Romance: is a subgenre of
both romantic fiction and speculative fiction. Paranormal
romance focuses on romantic love and includes elements beyond the
range of scientific explanation, blending themes from the speculative fiction genres of fantasy, science
fiction, and horror. Paranormal romance can range from traditional
category romances with a paranormal setting to stories where the main attention
is on a science fiction or fantasy-based plot with a romantic subplot included.
Common devices are romantic relationships between humans and vampires,
shapeshifters, ghosts, and other entities of a fantastic or otherworldly
nature. Beyond more common themes concern vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts,
or time travel; paranormal romances can also include characters
with psychic abilities, like telekinesis or telepathy.
Paranormal romance has its roots in Gothic fiction, and are one of the fastest
growing in the romance genre.
Contemporary Romance: is a subgenre
of romance novels generally set after 1960. Contemporary is the
largest of the romance novel subgenres, These novels are set in the time when
they were written, and reflect the ideas and customs of their time. Heroines in
contemporary romances written prior to 1970 usually quit working when they
married or had children, while those written after 1970 have and keep a career.
As contemporary romance novels have grown to contain more complex plotting and
more realistic characters, the line between this subgenre and the genre of women’s
fiction or Chick Lit has blurred. Most contemporary romance novels contain
elements that date the books, so eventually the story lines become
inappropriate to more modern readers and go out of print. Some do make the
transition into Historical fiction, but not many.
Historical Romance: is a broad category
of fiction where the story takes place in a setting located in the
past. Settings in this category will run the gamut from 1960 back into
caveman times. Walter Scott helped popularize this genre in the early
19th-century, with works such as Rob Roy and Ivanhoe. More
recently author Jean Aeul’s Caveman series have been on the best seller list. Historical
romances continue to be published, and notable recent examples are Conqueror by
Georgette Heyer, or the Roselynde Chronicles by Roberta Gellis.
Western Romance: These books are set in
America or Australia or in a contemporary or historical western setting
(western United States, Canadian prairies or Australian outback), with a female
lead. Readers expect the story to include horses, cowboys and a simpler way of
life (but not a simpler plot). Think Joanna Lindsay or Willa Cather. For more
traditional male centered westerns consider Louis L'Amour and Luke Short. The
traditional male centered westerns have more in common with straight adventure
fiction than romance. Women are usually secondary characters and have little or
no part of the main action. Westerns are most noted for their clear lines of
good and evil.
Gothic Romance: Combines romance and horror
and may involve a mystery of some type. It has a long tradition, going back to
the Regency/Victorian era. Made popular by Jane Austin and others,
Gothic fiction, which is widely known by the subgenre of Gothic
horror, is a genre that combines fiction and horror, death, and at times
romance. Its origin is attributed to English author Horace Walpole, with
his 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto, subtitled (in its second edition)
“A Gothic Story”. Gothic fiction creates a pleasing sense of terror; Romantic literary
pleasures that were relatively new at the time of Walpole’s novel. It
originated in England in the second half of the 18th century and had much
success in the 19th as witnessed by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and
the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Another well known novel in this genre,
dating from the late Victorian era, is Bram
Regency Romance: Regency romances are a
distinct genre with their own plot and stylistic conventions.
These derive from the 19th-century contemporary works of Georgette Heyer,
who still dominates the genre. She wrote over two dozen novels set in the
Regency starting in 1935 until her death in 1974. The more traditional
Regencies feature a great deal of intelligent, fast-paced dialog between the
leads and very little explicit sex or discussion of sex. The plot
contrivances that can be found range from Marriages of convenience and
false engagements to mistaken identities. Class differences are clearly defined
and create barriers. (The son of the house never marries the maid for
Romantic Suspense: The most plot driven of
the romance genres. It generally has a strong woman as lead who is involved in
dangerous situations. The male hero usually starts out looking like the bad guy
but turns out to be good. The setting for these books can be anywhen from deep in the past to
contemporary. Think Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt or Barbara Michaels.
Thriller is a broad genre having numerous
subgenres. Thrillers are characterized and defined by the mood of fear and
suspense they elicit, giving viewers heightened feelings of excitement,
surprise and anxiety. A thriller generally has a more villain driven plot than
adventure. This list is my no means all inclusive.
Eco Thriller: Eco thrillers are normally set around a
threat (natural or man-made) to the environment, and combine action, adventure
with maybe a touch of mystery. They are fast-paced and usually laced with
science. The lead character must find a way to negate the threat.
Supernatural Thriller: Supernatural
fiction or supernaturalist fiction involves plot devices or
themes that contradict Ideas and assumptions commonplace in the natural
world. It is very closely aligned with Horror though usually in a more inhibited
fashion. This genre brings in an otherworldly element, Often the hero and/or
villain has (or at least claims) some psychic ability.
Historical Thriller: This genre differs from other thrillers in
that is set in the past, usually prior to 1960. It may also contain elements of espionage, military or
other genres but should not be confused with political/conspiracy thrillers
which occur in a more contemporary setting.
Medical/Psychological Thrillers: I have lumped these to together
because they draw from similar backgrounds. In Medical Thrillers, a doctor’s life is often threatened (because
they helped a certain patient), or a mysterious (usually artificial) disease
has broken out. Robin Cook and Tess Gerritsen are leaders in this subgenre.
Sandra Wilkenson’s novel Death On Call is an early example. (sometimes
the authors are doctors themselves.) Psychological subgenre
tales build up slowly, with ever-increasing doubt and tension, until some
explicit action/violence takes place, usually at the finale.
Political/Conspiracy Thriller: This genre is very similar
in some ways to the Environmental Thriller. Usually the hero or heroine
confronts a large, well organized company, government dept., or group. The
threat posed by this group is only perceived by the protagonist. A great deal
of the plot revolves around a single individual defeating the above groups
while encountering disbelief from everyone around him/her. Perplexing forces
pull strings in the life of the lead character – if not throughout the world.
Usually the hero becomes a threat to the conspirators, and must escape their
wrath. Often these stories depict the aberrations caused by secrecy, and the
corrupting influence of power.
Espionage or Spy Thriller: As a genre, spy fiction
is thematically related to the adventure novel and
involves espionage as an important background or plot device. It
emerged in the early twentieth century, inspired by rivalries and intrigues
between the major powers, and the establishment of modern intelligence
agencies. The genre was given new impetus by the increase of fascism and
communism in the lead-up to World War II. It continued to develop
during the Cold War, and received a fresh impetus from the emergence
of rogue states like ISIS, international criminal organizations, global terrorist
networks, maritime piracy and technological sabotage as convincing threats to
A techno-thriller is a hybrid genre drawing plot elements
from science fiction, thrillers, spy fiction, action,
and war novels. They include a lopsided amount of technical details on their
subject matter; only hard science fiction tends towards a comparable
level of supporting detail on the technical side. The inner workings of
technology and the mechanics of various practices (espionage, martial
arts, politics) are thoroughly explored, and the plot often turns on the of
Military Thriller: the focus of this genre
is on the development of the crisis, and the detailing of the military action.
an aggressive move by the Bad Guys forces the Good to wage large-scale combat
to stop them. This can also be found on a smaller scale with many novels set in
WWII or prior. However, these are cross genre novels coinciding with Historical
Legal Thriller: the plot usually is
centered around courtroom action, with a lawyer as the protagonist. This is not
to be confused with a Courtroom Drama. In a courtroom drama, the reader often
doesn’t know who the villain is until the climax of the story. In a legal
thriller, the reader generally knows who the bad guy is from the beginning and
the action focuses on whether justice is served.
Science fiction or
speculative fiction (often shortened
to SF, sci-fi or scifi) is a genre dealing
with notions such as futuristic science, technology, space
travel, time travel, faster than light travel, parallel universes,
and extraterrestrial life. Science fiction often explores the potential
consequences of scientific innovations, and has been referred a
“literature of ideas,” or future casting. It usually avoids
the supernatural, and unlike the related genre of fantasy, science
fiction stories were intended to have a grounding in science-based facts
or theories prevalent at the time the story was created; a
description now limited to hard science fiction.
Dystopian / Utopian: utopia and its derivative,
dystopia, are genres exploring social and political structures. Utopian fiction
shows a setting agreeing with the author’s ideology, and has attributes of
different reality to appeal to readers. Dystopian (or dystopic) fiction
(sometimes combined with, but distinct from apocalyptic literature) is the
opposite. It shows a setting that completely disagrees with the author’s
ideology. Many novels combine both, often as a metaphor for the different
directions humanity can take, depending on its choices. Both utopias and
dystopias are commonly found in science fiction and other speculative fiction
genres and arguably are a type of speculative fiction. Apocalyptic Science Fiction is a sub-genre of Dystopian Science
Fiction covering the end of civilization, through nuclear war, plague, or some
other general disaster. The time frame may be immediately after the
catastrophe, focusing on the travails or psychology of survivors, or
considerably later, often including the theme that the existence of
pre-catastrophe civilization has been forgotten or mythologized. Post apocalyptic
stories often take place in an agrarian, non-technological future world, or a
world where only scattered elements of technology remain.
Space Opera: is a subgenre of science
fiction emphasizing space warfare, melodramatic adventure,
interplanetary battles, risk-taking, and chivalric romance. Set mainly or
entirely in outer space, it frequently involves conflict between opponents
possessing advanced abilities, futuristic weapons, and
other sophisticated technology. The term has no relation to music but
was coined during the 1930s to indicate clichéd and formulaic stories in
several genres. Space operas emerged in the 1930s and they continue to be
produced in literature, film, comics, and video games. The most notable was probably
produced by E.E. “Doc” Smith.
Cyberpunk: Cyberpunk is
a subgenre of science fiction taking place in
a future setting. It tends to focus on society as “high
tech low life" showcasing advanced technological and scientific accomplishments,
such as information technology and cybernetics, creating a breakdown
or radical change in the social order. Cyberpunk plots often center
on conflict among artificial intelligences, hackers, and megacorporation’s
in a near-future Earth. The settings are
usually post-industrial dystopias but feature extraordinary
cultural turmoil and the use of technology in ways never anticipated by its
original inventors. Much of the genre’s atmosphere echoes film noir
writers and often uses modus operandi from this genre of detective fiction.
Military Science Fiction: is
a subgenre of science fiction that uses science fiction
technology, mainly weapons, for military purposes. Its principal characters
are generally members of a military organization involved in military activity.
The action sometimes takes place in outer space or on a different planet or planets.
It is found in literature, comics, film, and video games. A detailed
description of the conflict, the tactics and weapons used, and the role of a military
service and the individual members of that military organization generally
forms the basis for a work of military science fiction. The stories often use events
of actual past or current Earth conflicts, with countries being replaced by planets
or galaxies of similar characteristics, battleships replaced by space
battleships and certain events changed so that the author can induce what might
have occurred differently.
Hard/Soft Science Fiction: is a category
of science fiction marked by an emphasis on scientific accuracy. The
terms were first used in print in 1957 by P. Schuyler Miller in a
review of John W. Campbell, Jr.‘s "Islands of Space" in Astounding
Science Fiction. The complementary term Soft Science Fiction, formed
by comparison to hard science fiction, first appeared in the late 1970s. It
was created to emphasize the distinction between the "hard” (natural)
and “soft” (social) sciences. Science fiction critic Gary
Westfahl thinks that both terms are ways of describing stories that reviewers
and commentators have found useful.
Alternate History: or alternative history
(British English), sometimes abbreviated as AH, is a genre of stories in which
one or more historical events occur differently than as history recorded them. These
stories are set in a world in which history has deviated from history as it is
generally known; more simply put, alternate history asks the question,
“What if history had developed differently?” Most works in this genre
are set in real historical contexts, yet feature social, geopolitical or
industrial settings that developed differently or at a different pace from our
own. This subgenre comprises fiction in which a change or point of divergence
happens that causes history to diverge from our own.
Steampunk: is a subgenre of science fiction or science
fantasy that refers to works set in an era where steam power is still widely used;19th
century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West, where steam power
has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that employs steam power
in the same way. Although its literary origins are sometimes identified with
the cyberpunk genre, it has marked differences. Inventions like those found in
the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne are often included. Steampunk encompasses
alternate history-style elements of past technology like dirigibles or
mechanical computers combined with futuristic technology like multi-function goggles,
giant robots and ray guns. Steampunk may be described as neo-Victorian. It most
recognizably features anachronistic technologies or retro futuristic inventions
as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise
rooted in the era’s perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and
Romantic Science Fiction: This genre seems to be
written almost exclusively for and by women. In most cases, it is simply a love
story set in the future or a distant planet, although it can be set in the past
or an alternate world as well. It centers more on relationships than on
science, and any futuristic or fantasy elements take second place to the relationships.
Usually there is no attempt to explain why the technology works; only its
actions are described. A flying car or spaceship is simply said to go places, time
travel simply happens without any attempt to describe the scientific method by
which this might work. Probably the two most recognizable writers of romantic science
fiction are Jayne Castle’s (AKA Krenz) books on Harmony and Diana Gabaldon’s
Highlander series (now a TV series). Romantic Sci-Fi includes the sub-genre of
Romantic Fantasy (virtually the same except magic is used rather than
technology). A fuller description of this sub genre can be found in the Romance
a fiction genre set in an imaginary universe, most often
without any locations, events, or people from the real world. Most fantasy
uses magic or other supernatural elements as a main plot element, theme,
or setting. Magic and magical creatures are common in many of
these imaginary worlds. Fantasy is generally distinguished from the genres
of science fiction and horror by the expectation that it
will steer clear of scientific and macabre themes, though there is a great
deal of overlap among the three, all of which are subgenres of speculative
Urban Fantasy: is a subgenre of fantasy defined
by place; it is a fantastic narrative with an urban setting. Urban fantasy exists
on one side of a spectrum opposite high fantasy, which is set in an
entirely fictitious world. Many urban fantasies are set
in contemporary times with supernatural elements. However, the
stories can take place in historical, modern, or futuristic periods. The prerequisite
is that they must be primarily set in a city.
Contemporary Fantasy: is generally distinguished
from horror fiction—which also has contemporary settings and fantastic
elements—by the overall tone; emphasizing joy or wonder rather than fear or
dread. These are stories set in the accepted real world in contemporary times;
magic and magical creatures exist but are not commonly seen or understood;
either living in the crevices of our world or leaking over from alternate
worlds. It has much in common with and sometimes overlaps with secret
history. A work of fantasy where the magic does not remain secret, or does
not have any known relationship to known history, would not fit into this
Please see the definition
of Fantasy above.
Horror: is a genre of fiction which is intended
to frighten, scare, disgust, or startle their readers or viewers by inducing
feelings of horror and terror. Literary historian J. A.
Cuddon has defined the horror story as "a piece of fiction in prose
of variable length… which shocks or even frightens the reader, or perhaps
induces a feeling of repulsion or loathing”. It creates an eerie and
frightening atmosphere. Horror is frequently supernatural though it can be non-supernatural.
Often the central menace of a work of horror fiction can be interpreted as
a metaphor for the larger fears of a society.
Historical Fantasy: This is a category of fantasy and a
sub genre of historical fiction that combines fantastic elements
(such as magic) into the story. There is much crossover with other
subgenres of fantasy; books classed as Arthurian, Celtic, or Dark Ages could
just as easily be placed in Historical Fantasy. Stories fitting this
classification generally take place prior to the 20th century.
Weird Fiction: is a subgenre
of speculative fiction starting in the late 19th and early 20th
century. It can include ghost stories and other tales of the macabre. Weird
fiction is distinguished from horror and fantasy in its
blending of supernatural, mythical, and even scientific elements. British
authors who have embraced this style have published their work in mainstream
literary magazines. American weird fiction writers included Edgar Allan
Poe, William Hope Hodgson, H. P. Lovecraft, Lord Dunsany, Arthur
Machen M. R. James, and Clark Ashton Smith.
Comic Fantasy: is
a subgenre of fantasy that is primarily humorous in intent
and tone. Usually set in imaginary worlds, comic fantasy can spoof and parody other
works of fantasy, detective fiction or other genres. It is sometimes known
as Low Fantasy in contrast to High Fantasy, which is primarily
serious in intent and tone. The term “low fantasy” is used to
represent other types of fantasy, however, so while comic fantasies may also
correctly be classified as low fantasy, many examples of low fantasy are not
comic in nature. Two of the most famous examples in this genre would be the
Myth Series which successfully spoofed Fantasy and the Garrett P.I. series
which did a parody of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe detective series. Other writers of
comic fantasy are emerging; notably Dakota Cassidy with her werewolf/witch
spoofs and Amanda M. Lee’s Wicked Witches of the Midwest series.
Slipstream: Slipstream is a kind of fantastic or
non-realistic fiction that crosses the traditional genre boundaries
between science fiction, fantasy, and literary fiction.
Slipstream falls between speculative fiction and mainstream fiction. While some
slipstream novels employ elements of science fiction or fantasy, not all do.
The common unifying factor of these books is some degree of the surreal, the not-entirely
real, or the markedly anti-real.
Epic / High Fantasy: High Fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy, and is
defined by its setting in a fictional universe or by the
epic stature of its characters, themes, and plot. The term
“high fantasy” was coined by Lloyd Alexander in a 1971 essay,
“High Fantasy and Heroic Romance” (originally given at the New England
Round Table of Children’s Librarians in October 1969). Epic Fantasy has been described as containing three elements: it
must be a trilogy or longer, its time-span must encompass years or more, and it
must contain a large back-story or universe setting in which the story takes
Adventure fiction refers to fiction that puts the lead
characters in danger, or gives the reader a sense of excitement
Traditional Western: Western fiction is a genre set in the American Old West
frontier from the late eighteenth to the late nineteenth century. Well-known
writers of Western fiction include Zane Grey from the early 20th century and
Louis L'Amour and John McCord from the mid-20th century. A
traditional western includes cowboys, Native Americans, covered wagons, and
women in aprons with shotguns. The genre peaked
around the early 1960s, largely due to the popularity of televised Westerns
such as Bonanza. Readership began to drop off in the mid- to late 1970s and has
reached a new low in the 2000s. Most bookstores, carry few Western fiction
books. Nevertheless, several Western fiction series are published monthly, such
as The Trailsman, Slocum, Longarm and The Gunsmith. The genre has seen the
rumblings of a revival with the advent of romances in western settings by
authors such as Linda Lael Miller and Joanna Lindsey.
treasure hunting fiction has a great deal in common with both detective fiction
and straight adventure fiction. The hunter must solve a series of clues to find
the treasure A good treasure hunting novel delivers thrills and a rising
excitement as clues are worked out and uncovered. There is also
opposition from rivals as well. And of course, the hunt has a successful
conclusion, or an adequate reason is given why it does not.
General: like Children’s and Youth Fiction, General
Fiction can span all decades and genres. These are books that
fall into the general fiction genre are often ones that straddle so many genres
it’s hard to place them in any specific genre. The books in the general fiction
genre can be a combination of any three or more genres of fiction that cause
them to be outside the limits and rules of those specific genres. Examples of
this: a science fiction, fantasy, romance that has strong elements of comedy
and action and adventure. The
Kite Runner, Water for Elephants, Life of Pi, The Great Gatsby, The Time
Traveler’s Wife, and the Poisonwood Bible. General
Fiction is that strange catch-all genre where titles no one knows how to
classify end up. This section generally takes up about half a bookstore’s
inventory. But even though it’s a vague term, there are some types fiction that
are guaranteed to be found in this section of bookstores or libraries. Classic Literature: Stories that are representative of the time in
which they were written, but because they have a universal appeal, the books lasted
in print and popularity. Drama:
A novel centered on the conflict or contrast of characters. Humor:
A humorous novel has one goal: to provide amusement and make the
reader laugh. Satire: This is category
closely related to humor, but it has a more malicious edge. Its main elements are
irony, sarcasm and parody. Unlike straight humor, satire is created to draw
attention to social problems through wit. Satire always have a message of some
kind. Realistic Fiction:
All realistic fiction has these three elements 1) a setting that can be found
in the real world 2) the characters will be lifelike and fully formed 3) a
conflict or problem that centers on everyday issues or personal relationships
that could exist in real life. Tragedy: A tragedy takes a reader through events leading to the self-destruction
or catastrophe for the lead characters or those around them. It is sometimes
referred to as a tear-jerker. A tragicomedy is a combination of tragedy and
comedy. To qualify as this type of fiction there must be an equal mixture of
both tragedy and comedy. Chick Lit or Women’s
Fiction: This is fiction aimed at women and
addresses a variety of subjects, i.e. from shopping to relationships. Think Sex
and the City. Inspirational Fiction: this type of novel has the goal of inspiring the reader.
Its lead characters overcome obstacles and it can be set in the past, present
or the future provided that the setting could occur in real life. Most
Christian fiction will fall under this category. Historical Fiction: we
covered Historical fiction in the various genres, but there are some novels who
simply don’t fit into them. The main idea would be to showcase the past in an
accurate manner while making the characters and interesting. If it involves
real events, they must be reported accurately and without change. The most
successful historical fiction sometimes tells the story of ordinary people and
how they are affected by historical events.
Fiction (YA): I made this a separate
category because the plots of these novels span all the genres. Young adult fiction or
young adult literature (YA) is fiction for readers from 12 to 18. However,
authors and readers of “young teen novels” often define it as works written
for age 15 to the early 20s. The terms young adult novel, juvenile novel,
teenage fiction, young adult book, etc., all refer to the works in this
category. The subject and story lines of young adult literature must
be consistent with the age and experience of the main character, but this
literature spans the spectrum of fiction genres. Stories that focus on the
specific challenges of youth or teens are sometimes referred to as coming-of-age
Children’s Fiction: is a genre all to itself. This
is children’s books written especially for children from 0 to 12 years old.
Like YA fiction, it includes a broad spectrum of the genres, with certain
differences from YA and Adult fiction. Picture
Books: Children’s books that provide a “visual experience” - tell
a story with pictures. There may or may not be text with the book. The content
of the book can be explained with the illustrated pictures. Picture Story Books are Children’s
books that have pictures or illustrations to complement the story and usually
are aimed for a trifle older audience depending on their reading ability. These
are often done on a collaborative basis with the author employing an
illustrator, or vice versa. Both the text and the illustrations are important to
the development of the story. The pictures are the “eye-candy” that
get children’s attention, but the text is needed to complete the story. Traditional Literature, includes stories
passed down from generation to generation. In many ways, the fact that they do
change over time is what makes them so fascinating because of the link they
provide to the past. To remain meaningful in different eras, the stories while keeping
much of their original flavor and content, must evolve in subtle ways to be acceptable to
current mores and culture. These are folktales, fairy tales, fables, legends
and myths. Children’s Historical Fiction
is stories that are written to illustrate or convey information about a
specific time or historical event. Authors use historical fiction to create
drama and interest based on real events in people’s lives. Children’s Modern Fantasy is probably easier to define by example
or by what it isn’t. The stories are contemporary or nondescript as to time
periods. They are imaginative tales requiring readers to accept story lines
that clearly cannot be true. They may be based on animals that talk, facets of
science fiction, supernatural or horror, or combinations of these elements.
“Charlottes Web,” “Winnie the Pooh,” “Alice in
Wonderland”, “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” and
“The Wizard of Oz” are all examples of modern fantasy written for young
readers up to 12 years old. Children’s Realistic
Fiction has main characters of roughly the age (or slightly older than) the
book’s intended audience. The books offer a “real-world” problem or
challenge and show how a young person solves that problem.
WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
Several Years ago, I wrote a blog defining the
many Art Genres. I decided to try the same with writing. I searched the
internet and pulled up most of these definitions from Wikipedia, and various
other internet sources who defined writing genre. It is by no means a
comprehensive list, but it might help my fellow writers when asked by a
publisher to define the genre of the book they have just written. There is an
enormous amount of information about book genres. I limited myself to fiction.
I may do a similar chart for non-fiction later though. I got the idea for the
chart from a Facebook post, but I made some changes and additions to what was
there. Please feel free to share or add to it.
Mystery fiction is
a genre usually involving a mysterious death or a crime to be solved.
In a closed circle of suspects, each suspect must have a credible motive and a
reasonable opportunity for committing the crime.
Noir/Hard Boiled: Noir fiction is
a literary genre closely related to
the hard-boiled detective genre except that the lead character
is not a detective, but instead either a victim, a suspect, or a perpetrator.
Other common characteristics include the self-destructive qualities of the lead
character A typical protagonist of noir fiction is dealing with the legal,
political or other system that is no less
corrupt than the perpetrator by whom the protagonist is either victimized
and/or must victimize others daily, leading to lose-lose situation.
Cozy Mystery: Cozy mysteries, also referred to as “cozies”,
are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are
played down or treated with humor and the crime and detection takes place
in a small, socially intimate community. The term was first coined in the late
20th century when various writers attempted to re-create the Golden Age of
General Mystery: Mystery fiction is
a genre of fiction commonly involving a mysterious death or a crime
to be solved. The central character must be a police or amateur detective who eventually
solves the mystery by logical deduction from facts fairly presented to the
reader. Sometimes mystery books are nonfictional. “Mystery
fiction” can be detective stories in which the emphasis is on the puzzle
or suspense element and its logical solution such as a whodunit. Mystery fiction
can be contrasted with hard-boiled detective stories, which focus on
action and gritty realism.
Mystery fiction may involve
a supernatural mystery where the solution does not have to be logical,
and even no crime involved. This was common in the pulp magazines of
the 1930s and 1940s, where titles such as Dime Mystery, Thrilling
Mystery and Spicy Mystery offered what at the time were
described as “weird menace” stories—supernatural horror in the vein
of Grand Guignol. This contrasted with parallel titles of the same names
which contained conventional hard-boiled crime fiction. The first use of
“mystery” in this sense was by Dime Mystery, which started out
as an ordinary crime fiction magazine but switched to “weird menace”
during the latter part of 1933.
Police Procedural: The police
procedural, or police crime drama, is a subgenre of detective
fiction that attempts to depict the activities of a police
force as they investigate crimes. Traditional detective novels usually
concentrate on a single crime. Police procedurals frequently
describe investigations into several unrelated crimes in a single story.
Traditional mysteries usually adhere to the convention of having the criminal’s
identity concealed until the climax (the so-called whodunit); in
police procedurals, the perpetrator’s identity is often known to the audience
from the outset (this is referred to as the inverted detective story).
Police procedurals describe several police-related topics such as forensics, autopsies,
the gathering of evidence, the use of search warrants, and interrogation.
Hobby Mystery: See Cozy
Mystery. This is merely a specialized sub genre of Cozy mysteries. The
story usually centers around the main character’s hobby, such as quilting or
Historical Mystery: The historical
mystery or historical whodunit is a subgenre of two other
genres, historical fiction and mystery fiction. These works are
set in a time usually before 1960 and the central plot involves the solving of
a mystery or crime (usually murder). Though works combining these genres have
existed since at least the early 20th century, many credit Ellis Peters's Cadfael
Chronicles (1977-1994) for making popular what would become known as the
historical mystery. The increasing prevalence of this kind of fiction in
succeeding decades spawned a distinct subgenre.
All Our Tomorrows
Gail Daley – All Our Tomorrows – Science Fiction
The Handfasting is an epic tale of a family’s struggle
to survive on an alien planet. Book 3, All Our Tomorrows - a
warrior/priestess teams up with a Bard from another world and genetically
created children to defeat a deadly enemy and save their planet from
NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON
IN E-BOOK AND SOFT COVER
In a land where magic
and witchcraft is a death sentence, an amnesiac fighter on the run falls for a
traveling fortuneteller’s granddaughter hiding from the deadly secrets in her
… spaaaace travel! by x-ray delta one
… spaaaace travel!
by x-ray delta one
Hard copies available by December 19, 2016.
An Alien Worlds Romance— a warrior/priestess teams up with a Bard from another world and genetically created
children to defeat a deadly enemy and save their planet from destruction
Lady Drusilla O’Teague, born of a powerful line of psychically gifted women; she has been
trained from birth as warrior and Dragon Talker. She learned to distrust her
own feelings as child when she was unable to shield herself from the seesaw
emotions of others.
Lucas Lewellyn an off-world survivor of the Karamine Wars was bred from a tribe of
Shamans and Bards. He was given the inherent ability to compel with his voice, but
he is untrained in the use of his powers. He knows when he meets Drusilla the
first time that their destinies are linked, but will she admit it?
Their world of Vensoog is in danger. The
Thieves Guild wants the deposits of Azorite—the mighty crystals used to power
spaceships and found in large numbers on Vensoog. To save their world, Drusilla
and Lucas are going to need the help of the genetically crafted children
created by those threatening Vensoog. Together they must drive off the Guild
and defeat their enemies.
Juliette Jones—crafted in the Guild’s genetic Labs to be super smart, ruthless, wily and
conniving–the perfect spy. But the Guild never realized they had also given
her a loving heart.
Lucinda Karns—the daughter of a Thieves Guild Lieutenant, she was given enhanced
creativity genes to make her the perfect icy thinker and planner; but those
genes sparked a need for balance giving her a moral compass.
Violet Ishimara— She was designed with a high degree of empathy to be a tool for the
Guild, but her alliance with the Vensoog Sand Dragon Jelli gave
her the courage to stand up to her masters.
Rupert, the intuitive chemist and Roderick, the electronic genius
— Orphaned twins who were seen by the Guild as tools to turn into weapons,
turned out to be a lot tougher than the Guild expected.
Estimated publication date April 2017
On a raw, untamed world,
three sisters make different choices to find happiness and love as well as
safety. Bethany marries a mercenary fighter to protect her family, Iris agrees
to an arranged wedding with an old friend, and Jeanne runs off with the son of
technology to locate and open gates to other worlds was discovered on earth in
the late 21st century, access to this knowledge was strictly
regulated by the governments and industry hoping to exploit the vast resources
on the unmapped worlds. Once the knowledge of how to locate and open gates to
other worlds was discovered, it wasn’t long before the new technology was
leaked and illegally created Portals began cropping up. Prohibited Settlers slipped
through these Forbidden portals in search of freedom, adventure and escape. There
was no going back and these adventurers had only the technology they could
carry with them to defend themselves against alien plants and animals on
strange new worlds. Adventure meant a one-way ticket to a hardscrabble
existence. Freedom meant no law to run to for protection from each other.
This is the first book in my
Portal Worlds series. Publishing eta is June 2017. I would appreciate your
Why is it important for a writer to have a comfortable space to
write? As a writer, I have to say that if I’m uncomfortable physically, it
makes it much harder to concentrate on being creative. If I am in the creative
zone, I may spend 10 or 12 hours at my terminal with only short breaks for food
or to use the restroom. Fatigue or even repetitive motion injuries from typing
on a regular keyboard or sitting in a poorly designed chair decreases my
abilities and concentration. However, these things can be avoided with a few
Several years ago, I was introduced to
‘ergonomic furniture and computer accessories”. What is that you say? Ergonomic
furniture and accessories are designed to reduce physical stress on the person
using them, and help prevent repetitive strain (Carpal tunnel) or
musculoskeletal disorders in those of us who spend a lot of time at a computer
screen. Which is something I badly needed because I do spend a lot of time on a
computer terminal: I write fiction, I’m a blogger, I run two online/print
newsletters, and I am webmaster for several web sites. In between that, I am
also my husband’s office manager in his business.
This brings up a comparison point: which
system provides more comfort; a PC or an Apple product. I ask this because some
time ago we made the decision to switch from PC products, which is supported by
Microsoft to Apple products because of the increased security from online
malware they offer. The relative freedom
from Malware attacks does have a drawback. Unfortunately, while Apple is way
out in front in designing products for mobile use, they are far behind the PC
industry when it comes to ergonomic accessories for its users. In fact, they do
not actually offer any ergonomic keyboards or mice in the Apple Store (or is it
mouses when talking tech?). While there are companies who do manufacture
ergonomic accessories that are compatible with Apple products, they don’t
integrate as smoothly with Apple as does Apples own products. Apples products
are usually rechargeable; sadly, the substitute stuff sold by other
manufactures is not. Keyboards and mice
are either plug in or if they are wireless, they require batteries.
Is it worth it? Well, that depends on how
much your hands and wrists begin to hurt using a non-ergonomic keyboard for
lengthy periods. The difference in appearance between a standard keyboard and
an ergonomic one is obvious once you have seen or used one. The standard
keyboard is flat and rectangular, whereas an ergonomic keyboard actually looks
quite different. While it is still longer than it is wide, an ergonomic
keyboard is slightly curved, allowing the user’s hands to rest at a more
natural angle when typing. The keys are also slightly larger with a tiny bit
more space between them. As you can see, Ergonomic keyboards also come with a
I did a run on the internet and three Ergonomic keyboards that
came most highly recommended on the reviews on Amazon are shown here. However, all
the reviews did mention that not all of the keys were functional straight out
of the box, but with the additional purchase of USB Overdrive (free program app)
the keys worked fine. This was an overall view expressed on all of the
keyboards I found.
This item Perixx PERIBOARD-512II W, Ergonomic Split
Keyboard - White - Natural Ergonomic Design - Wired USB Interface - Recommended
with Repetitive Stress Injuries RSI User. This one retails at about $50.00. 4 ½
stars on Amazon
Logitech Mk550 Wave Wireless Keyboard/Mouse
Combo (It got 4 ½ stars on Amazon). This one retails
out at about $50.00 on Amazon.com. Logitech is one of the most trusted computer accessory brands worldwide.
Adesso Tru-Form Media
Contoured Ergonomic Keyboard (PCK-208B) got 4 stars on Amazon. This was the
least expensive one of the three ($30). It was specifically mentioned however
that this keyboard was not good for gaming.
REASONS FOR KEEPING GOOD RECORDS
By the Practical Artist
many times I have heard fellow artists say, “I’m an artist. I don’t want to
bother with stuff like keeping records of what I paint”. Well, if you are a
hobbyist who only paints one or two paintings a year, this idea might have some merit—until it becomes very
important (for whatever reason) to locate a piece of art you created. There is
no reason for an artist to become overwhelmed by the idea of keeping records of
when a piece of art was created and where it’s been shown. Knowing which shows
into which you have previously entered an art piece might even save you some
embarrassment when a show chair complains that you keep entering the same art
in a yearly show! Knowing when you
created a piece of art might become important if someone pirates your work and
sells it because who created the art first often decides who has the copyright.
If you have no record of when an art piece was created, you might even be found
in violation of your own work!
you sell your art, it is considered income and over a certain amount, it must
be reported as such to the IRS on your federal taxes. If you participate in a
booth event, you are usually required to have a seller’s permit, collect sales
tax, and then report and pay that sales tax to the State.
is a business as well as a creative endeavor. Losing your art can be a
financial loss. Not being aware of losing money because you don’t keep track of
costs can create a huge problem.
WHAT IS NEEDED TO KEEP RECORDS
relax; this isn’t as difficult as it sounds! Let’s take this one step at a
time, using one piece of work. Step one: decide in what form you are going to
keep your work log. While
it is very helpful to have this information stored on a computer, artists were
tracking their work using paper files long before computers became popular. I
personally prefer using a computer worksheet, however, all of this stuff can be
put on a sheet of paper and kept in a binder. For the initial record, I
recommend a single sheet or worksheet per art piece. (Please see the Art
Information Sheet in the Sample section)
1—a pictorial image of your work. This can be in the form a printed photograph,
a slide or a digital image. If your work is 3-deminsional, be sure to take
photos of all sides of the work. Since this image is not going to be used to
reproduce the work, a small, low-resolution image will suffice. The image
should be large enough to see details of the work, clear and without blurring.
2—the title of your work, size, style/genre and when it was finished.
3—a brief description of the work (use complete sentences—why will become clear
later). Optional—I also like to keep a kind of diary as to what I wanted to
achieve, why I chose this image, and what was going on in my life when I
created this art piece.
4—Keywords to be used when downloading the photo of your art to your web site
or other internet media.
5—Show and exhibit record is a list of what shows or exhibits were entered,
when they took place and if the art won awards.
6—wholesale and Retail price. This is probably the hardest thing for an artist
to decide on—how much to charge for an artwork! What is the difference between
Wholesale and Retail? Wholesale is always lower than Retail. Your wholesale
price at a minimum should cover the cost of what it cost you to create the art,
plus any gallery commission fees and hopefully with a small profit margin.
Retail price for an art piece should cover all this plus what you as an artist
feel the art is worth. I realize this is very subjective but most of art is subjective.
7—Incidental information such as the date you formally copyrighted the work,
cost of the copyright, etc. More about copyrights later in the Copyright
8—If you had limited editions of a painting or photograph or copies of a
sculpture made, when, how many , how much it cost to make them, how many sold
and how much you made when you did.
9—the date you sold the original art and the name and address of the Buyer.
DON’T LOSE YOUR WORK!
I created Art-Tique with fellow artist Lea Adams, one of the purposes of the
organization was to find low-cost places where artists could show and sell
their work. It was then I discovered the pitfalls of having a lot of art in a
lot of different venues! Many times artists would fail to pick up their art at
the designated time because they couldn’t remember which venue they had placed
it in, and when it was due to be retrieved! For my own sanity, I created an Art
Location Sheet (see the example in the Sample section). I prefer to use a
worksheet program for this, although it can also be kept on paper. I prefer the
worksheet format because it can be sorted many times by the location so it is
very easy to see not only where a particular painting is, but also how many
paintings I have at that location, and when they are due to be picked up. It
also provides a quick reference if I have previously entered it in a particular
show. The items listed below should be entered in a single line (one line per
4—Date of receiving for show or exhibit
6—pick up date
7, 8, 9—past three shows or exhibits
you see this wasn’t hard at all!