Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Weekend Writer: Writing Genre For Children

Have we discussed genre? Focusing your writing on a specific type of writing?

One of the interesting things about writing children's literature is that you can end up writing genre within genre. Children's fiction is a specific type of writing, a genre. Then within children's fiction you can have still other genres, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, maybe humor, maybe problem novels. I've read jokes about three books on a new subject is the start of a genre, raising the question of whether autism books became a genre a few years ago. Oh. Wait. Are they just a sub-category of problem novels?

Writing Genre For Children Can Be Tricky

For new writers the big issue with writing children's literature is that it must involve a child main character and be written from a child's point of view, whether you're talking using a first- or third-person narrator. This seems obvious, but some writers struggle with slipping in an adult character to fix things or teach. And it can become very tricky with writing genre. In mysteries, how do child main characters get around to investigate when they can't drive, may not live in an area with public transit, and may have limited financial resources to pay for transportation? In historical fiction, how can writers connect children to specific events they want to write about? How much knowledge do we have about children's experience during various historical periods?

All these thoughts of mine were inspired when I stumbled upon Must-visit Sci-Fi Websites at Now Novel's blog. It relates, of course, to the science fiction genre. It has sites to visit for research and even for research about space-based or robot stories. Science fiction writers for children may find help there for the science fiction aspect of what they're doing. The children's writing portion of the job is another story.

1 comment:

Jordan Now Novel said...

Thanks for the shout out, Gail. Agreed on the challenges of writing children's fiction and child POV characters. I suppose one of the best ways to get good at this is simply to read classics of the genre (I'd say any Roald Dahl is great to begin).

Great blog,

Now Novel