Learning More about Other Genres

blank pageCiao, SEers. In the spirit of the new year (and all things new) I thought I’d broach a subject that’s foremost in my mind these days—new projects. Specifically, starting a new story or series in a genre you haven’t written in before. There’s nothing more daunting than staring at a blank page.

Unless, of course, you’re staring at a blank page and are at a complete loss as to what to say.

It might seem counterintuitive that a writer, whose primary purpose is to tell a story, would sit to start brainstorming or plotting or writing without some idea in his or her head. I suppose it is, if you think of a writer starting with a completely blank slate. I mean, who among us would try to tell a story without at least a seed of an idea to nurture?

That’s not what I mean. I’m talking about waking from a dead sleep with a fabulous idea for a story, one that won’t let go of you. But you’ve only ever written westerns and this one is a futuristic sci fi story. Where do you begin?

The resource I’m sharing with you today will help with that. (Honestly, if you want to start with a completely blank slate, this resource might spark an idea in you.)

I’m talking about TV TROPES.

Don’t worry; this isn’t a resource just for script writing. What you learn here can be extrapolated to fiction writing, too.

There are four main sections.

  1. Genre: gives a list of genres as well as a selection of related material.
  2. Media: is a little less helpful and definitely more specialized; it includes more than just the written medium and offers some interesting information that you might be able to use to your favor.
  3. Narrative: this is a great section for improving your craft; you’ll find resources on character, plot, and setting development as well as sections on dialogue, conflict, motifs, and symbolism.
  4. Topical: tropes broken down by topic rather than by genre; this is useful when you want to write a story about something in particular (like a rite of passage) rather than thinking about writing a type of story (like steampunk).

And if you’re just looking for the biggest and most comprehensive list of them all? Start with the TV Trope Index.

I believe a writer could find inspiration or answers to genre questions all over this site, but for me, I find the genre options and the index itself the most useful.

I’ve never actually used the site before. (I’d never even heard of it until recently.) I usually get ideas that are fully-formed or are easily developed as I write an outline. But my bosses recommended this site to one of our staff writers, and I couldn’t help but check it out. It’s a treasure trove of information.

I’m starting a new series in a new-to-me genre, and I’m probably going to peruse a few of these categories before I finalize my outlines. I thought perhaps some of you might find this resources useful, too. After you look at it, or if you’ve used it before, I’d love to know what you think. Let’s talk about it below.

Staci Troilo Bio


51 thoughts on “Learning More about Other Genres

  1. Pingback: Learning More about Other Genres | Ann Writes Inspiration

  2. Pingback: Author Inspiration and This Week’s Writing Links – Staci Troilo

  3. Thanks for the link, Staci. I had a quick peep at it and it looks good. I have only been writing for just over 2 years and in that time I have published 5 children’s pictures book, one middle school book, one fictionalised biographical novel for teenagers, one book of poetry and two horror short stories. I sent my 6th children’s picture book to my publisher yesterday and I also finished my YA horror/supernatural novel today. I am still experimenting with genre. I have an idea what will work for me. I know Sci-fi and fantasy are no-no’s as I don’t really read this type of fiction (except for Craig’s fabulous books but his are different from the usual for me). Horror and supernatural seems to be working as well as historical fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve never tried it before. Half the time what I’ve been told is “if the idea doesn’t come from your head, don’t write it.”
    I never believed them. So I’ll try this. Seems like it definitely will be fun. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So many people say “write what you know.” Think of all the great works we’d be deprived of if all writers did that. No fantasies, no murder mysteries, no science fiction or steampunk. I could go on and on. I’m so glad you haven’t listened to the naysayers. Wishing you much success writing whatever comes to your creative mind.


  5. I’ve never heard of this site before. Starting in a new genre can be daunting. I think that no matter what, the author must have at least a smidgen of interest in the genre or it will show in the writing. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree that passion comes through when we write. I think it would be noticeable if an author just followed a pattern with no interest in the material and only a clinical desire to write to a certain market. But if you want to write something you’re unfamiliar with or are just looking for an idea, I think this site is invaluable. Having read your work, I know you don’t need it. But I have to tell you, it’s super easy to get sucked in if you start browsing.


  6. I had never heard of this site, Staci. It is a treasure trove of information and great writing prompts. I can see where it would be most helpful to find new ideas, especially in an unfamiliar genre. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I seem to manage to get romance in most of my stories, too. I’m a soft touch when it comes to matters of the heart. But I love so many genres, I really enjoy flexing my writing muscles and trying new things. I’m glad you found this resource helpful.


  7. Like you, I haven’t come across this resource until now. It looks brilliant, and I’ve bookmarked it. As a multi-genre author this will be so useful. Thanks for sharing, Staci 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I felt so foolish that I’d never heard of it (I was the only one at the meeting who hadn’t). It’s nice to know I’m in great company. Glad you found it useful. It really is a boon, especially for multigenre authors like us who aren’t immersed in only one world all the time.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I always thought I would stick to writing mystery thrillers, but my mind has been chewing over the idea of writing something completely different.
    Your post might just have given me the wa\y forward, so thanks for that, Staci!

    Liked by 3 people

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