Finding Members of Your Genre

Thursday, August 12, 2010
I firmly believe that good writing is good writing. Therefore I believe that a children's book author can critique a mystery manuscript, a romance writer can critique a science fiction manuscript and vice-versa. But a writer in your same genre can add something extra. As a writer in, say the mystery genre, the assumption is they know and read lots of mystery. So, while your friend who writes romance may be able to say "There's a hole in the plot in Chapter 2" or "Your minor characters are a little shallow" someone who writes in your genre can see things others might not. Looking at your writing through the eyes of your genre they can recognize when you're imitating another writer's style, when your main character seems like a rip off on another character, or when you aren't following the format readers in your genre expect.

So find yourself a friend who writes in your genre. But what if you can't? My writers group has people to critique my historical novel but no fellow mystery writers for my cozy mystery. So what's a girl to do? Get yourself to a computer. Oh wait, you're already on a computer! There are plenty of organizations that link genre writers around the country--around the world--together. Here are a few you should check out:

Mystery Writers of America

Sisters in Crime

Romance Writers of America

National Association of Memoir Writers

Science Fiction and Fantasty Association

Thriller Writers Inc.


Donna Volkenannt said...

Hi Jodi,
Thanks for the great advice and the links.
I agree with you. The critique group I belong to has writers in a variety of genres, and it works.
Donna V.

Anonymous said...

I think this is fantastic advice and thanks so much for the links. I am a graduate student in an MFA program, and my fellow students' unwillingness to seriously read a "genre" manuscript is unbelievable. They say they don't "feel capable" of giving me a "thorough critique" of a children's story, so instead, my workshop isn't helpful at all. I love reading this blog, but this is only my first time to comment. When I read posts here, I find some inspiration to keep writing what I love. Thanks!

Angelica R. Jackson said...

I agree that those within your genre can help with a major point--calling you on your cliches.

One friend writes romantic thrillers and she brought in a love scene filled with throbbing manhoods and such. Other members of the group were saying, "what a passionate love scene!" I called her on it; I've read scenes just like that so many times.

At the same time, I was getting comments on how people loved the banter between my MC and her LI, but then had another romance writer point out that they were having the same conversation over and over, just with different clever exchanges. Ouch, but true.

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