Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: genre

What Is Visionary Fiction?


When I published my last book—Notes from An Alien—my Best Friend said it was “Documentary Fiction”… 

I still think it fits that description.

Visionary Fiction Alliance

However, I’ve joined an Alliance—The Visionary Fiction Alliance—so, perhaps, Notes from An Alien is Visionary Documentary Fiction?

One of my main characters had this to say in the book’s Prologue:

“My name is Sena Quaren and this book is a story told in ‘notes’. Even though some readers may think it is a novel or a history, its form is difficult to classify in what are called genres.”

Wondering what Sena would think of this explanation of Visionary Fiction:

Characteristic Features of  Visionary Fiction:

  • Growth of consciousness is the central theme of the story and drives the protagonist, and/or other important characters.
  • The story oftentimes uses reincarnation, dreams, visions, paranormal events, psychic abilities, and other metaphysical plot devices.
  • The plot [or story] is universal in its worldview and scope.

Let’s see:

Growth of consciousness is shown in the story of three planets’ people seeking a sense of Oneness.

Metaphysical plot devices abound.

The story is Universal since it shows aliens pursuing what earthlings should be doing

The book’s for sale but also you can grab a free copy.

Do you write Visionary Fiction?

Do you know any authors who do?

Perhaps you or they would be interested in these benefits when joining the VFA:

  • Your site will be listed in their VF author database
  • You will be added to their mailing list (this is optional)
  • You will have the opportunity to guest post on the VFA site to promote yourself
  • You can announce your giveaways etc. in the VFA authors section
  • You will be given priority for an interview

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Can Writing Poetry Help An Author Find Their “Voice”?


Writer’s Voice is one of those terms that seems to change its meaning depending on who’s talking about it—almost as if “Writer’s Voice” were capable of sensing who’s writing about it and letting that author’s Voice decide what “Writer’s Voice” means

For me, writer’s voice is “simply” the way one puts the words down.

If an author stays rigidly within a genre, the way they put words down is constrained by their experience within the genre.

And, speaking of genre, the previous post, What Is A Genre & Should You Try To Write In One?, is where I add my writer’s voice to the discussion

If a particular writer has a work classified as science fiction yet reading it feels substantially different than most sci-fi you’ve read, the book was either put in the wrong genre classification or, even though it could be fairly called sci-fi, the author’s voice is unique enough to raise the work above hackneyed-genre.

So, what does poetry have to do with helping a writer find their voice?

Well, The Atlantic recently published an article by Dorothea Lasky called What Poetry Teaches Us About the Power of Persuasion.

To me, an author’s voice is the main thrust behind their power to persuade—persuade in a forceful voice or one which woos or perhaps a deceiving voice that misinforms to persuade away from

Then, there’s Ms. Lasky’s subtitle-sentences:

“Logic and grammar are important. But for students to truly own the English language, they need to read and write poems.”

Certainly seems owning language would improve voice, eh?

Let me share a few more excerpts from the article in an attempt to persuade you to follow its link:

“…if someone is telling you that there is a set and finite way to construct a sentence—and you’re a poet—you will naturally get a little annoyed. And you will be justified in feeling this way, because it’s simply not true.”

“I have found that all students can write. And one of the surest ways to awaken their love for language is poetry.”

“A lot of people argue that poetry is ‘difficult’ or that it has no real value for childrens’ future. That’s just not true. If you think poetry isn’t important to your students, you are not listening to them. You are not noticing the headphones in their ears, blasting poetry to soothe their walk to class. You are not thinking of them in their rooms at night, writing down their experiences. It may be that you are defining poetry too dogmatically.”

“…in a poem, a student not only has the freedom to express a new idea, but to do so in novel language he or she has just created. More so than any other type of writing, a poem takes into account the indispensable dimension of well-chosen words.”

“A poem is not just a place to present a student’s grammatical knowledge (in fact, it is often the space to subvert it!). Poetry, more than any other form of writing, trains students to take into account the style of language.”

Yes, Ms. Lasky is talking about students, because she’s a poet and a teacher; but, any author who stops learning is an author that just might lose their voice
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Genre or Literary? What’s The Difference?


“…the question of whether a writer should try to write in a particular genre could become completely moot. What matters most is good writing, creative writing; even writing that pushes hard against genres and rules and conventions—steps up to the literary plate and belts one out of the authorial park :-)

That quote is from a previous post, Genre Reconsidered ~ Reader-Driven Fiction, that has links to three more previous posts that explore Genre.

If you want some “definitions” you could look here > Genre and here > Literary but you may come away from those references still wondering what they mean

I feel the divisions between various types of writing are being diluted as the publishers who created and sold them are being transformed.

I published a novel a year ago that most “experts” would not label as a novel.

Most folks would say it’s Science Fiction (a genre) though it has much that adheres to the literary tradition.

I’m not that concerned with the categories

However, I don’t write this blog just for me :-)

I gave you some links up there for genre-exploration and I’ll point you toward the beginning of an exploration of the literary.

Jane Friedman had a guest blogger a while ago named April Line.

She wrote a piece called, Why Isn’t Literary Fiction Getting More Attention?

What are your thoughts or feelings about genre vs literary?
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Genre Reconsidered ~ Reader-Driven Fiction


I was in a hangout with Eric Dorsett tonight on Google Plus.

I felt inspired to ask him what I should blog about and he said, “Genre.”.

Some of you may have noticed the strange punctuation at the end of that last sentence.

That’s the way the maverick in me wants it to look and that brings me to what I want to say about genre; right after I mention three previous posts

Do You Write For The Reader or Should You Write For Yourself?, What Is A Genre & Should You Try To Write In One?, and  Genre, Genre, Who’s Got The Genre ? :-)

At the end of that last post, I wrote: “So the question of whether a writer should try to write in a particular genre could become completely moot. What matters most is good writing, creative writing; even writing that pushes hard against genres and rules and conventions–steps up to the literary plate and belts one out of the authorial park :-)

So back to that maverick streak in me with a few questions for you:

Do you think the wave of self-publishing, which seems to be promising the reader more say in what gets published, could lead to readers “shaping” the whole concept of genre and driving a transformation of what genre means?

Can readers inform authors in such a way that they write in “new” “genres”?

Will the increased interaction between writer and reader being facilitated by social media eventually make “genre” a useless concept when judging a book?

Is it conceivable that the reading public could select books based on plot characteristics or character interactions or theme arcs?

Do some readers do that now?

Should more readers demand that authors forget about genre and write what the unique combination of theme, plot, and character demands of their creativity?

Am I a hopeless dreamer?

Do you have answers for any of these questions??
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Genre, Genre, Who’s Got The Genre ? :-)


Some folks think my book, Notes from An Alien, is a Sci-Fi novel. Thing is, one of the main characters thinks otherwise

So, let’s look at what can be learned by putting “science fiction genre defined” in Google [If your favorite genre isn’t Sci-Fi, hang on just a bit…]:

Wikipedia says: “Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with the impact of imagined innovations in science or technology, often in a futuristic setting. Exploring the consequences of such innovations is the traditional purpose of science fiction, making it a ‘literature of ideas’.”

While there are some “innovations” in my novel, that isn’t the main theme by any means. Plus, “exploring the consequences of such innovations” misses the entire purpose of my book.

At least Wikipedia, a few paragraphs later, says: “Science fiction is difficult to define, as it includes a wide range of subgenres and themes.”

As I checked down the list of sites on Google, I found similar statements of the difficulty in nailing down a definitive definition :-)

So, I plugged in “mystery” and found this, on the Mysterious Times site: “Every author, publisher, bookseller, reader, collector … probably anyone who reads mystery books! … maintains their own definition of what is a mystery and of the genres that comprise the category.”

O.K., how about Romance? Back to Wikipedia: After stating plainly that a romance novel “must revolve around the two people as they develop romantic love for each other” and “have an ’emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending’.”, then discussing a couple other “rules”, they say: “…there are also many books that are widely considered to be romance novels that deviate from these rules.”

Hmmm

If any of you go looking up other genres, would you let me know in the comments if you also found folks disagreeing on just what comprises them??

Next, I put “non-genre” into Google. And, surprise!, I found a popular Sci-Fi site, SF Signal, that had an article with various authors’ choices for influential non-genre books.

I also found a GoodReads page with a list of Popular Non Genre Fiction Books. Now, here’s a place I really hope you go investigate! I bet we could have some wild discussions about whether those books are all “non-genre” :-)

Back in February, I wrote a post called, What Is A Genre & Should You Try To Write In One? After trying to cover a number of differing views on the issue of genre, I ended up saying:

So the question of whether a writer should try to write in a particular genre could become completely moot. What matters most is good writing, creative writing; even writing that pushes hard against genres and rules and conventions–steps up to the literary plate and belts one out of the authorial park :-)

What are your thoughts and feelings about Genre??
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