Authors Answer 129 – Genres Helping Other Genres

People usually read multiple genres, authors included. Authors usually write only one or two genres, though. But can they hone their writing skills in one genre by reading other genres?

Note: This is the first time Authors Answer has been late in 129 posts. I wrote a post about this. A lot of things were going on. #130 should be on time.

Question 129 – Do you think reading different genres can help you with writing in your chosen genre(s)?

Cyrus Keith

Of course. I write science fiction. But I taught myself how to write action sequences by reading Louis L’Amour’s westerns. I taught myself tension from Robert Ludlum and Tom Clancy. I learned revelation from Andre Norton, JRR Tolkein, and Robert Heinlein. The wider your experience, the more tools you get for your tool box.

Elizabeth Rhodes

I think it’s possible. Other genres can introduce you to new tropes and concepts that aren’t necessarily common in your chosen genre. I took some cues from thrillers when writing my science fiction novel Jasper, for example. There’s also something to be said for reading outside of your comfort zone. Who knows? Maybe you’ll pick up some a new genre-blending story idea.

Beth Aman

YES.  YES.  It allows you to experience a much wider scope of voices, and lets you see the strengths of each genre and learn how to adopt them into your own novel.  Who cares if I’m writing a High Fantasy novel?  I want to have characters as good as John Green’s or Rainbow Rowell’s.  Who cares if I’m writing a Contemporary novel?  I want to have a plot as complex as Throne of Glass or City of Bones.  Read wide, read deep, don’t limit yourself.  (But also read stuff in the genre you’re writing – it’s invaluable as well.)

H. Anthe Davis

I certainly don’t think reading other genres can hurt your writing.  It’s good to have a broad mind and an awareness of tropes and techniques throughout fiction (and/or nonfiction).  And there are plenty of novels that class in more than one genre, or subgenres that pull from several parents, so why restrict yourself?

C E Aylett

Well, storytelling is storytelling, no matter the genre, so I expect all reading will teach you something. I can’t read other people’s books when I’m writing my own as I become too distracted by the novel that’s been completed, edited, published and practically perfect compared to my lump of mess. I find I’m thinking about their characters instead of my own and I don’t want to unintentionally apply their story to mine, so I avoid reading novels when I’m working on one.

Paul B. Spence

Certainly. I think a good writer reads just about everything well-written they can get their hands on. I read fantasy, science fiction, horror, thrillers, mysteries, and lots of non-fiction. Many authors have great skills at writing, even if it isn’t in your chosen genre. Anyone can learn a lot from the good writers.

Eric Wood

Most definitely. I think the biggest difference between genres is the setting. Otherwise, the main story elements are closely related. There is still conflict and rising action and climax and a solution across all genres. Therefore, reading any genre will provide an opportunity to brainstorm new conflicts or perhaps an old conflict with a new solution.

Jean Davis

Yes, definitely. Reading other genres helps us pick up ideas and techniques different from our standard genre tools. There are always other angles that can be incorporated into a story to spice it up or help it appeal to a wider audience.

Gregory S. Close

I think reading in different genres is a great way to build your narrative vocabulary.  Genre is a pretty fluid concept as is, but obviously having great skill writing a mystery could prove beneficial if you’re writing a sci fi epic with a mystery at its heart.  Conversely, having a good handle on writing science can help add authenticity to a mystery set in a research laboratory.  Good writing and good technique is always worth reading.

D. T. Nova

Probably. Especially in areas where there’s any overlap.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

Absolutely, yes. It might not seem like it if you’re, for instance, reading romance when you’re writing horror, but every genre has something different to teach you. You never know what kind of literary tricks you might pick up by broadening your horizons and taking a look at what else is out there.

Jay Dee Archer

Definitely. I write mainly science fiction, though I want to write fantasy. I don’t just read those two genres, though. I also read some classics, especially Shakespeare. And I enjoy a lot of science and history. Non-fiction has helped me a lot with my sci-fi writing. I use a lot of science, and my interest in history and cultures helps me with the development of cultures and change of cultures. In my case, the different genres help me with factual information. I think that reading things like historical fiction or war novels can help with writing combat or fighting. Reading fantasy could help with writing different cultures and worldbuilding. There are so many things you can learn by reading other genres.

How about you?

If you’re an author, do you benefit from reading other genres? Let us know in the comments section below.

I’m Back!

Let me update you on what’s been going on. You may have noticed that I stopped the A to Z Challenge, as well as a lack of posts other than Authors Answer. And the last one wasn’t even posted! Well, a lot has happened.

Early this month, I caught a cold that completely stole my energy. I still cough because of it, so it’s not completely gone. At the same time, I lost my appetite, and often felt sick to the stomach. I couldn’t eat a full meal for two weeks. I’m glad that’s over. But that’s not all!

Since April 14, I’ve been working every day. Today was my last day (ten days in a row) during this stretch. I was working more than 8 hours a day, as well. And the work I was doing was very physical. I came home exhausted and sore. I tried working on Authors Answer two days ago, but I was just so tired I couldn’t focus on it.

Now that this is over, and I have some time off, I’ll be back to the blog! Don’t worry about Authors Answer. It will be posted today. The first time in 129 weeks I missed posting on schedule. I’ll also continue with the A to Z Challenge and complete it, although not on schedule. I’m hoping to get the remaining 22 videos and posts done within the next couple weeks.

And you know what? I missed this month’s Commentition!

So, that’s what’s been happening. Expect a lot of things to happen.

Authors Answer 128 – Ghostwriting

Books are not written by ghosts, but there are people who ghostwrite. They don’t write under their own name, but under someone else’s. Some people have their reasons to be ghostwriters, while others would prefer to write their own books. But how about us?

Question 128 – Have you ever tried or thought about ghostwriting?

Tracey Lynn Tobin

For the longest time I didn’t even know what ghostwriting was. When I eventually found out I thought the idea sounded very interesting, and I did, in fact, consider it for a while and did some searches around the internet for how one would go about getting into it. In the end, though, I don’t think I really settled into the concept of it. I prefer to write my own ideas, my own stories. I’m not necessarily saying that I’d never do it, but I don’t think it’ll ever be something that I actively seek to do.

D. T. Nova

I’ve never really thought about it. I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to it.

Gregory S. Close

I have thought about ghostwriting, but unless the money was RIDICULOUS I don’t think it’s worth it.  Words and stories are all that I have to offer the world, and attaching them to another person’s name would be very hard.  If that allowed me to pursue my own writing full time, then maybe it would be worth it.  Otherwise, I want the blood, sweat and vowels I commit to the page credited to me, for better or worse.

Jean Davis

I have not tried or thought about ghostwriting. I have so many ideas of my own that I haven’t had the time to consider other avenues.

Eric Wood

I have both thought about it and done it. I joined an online writing website where clients seek writers for various purposes. The pay wasn’t great, but it was good experience. It may have paid more had I stuck with it… But anyway, I ghostwrote a book based on illustrations I was given. It was about two futuristic kids who flew through the solar system in their dad’s spaceship and learned much about space along the way. It’s called “Mr Eus – Story of the Future” and it’s available through Google Play and iTunes.

Paul B. Spence

No? Why would I?

C E Aylett

Have thought about it, never tried it. I decided I’ve got enough of my own ideas to contend with, let alone wrestling someone else’s. And it’s just another distraction from my own writing, so haven’t gone there yet.

H. Anthe Davis

No interest in doing this!  I have too much of my own stuff to write.

Beth Aman

I’d love to write ghost stories sometime!  Ghosts, demons, vampires, blood, death – wait, what do you mean ‘That’s not what ghostwriting is’?  Jokes aside, real ghostwriting has never seemed appealing to me.  If I’m writing something, I want my name on it.

Elizabeth Rhodes

Honestly, I’ve never considered it. I don’t think I could pull off writing as another person, nor would I want to. If I’m putting in the work to write a story, I want my name on it.

Cyrus Keith

Once, for about fifteen seconds. Then I blinked and looked at my own backlog.

Jay Dee Archer

I was once asked if I’d consider ghostwriting. Well, I didn’t. And I still don’t. I have too much of my own stuff to write. This makes this a very simple answer. I just don’t have the time to even consider doing this.

How about you?

Have you ever thought about ghostwriting? Or have you done any? Let us know in the comments section below.

Authors Answer 127 – Writing Novels for TV Series and Movies

Many popular TV series and movie series have side stories written by independent authors. Some are official, some aren’t. But would any of us want to write one of these novels?

Question 127 – If you were asked to write a novel for a popular movie or TV series, which would it be and why?

H. Anthe Davis

As I am averse to handling other people’s characters (to the point that I would never write fanfiction, though I certainly read it), I don’t know that I would be comfortable with novelizing anyone else’s material at all.  I’m sure I can do it, but having heard some anecdotes about the process (authors ordered to kill off certain fan-favorite characters in tie-in novels, thus taking a lot of heat from fans), I don’t think I’d be well-suited to it.  I’m also no longer enough of a fan of anything beside books to really feel excited about the prospect.  I’d really just rather do my own thing.

C E Aylett

I’d never think to do that — it’s usually the other way around, isn’t it? Um… dunno, matey! Coo, you’ve stumped me on that one. Maybe Taboo? That’s nice and dark/gritty with lots of criminal behaviour in it — just my style. Or Peeky Blinders. History is often so much about the aristocracy and propriety and I always wonder what went on in the the nooks and crannies in the lower echelons of past society — the whore houses and opium dens, and the bootlegging. Historical fiction is starting to explore those areas more now on TV, which is appealing to me, just wish I’d taken that avenue before it became popular! Ah well, probably missed that boat. Bummer.

Paul B. Spence

I assume you’re asking what I would like to write one for. TV: Stargate, Star Trek TOS, Babylon 5, Doctor Who, any other sci-fi really. Movies: Arrival, Star Trek. Who knows? I’d be willing if I had a certain amount of creative control. I like most sci-fi and fantasy. Does that answer anything?

Eric Wood

I interpret this question to mean that I would write a novel based on the characters of that show or movie using the same theme or setting. With that in mind, after some careful thought I think I would a novel based on a new show called “This Is Us“. It’s based around three siblings and bounces from the present day as adults and the past as they were kids. It’s both funny and touching and it’s what I would want to write.

Jean Davis

Having just made it through the Iron Fist, I’m going to just come out and say the writing was not great on many fronts, action and dialogue being top of my list. If a writer had to step forward to help get that show up to par with the rest of the Marvel shows, I’d raise my hand (along with a lot of other people, I’m sure).

Gregory S. Close

I’m going to go slightly off the reservation and apply this question to a video game, instead of TV or movie.  I would love to write a novelization of Half-Life.  I spent a few years working at the real-life inspiration for Black Mesa (the Los Alamos National Lab) so there’s something personal in there for me along with the great story of inter-dimensional intrusion and government conspiracy mixed in with the mundanity of government contractor work.  I’ve always been surprised that this one never leapt to the big screen – this is a great horror/sci-fi story waiting for a broader audience.

D. T. Nova

Transformers. Sure it’s mostly for kids, but it’s still one of those that is very high in both the amount of existing lore to draw on and the potential for adding new concepts.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

There are a lot of TV shows that I’d love to write a novel of, but the first one that came to my mind was Doctor Who. The main reason is just that I love the series so much, I think it would be a blast to write my own story toward it. In addition to that, though, it just seems like an excellent series for a writer to delve into. It encapsulates such an enormous universe of worlds, creatures, and stories, that there is basically no limit to where you can go and what you can do.

Jay Dee Archer

Without a doubt, I would write novels for Star Trek, especially the original series and The Next Generation. But the more I think about it, Enterprise needs a continuation that takes it to the Romulan Wars. Of course, that’s probably been written. But anyway, Star Trek has been one of my biggest loves in science fiction, and I would love to write for it. I’d like to say it’s been a bit of an inspiration for my writing, too.

How about you?

If you’re an author, what would you like to write novels for? If you’re a reader, do you enjoy reading novels based on TV and movie series? Let us know in the comments section below.

D Is for DNA

This post is coming a day late. I hope that’s not a problem with the rules of the A to Z Challenge! You see, I have some foreign DNA in my body. The common cold. I was too tired to get the video and post up last night. But here it is now! For the letter D, I’m talking about DNA. How many of these facts did you know?

And here are the facts:

  1. DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid.
  2. A DNA molecule is made up of two bipolymer strands wrapped around each other to form a double helix.
  3. There are four nucleobases represented by the letters C, G, A, and T. They are cytosine, guanine, adenine, and thymine.
  4. Nucleobases pair up, A with T and C with G to connect the two DNA strands to form the double helix.
  5. Only 2% of human DNA codes protein sequences. The remaining 98% have other various functions, which would require another full video to talk about.
  6. The species with the largest number of chromosomes is the ciliated protozoa with 29,640,000.
  7. The species with the fewest number of chromosomes is the jack jumper ant with only 2. But that’s for the females. Males are haploid and have only 1, the smallest number possible.
  8. Humans have 46 chromosomes, but other great apes, including chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans, have 48.
  9. More than 8% of the human genome is made up of retrovirus sequences.
  10. There is a 4% difference in the genomes of humans and our closest relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos.

Let me know in the comments section below what you knew.

C Is for Canada Goose

What other bird says “Canada” to you? Maybe the loon? Well, how about the Canada goose? For the letter C, I am talking about the Canada goose! Check out the video, which includes some bonus video of a v-formation I managed to catch.

And here are the facts. How many did you know?

  1. This large goose is native to the arctic and temperature regions of North America.
  2. It’s been introduced to other parts of the world, including the UK, New Zealand, Argentina, and Chile.
  3. They are extremely successful at adapting to human habitation, so they are a very common bird around cities and towns, now having a population of between 4 and 5 million.
  4. There are 7 subspecies of Canada goose.
  5. They range from 75 to 120 cm in length and have a wingspan of between 127 and 185 cm.
  6. In most bird species, sexual dimorphism is apparent in the differences between male and female bird appearance, but the male and female Canada goose are virtually identical, except for a small difference in weight. Females are smaller.
  7. They spend their summers throughout Canada and the northern United States, but breed in the southern US and northern Mexico.
  8. Canada geese eat mainly plants, but have been known to eat insects and fish. And sometimes they scavenge from garbage cans.
  9. They fly in a v-formation at around 1 km in altitude, but have been known to fly as high as 9 km.
  10. Canada geese are monogamous, mating for life. If one dies, then they can find another mate. They’re very faithful birds.

Let me know in the comments below which facts you didn’t know about or were the most surprised about.

B Is for Bees

The A to Z Challenge continues with the letter B! This time, I talk about bees. It’s springtime, so insects are now coming out. Bees are a very important part of our environment, since they pollinate flowers, and help us grow our plant crops. So, let’s take a look at the video.

Here are the facts, which I mentioned in the video.

  1. There are around 20,000 known species of bee.
  2. The smallest bees are stingless bees that are only 2 mm in length.
  3. The largest bees are the Wallace’s giant bee, a kind of leafcutter bee that grows to 39 mm in length.
  4. Although collection of honey by humans dates back 15,000 years, beekeeping didn’t begin until 4,500 years ago in ancient Egypt.
  5. A bee’s mouthparts are adapted to both chew and suck, having both mandibles and a proboscis.
  6. The explosion of flowering plants 120 million years ago did not coincide with the appearance of bees, which have been around for 100 million years ago, evolving from a type of wasp.
  7. A third of our food supply depends on pollinators, most of which are bees.
  8. Honey isn’t the only thing humans eat. In some countries, the larvae are also eaten.
  9. The decline in bees has been a major worry in recent years, and has been linked to various problems such as pesticides, loss of habitat, and climate change.
  10. It was once said that a bumblebee’s flight was impossible. We now know that the short wing strokes, rotation of the wings, and rapid wing-beats result in sufficient lift. They’re not impossible fliers anymore.

Coming up tomorrow is the letter C. It’s going to be another biological topic. Check back tomorrow!

The official blog of Jay Dee Archer. Exploring new worlds, real and fictional.