The wonderful world of creative writing not only offers the writer limitless ideas for creating stories, but it also offers many different genres for a writer to explore. The word ‘genre’ is probably familiar to you, but just to clarify its meaning; ‘genre’ basically means ‘kind’ or ‘type’. Genre has become a central part of our society and culture as an influential tool in the construction of artistic classifications and related meanings. So lets explore the creative possibilities of genre writing and how it can revitalise your storytelling.
David Bordwell defines genre within the context of filmmaking, “When we speak of film genres, we’re indicating certain types of movies. The science-fiction film, the action picture, the comedy, the romance, the musical, the western…” (2010, p. 328). Some genres are defined by their “subject matter or theme”, or by their “emotional effect” (pp. 328-329) on the audience like a thriller or a romance film.
The film industry has even gone a step further, as there are many ‘sub-genres’ available, which provides the screenwriter or filmmaker with endless opportunities to push the boundaries of creativity. Some examples are: comedy/ romance, science-fiction/western. Genre classification can also help us when we are choosing a book to read or a movie to watch, or when someone asks us, “What kind of books do you like to read?” or “What’s your favorite movie?”.
Let’s go back to the discussion from the ‘Brainstorming‘ blog. One of the suggestions was – Explore a tried and tested genre, like science fiction, and come up with a new scenario and characters. A film comes to mind here. It’s not one of my favorites, but it’s a good example of mixing genres: Cowboys and Aliens, which stars Harrison Ford and James Bond hottie – Daniel Craig. If you have not seen it, check it out. It offers an interesting, if not slightly bizarre twist on the Western film.
Our culture is so highly saturated with media texts, it can feel as if the ‘creative idea pool’ has been all fished out, but mixing genres can a helpful way of writing a story that is fresh and unique. I have given you just a brief snapshot of genre and its usefulness in dreaming up crazy ideas. So now it’s up to you to strap on your brainstorming cap and discover the possibilities of genre writing.
Remember: It is never too late to kick-start your creative journey!
Bordwell, David, and Thompson, Kristin. Film Art: In Introduction. 9th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill International Edition, 2010. Part 4. Chapter 9. ‘Film Genres’. 328-348. Print.
Cowboys and Aliens 2011, Universal Pictures.