Welcome to the thirty-eighth of our Creative Challenges. We’re focusing on key aspects of writing and storytelling – core elements that can always be found under the surface of every successful story in our eighth week of Creative Challenges: WriteMovies’ 100-Day Creative Challenge 38 is about genre in writing.
Guidance: For the next 20 minutes, use whatever method you like – thoughts and ideas, mind maps, diagrams or sketches, a sample of script, prose, poetry – as you prepare a creative piece, about:
A story that will appeal to fans of a very specific genre.
- As you work through this task, you might also consider how this activity relates to genre in writing.
- Save or photograph your work as a document called “100DayCC38”. Then reflect on this experience and what it has taught you about you and your writing: what comes naturally to you, which aspects were easy and difficult, and the subjects, angles and attitudes that you like to focus your writing on.
- Share online if you like using the hashtag #100DayCC38 to compare to other people’s experiences and support each other, or submit to our Academy Lite if you’re a subscriber!
When you complete the Challenge – or if you get completely stuck – then look at the Feedback below!
Read my article to understand Genres and What They Really Mean!
Genre tells us how we can expect to FEEL while we’re reading/watching/hearing a story. It also comes with important expectations, which writers have to recognise and respect (but not mindlessly follow). If I tell you my main character is a dwarf, you may ALREADY be assuming that the story belongs to one of two genres! Yet people of the same height as my character exist in every other field of life… so why do we do this?
Genre is crucial in establishing audience expectations, and the tone that your story should strike, as we explore in other Challenges. So when you chose your genre for this activity, what expectations will its fans have of your story? How can you both appeal to, and creatively build upon, those expectations? People feel insulted when a story gives them exactly what they expect from a story in its genre, without anything that makes it fresh, compelling and authentic: it’s like having to face up to the fact that this genre is far less interesting and original than you’d like to think. That’s the origin of the word ‘generic’, after all.
Of course, comedies and spoofs can get away with doing exactly that – see how TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE and HOT FUZZ lay bare the defining features of the genres they pay homage to.
General tips and feedback:
Many writers, naturally, don’t find it easy to be creative ‘on tap’ – especially for work that they didn’t set themselves. But to write professionally, you will usually need to meet deadlines and requirements, that can’t be put off, for briefs you didn’t choose for yourself: even if you’re ill or feeling down, you’ll usually have to just find a way through, and get the results that are needed, to the quality that’s necessary. So the WriteMovies Creative Challenges are designed to help you find ways around the crucial issues of ‘block’.
We do this by setting a (deceptively!) simple brief, and encouraging you to use a variety of methods, approaches and creative products in order to find ways around it, and generate some kind of outcomes that might be useful to you in the future. Whatever state your mind and mood are in – energetic or tired, stimulated or bored, motivated or disengaged, etc – there are different ‘modes’ of creative productivity which you can engage, to make the best of it: editing your work if you can’t write, making notes if you can’t generate script, etc. Try a mix of methods to make the most of activities such as the Creative Challenges, especially anytime you get stuck: just keep adding notes, sketches etc freely, you can decide later whether any of them are useful! Also note that the brief is to ‘prepare’ a creative work – not to actually make it straight away, before you feel ready to! But if you’ve come away from this with a passage of prose or script or even poetry, well done!
Hopefully this activity will have shown you the potential value of our Creative Challenges, and the benefits of making a routine to complete them, and persisting with it day by day to gradually improve all aspects of your writing and to develop solutions to ‘block’, that you will become more and more proficient with over time. We recommend that you commit to fulfilling the 100-Day Creative Challenges, sharing your outputs to gain the support and feedback of other writers working on the same activities, and if you’d like expert daily feedback from us on this and much more, additional material, subscribe to the WriteMovies Academy Lite now!
Go to the 100-Day Creative Challenge homepage HERE, to access further Challenges! Use our hashtag #100DayCC on your social media to discuss the Challenges more generally!