Know Your Genre’s Rules


After defining your genre clearly, it’s absolutely vital to know the rules and boundaries you are able to work with. More importantly, you have to know what will allow you to reach the desk of an agent representing your genre, or find the loyalists that will know you took the time to understand the rules of the world you are creating.

For instance, did you know historical fiction requires the era and setting to be established on the first page? We’re not talking about the first chapter, or the first five pages. Nope, the first page is where it’s needed; otherwise you’re breaking a key rule of historical fiction, according to Rachel Kent.

Writer’s Relief created a basic overview of the major genres. Within it, there are word counts to go by based on the industry norm. Therefore, if you go below, or above, the amount of suggested words, you’d better have prepared a reason as to why you stepped outside of those guidelines. After all, if a publisher is going to be putting 48 extra pages into your book, it’s going to cost more money and therefore be likely to have less of a profit margin. You’ll need to justify exactly why the extra pages are needed, why your YA novel is over 100,000 words when anything above 75,000 can be considered lengthy to a fault, particularly for first time writers.

Without understanding the rules of your genre, it will expose a weakness as a writer, a weakness agents will immediately identify and readers, loyal to the genre you’re writing in, will expose the fallacies of your book. So know the rules, and understand what is necessary. Because by doing so, you can join me next week when we’ll discuss bending the rules of genre.

What’s a rule in your genre you never thought about, but discovered was necessary? Share it in the comments section below, or on Twitter, find me @ThomasAFowler. Use the hash-tag #WritersConquest. Thanks for stopping by, be sure to kick some ass and be proud of what you do.

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