Finding the Right Genre for the Idea in My Head

I’ve been wondering lately if certain ideas require certain genres as the best medium to get the idea into a fully formed story. By genre, I’m meaning the forms of written expression rather than a type of literature. Short story and novel rather than space opera and sword and sorcery. My thoughts crystalized when I read Scott Snyder’s afterword to American Vampire. His argument that American Vampire needed to be a comic book series touched my own thinking. I, too, think that certain ideas call for certain ways of telling.

So, how does one tell what form is best for an idea? I think instinct is the best guide. That and experience. Look at the idea, think about it, and work on it. Does it perform well in a shorter venue or does it demand something larger, grander? Is the idea playable, linguistic, or visual? Does it scream for movement and sound, or is it okay with pictures and balloons?

The idea itself may want/ need/ be attuned to a certain format. But does that mean that the writer has experience in the medium? I guess this part of the equation looks to what the writer is most comfortable with as a craftsman. Is she (or he) best at short stories, novels, comics, movies, games, etc.? What are the skill sets needed to work one rather than the other?

Finally, all of this leads up to a (hopeful) publication and payday (after the work has been done). This also raises questions. Is getting published in one medium easier than in another? What does the writer need to know, or who, to get their work out there? Do agents multitask in genres? So many questions.

I don’t have the answers to all of these questions (or most of them). I’ve been thinking about them long and hard as regards my own projects. This all goes to show that I should have taken art class far more passionately than I did (although I don’t have much of a talent, but that is correctable with work).

Okay, take a deep breath, and get back to work.

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Posted on November 25, 2011, in Books and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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