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Genre Fear

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kristina_f View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kristina_f Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Dec 2020 at 3:29pm
Originally posted by Reasonably_Crazy Reasonably_Crazy wrote:

So I think the genre's more forgiving than it might seem on the surface!

I think they have to be. If they wanted to be hardliners about genre, too many stories would be penalized. My suspicion is a story that is (to the judge) better written or more interesting will typically win out against a story that is more true to the genre as long as it was still in the right ballpark. I'd always go with the story I thought I could write better.

One of the difficulties of genre is figuring out what really defines it. I know NYCM has its definitions, but I don't know how much the judges use that themselves. 

I've always been one who felt setting and tropes rarely define genre. If the only two options were fantasy or sci-fi and I was asked to categorize Star Wars, I'd put it in fantasy, no problem. But if I worked at a book store, I'd end up stacking Star Wars fiction in sci-fi (even if not instructed to do so).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nod1v1ng Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Dec 2020 at 3:52pm
Originally posted by kristina_f kristina_f wrote:


Spy: My associations with spy are bad. While I know there is much more to the genre than Bourne and Bond, my exposure has largely been to the aspects of spy which cater to male fantasy--aspects I have a toxic relationship with, I guess. 

Yeah, I have no interest in the whole male fantasy spy story either so I gagged a little when I got it.

And then I wrote a Mythology genre mashup where my MC was a sassy 3/4 siren lesbian who was hired by one Greek Muse to find out what one of the other Muses was planning for Zeus's birthday. There were no guns or skimpy outfits. There weren't even any male characters. There were however harpies and a charm bag that sneezed & shriveled up when she threw cayenne pepper on it. 

Took top marks.

Writing a creative story that you are happy with trumps genre tropes any day.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chrissie0707 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Dec 2020 at 5:23pm
Honestly, I dread being given Spy in the first round, but only because I bombed out last year and didn't even get my Spy story written and submitted. (The idea I had was waaaaaaaay too big for the word count, and my anxiety toppled me.) 

Though I've written twice now, I still have a bit of dread for Romance. The trick I've learned (from some really BAMF writers in these comps) is to take a genre that's not your strength or not something you'd ever choose to write, and make it your own. I've had some success with genre mash-ups in these comps, and I know others have as well. I've mixed assigned Romance with Sci-Fi twice, and assigned Crime Caper with Fantasy. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jennifer.quail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Dec 2020 at 6:59pm
Originally posted by kristina_f kristina_f wrote:

Originally posted by Reasonably_Crazy Reasonably_Crazy wrote:

So I think the genre's more forgiving than it might seem on the surface!

I think they have to be. If they wanted to be hardliners about genre, too many stories would be penalized. My suspicion is a story that is (to the judge) better written or more interesting will typically win out against a story that is more true to the genre as long as it was still in the right ballpark. I'd always go with the story I thought I could write better.


OTOH, my experience is deviate much from their formulaic little descriptions and the judges will be completely clueless. If you draw comedy, don't go dark or sophisticated, if you get romcom, crib the movie cliches or else.  

So basically, you're at the mercy of three/four randomly-assigned judges hired off Craigslist who may or may not be literate.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BarbaraFL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Dec 2020 at 7:44pm
I just got rom com three times and I will have a slight meltdown if I get it again for short story.

I have used up all of the brain cells and creativity I can for rom com at this time. Literally can't imagine even submitting if I get it (but will still try). 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NERdling Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Dec 2020 at 9:40pm
I had a false start with the 2019 flash contest where I cobbled together some trash for Ghost Story round 1 because I was traveling for work. Then I completely forgot about round 2 - also because I was travelling for work. 

This year I got Poli Sci, Horror, Drama, and open and I honestly think some people were so intimidated by Poli Sci that they didn't even attempt the first round. The trick for me is to obsessively research each genre instead of writing and then completely panic write something. Honestly, I am more interested in the forum feedback than anything. It has gone a long way in repairing a really bad experience with feedback I had as a lit major in a creative writing class in college. 

I felt super comfortable in micro with a Fairytale, but I am nervous about Short Story because I've never done a longer word count before. I am also still a bit intimidated by suspense and comedy. I know I'm funny (I tell my husband about 8 times a day), but it's like when someone asks me what my favorite book and and all of a sudden, by brain convinces me I've never heard of books. 


Edited by NERdling - 08 Dec 2020 at 11:49am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CostumeJuliery Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Dec 2020 at 6:07am
This is so relatable. 
I actually didn’t even get to the feedback part of the college class....the room was full of people who used words like ‘juxtaposition’ in everyday language. I behaved a lot like a person with imposter syndrome and convinced myself that I had no business in that class. 
I think an online forum will help me over that hurdle. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dashesndots2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Dec 2020 at 10:16am
Originally posted by theinquisitor theinquisitor wrote:

For me, it would be anything that required me to be funny on demand.

^This.  I've never had Comedy or Romcom and I don't want them.

I managed to squeak through 1st round of 2020 Short Story with a Crime Caper that *I* found funny, but I don't think what I find funny corresponds all that well with what other people find funny.

I've pulled PoliSat once in 2018 Flash Challenge 3 and managed an HM, but I didn't enjoy it.

This years' Flash gave me Spy first round, and I probably wrote the most cliche "young Russian female spy confronts a figure from her past" thing possible.  14 points. Ermm  I actually like the story I wrote, but I was surprised.

Although, if I'm being honest, the genre I'm dreading the most for this year's SSC is Historical Fiction.  I've had it 4 times now since 2017, twice in Flash and twice in SSC, and I'm getting sick of it.  I hate doing research apparently, LOL. At least if I get it again I'll have eight days instead of 48 hours to do all that research. 






Edited by dashesndots2 - 08 Dec 2020 at 10:17am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ophelialit74 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Dec 2020 at 2:40pm
Welcome to the party! 

I've found through the various challenges that there are genres I fear because I'm unfamiliar with them (historical fiction, spy, sci-fi) and genres I fear because they sound impossible (political satire). There are also genres that I loathe because they're so far outside my areas of interest and skill (romance, comedy, romantic comedy--see a theme there?) aaaaaand there are genres that I love in general but don't necessarily do well with in contests (ghost, horror). 

But that's why NYC Midnight contests are so dang cool. I've been pleasantly surprised that the unfamiliar genres have become weird little faves, and I tend to do pretty well with them...I've also learned to stretch wayyyyyy outside my comfort zones and try a bunch creative approaches because the prompts offer nearly limitless interpretation. I always check NYCM's genre definitions and examples before I dive into something new, and that helps quite a bit. 

My best advice? Jump in with both feet and wallow around in the creative muck with the rest of us! Big smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Christobelle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jan 2021 at 10:40am
Historical fiction and political satire are the two I most fear I think... That said, I would have never thought I'd write a romcom, yet I got given that genre and didn't die....and romance.... and then spy, which though completely foreign to me was the first genre in which I'd scored points!

I honestly would never have placed myself in any of those genres had I not entered the competitions.

Most recently I was given fantasy. I'd never written anything remotely fantasy-inspired, and was like a stunned mullet trying to think of something to write. Once the ideas came though, I was surprised beyond belief. Now I cannot wait to write more!!!!!! 

Fear of the unknown is quite bizarre. I've found these comps throw me in at the deep end, and on each occasion I find myself swimming out at the other end.... Smile

So though fear of the unknown is definitely apparent, you never know what might be set alight inside once the spark ignites....
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