The Writer’s Bag of Tricks

Genre and Trope and Stuff

Sometimes I am a dumbass. I know you find it hard to believe, but it is true. Some of my professed dumbassedness is self-inflicted. I go against my gut, or more often, my schedule, and I get myself dug deep into some pit of Hell I don’t want to be in. This happens with good intentions initially (admittedly it happens much less often these days because an abundant amount of dumbassedness had magically transformed into hardassedness) because I want to do something a little different, or help someone.

But it sometimes happens and I accept a freelance project that I don’t really want.

That’s a lie.

I did want it. I just didn’t spend enough time in the pre-editing phase to accurately judge how much time and work this monster, uh, I mean, manuscript, would actually take. If I had, I might had passed on it. Usually, I am a pretty good judge of my time. I know that I can edit a generally well-polished manuscript at so many pages per hour. Before I accept a freelance job, I read through the story, usually focusing on the beginning and the ending, with some skim through the middle. I can usually tell what kind of edit needs to happen, and how long it will take, and how much it will cost (the author or publishing house).

But sometimes, the writer has polished the beginning, and worked on their ending, but left everything else alone. There are hidden demons lurking in the depths just waiting to jump out scare the crap out of me as an editor. My mouth will start speaking of its own accord, “How the (censored-bleep-censored) fix that?”

And that is how I got stuck slogging through a Hellish middle of a weirdly mixed-genre story.

What started out as a particular genre story, say for example a historical romance, took a turn for the worse and rode the rails to genre Hell. It only matters because if you tell your reader that you are giving them a particular genre, a romance for example, but somewhere along the middle it turns into a YA-thriller-with-only-a-minor-love-interest-and-no-real-romance…it’s can be a problem. Your reader bought your book expecting a romance and they will be very unhappy that they didn’t get what they paid for.

Wouldn’t you be?

So, over the next unspecified block of time, I am going to focus on genre-specific information. I am sure I will digress with other topics as I am prone to do. Hopefully, these posts will be helpful to all. I do believe that a well-crafted story is a well-crafted story regardless of genre, so even though I may write something focused on mystery, there will hopefully be something that can apply to everyone.



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