Genre conventions

Question: To a question, you included the statement, "Each genre has certain conventions and can give you ideas about how you might use those conventions in your story." Please elaborate such a list of conventions by genre.


Answer: Boy, you don't ask for much, do you?

Considering there are probably 100 genres and subgenres, an answer to that question could fill a few books.

I will say that there are two levels you can look at genre conventions: structure and illustration. Structure refers to the frame of the story that is often unnoticed by the audience/reader. It includes things such as story goals, plot structure, themes, and broad character types.

Illustration consists the parts of the story visible to the reader that hang on the frame - specific settings, props, events, messages, and character types.

A great resource for discovering conventional illustrations is the genre page on the TV Tropes website...

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GenreTropes

This site attempts to catalog all the conventional illustrations for all genres in not just TV but other forms of fiction as well.

On the other hand, if you want to look at the structural conventions for a given genre, you are better off looking at more academic articles and books - or better still, at articles written by and for authors. Since writers have to make their stories work, they often put more thought into developing a practical understanding of the structural conventions of a genre.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions About Novel Writing.