Identify Your Nonfiction Genre

Before we can start editing our nonfiction, we need to know what kind of nonfiction we’re dealing with so we can meet the expectations of the genre.

In fiction editing, we have to keep in mind, for example, the different needs of contemporary women’s fiction compared to futuristic science fiction.

In the same way, the different varieties of nonfiction are handled differently depending on their genre or form. Ideally, you will have identified what form you’re using before you start writing. But in my experience, many new writers just start writing, and they don’t think about what form they’re using until they’re done. Which is fine. Continue reading

What is Speculative Fiction, anyway?

Realm Makers

One of the great things about attending the Realm Makers conference is that when you say you write fantasy, people grin and say “cool, what kind of fantasy?” and then let you go on about whether you have dragons and magic or not. Because unlike other Christian writers conferences, this one is just for those of us who write speculative fiction.

In the real world, often as not, “I write fantasy” draws blank stares and comments like “what does that mean, exactly?” Continue reading

What the Rowling Experiment tells us about author platform

Every writer who’s ever attended a conference has cringed at being told to build platform. It seems especially difficult for novelists. A platform is simply the people who are willing to listen to you. It is, as Seth Godin says, permission.

Platform 9 and 3/4 at Kings Cross Station in London. Photo by Jenny Rollo http://www.sxc.hu/profile/buzzybee

Platform 9 and 3/4 at Kings Cross Station in London. Photo by Jenny Rollo

J.K. Rowling had permission from millions, and gave it up to see how she’d fare if she were anyone else. Her newest novel, a mystery, was released under a pseudonym. Despite excellent reviews, it failed to gain traction.

Until the media reported that “Robert Galbraith” was really J.K. Rowling. Suddenly the book sells, because all those people whom Rowling had permission to market to were now paying attention.

The experiment is revealing in two ways. Continue reading