a walk in the genre woods

Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Recently completed the Genre Structure workshop offered by Dean Wesley Smith. This workshop is one of the Classic six-week courses, a downloadable video series priced at half the cost of Smith’s current ongoing workshops. I learned there was much more to genre structure than I thought I knew.

It isn’t just the obvious story pattern. Every genre has its tropes and patterns and reader expectations. The writer’s job is to meet those expectations if the writer wants to write genre fiction successfully. And yes literary fiction is a genre.

The workshop gave me a deeper understanding of genre, of the importance of story structure, even of composition as well as an understanding of how very flexible genre structure can be. Within the framework of any genre’s format is plenty of room for great creativity and flexibility.

I enjoyed the video lectures and my creativity was put to the test by the assignments. Once you purchase and download the series, it’s yours for life and you can return to it as many times as you like. I’ll listen to it again because Dean Wesley Smith conveys a cornucopia of information about genre structure along with¬†interesting bits of genre history, and I’m sure in all my note-taking I probably missed some details, like when you watch a movie for the first time, you don’t see everything that’s on the screen.

As a writer, I’ll never stop learning because the minute you close your mind to the experience of creative learning, you’ve stared the gorgon in the face. You know what happens then.

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