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How to choose genre for your comic book?

Icon_GenresThere are many genres out there you can choose from so you might be wondering which one to go with for your story. I will give you some ideas on how you can choose from them but before that you should make your own genre collection.

How to find more genres?

You can either search for genre lists on the internet. There are some websites which will even introduce the genres and show you the base characteristics of each along with their subgenres.

You can also find genres by checking data sheets of movies and TV shows. I really like this method because it is easy to find new additional genres for your story which goes well with your base genre. At the same time you will find more movies to watch in the genre you are interested in.

The more you know about your choosen genre the better. Watching or reading a fantasy story will help you understand more how a fantasy story works.

Which genres to choose?

You can choose one or more genres for your story. It is not limited to only one, you can choose more, but keep in mind that less is sometimes more. Actually as you write your story it will more or less fall into other genres too. Imagine you are writing a slice of life story where the hero faces some bad guy along the way to his home. “He runs as fast as he can. Sadly, he can’t shake them off. He takes a turn left at the corner. He feels his heart in his throat as he runs through the empty alley. He is squeezing his eyes to get a better view ahead but what he sees is his own breath. His running slows down with every step. To his surprise he only hears his own foot steps. He looks back but what he sees is nothing more than an empty alley.” Do you see here how a little action and mystery just got into the story?

Back on to choosing a genre, lets start with making a list of genres you like. From all the genres you know and found through searching write down all genres you are interested in or want to apply to your story in any way. When you have the list go through it and mark the ones you really enjoy and can easily relate to. You can also write down what you like in them to get a better idea of what you can use later in your story.

An other way to find genres that fits you (yes you, not the story) is to ask what do you want to achieve with your story? What kind of feelings do you want your readers to have after getting to know your story? When you answer these questions the genres close to you will simple pop up. For example I know that I want to make the readers feel the dreads of the characters and want them to be curious and excited of the story. That is why I choose mystery as one of the genres I would like to implement.

Choosing a genre from the big pool might seem a bit much and very important at first, but you can adjust your genres along the way if you feel not comfortable with them. They are not written in stone, so don’t take choosing them too seriously. Have fun looking for genres, then choose one or two to get you started.

How choosing a genre early helps you writing your story

If you choose the main genres first you will have an easier time writing your plot and the story. They will give you guidance if you know how they work and what their base principles, features and rules are. You can easily find some helpful guides on them on the net. Try searching for “elements of (put genre name here) stories” – you will get many useful articles as a result. Try to follow them so you will be able to create a more coherent story.

Knowing these principles you can start thinking how to implement them in the story – this will give you ideas and you will be able to move forward with the story. For example for a crime story you will need a murderer and at least one victim. You can’t leave them out, right? Check out the “rules” of your choosen genres and apply them in your story. Whenever you are stuck with your story you can get back to your choosen genre and check it for ideas.

What to look out for when you choose a genre

I suggest to choose genres you like and are interested in. Nothing good will come out of a story which main style you don’t like. It might get boring and you might loose interest along the way. You don’t want that. You will work a lot on your story and then even more while you draw it. So it must be interesting for you.

Finally, choose genres you know or at least do your research on them. This is important. Even a little research – like reading 2 articles – will help you. If you realise you don’t like a genre after all, you can still change to an other one.

What genres and form I choose

Last week we checked what steps you need to create your comic and the assignment was to decide on the form and genre of the story. I’ve decided that I will write a “movie long” story, as I feel more comfortable with that than a short story or with a neverending long serie. I still don’t have any idea of how many chapters and pages that would mean, however I know that the story will be manageable. I will be able to keep the whole spine of the story in my mind.

As for genre I have choosen action-adventure, mystery and science fiction. I think I won’t get too much into science-fiction, so it wont be a hard sci-fi, instead I would only place the world in a sci-fi setting and I will use some sci-fi elements. As for mystery, it was an easy choise as I like mysteries in a story. They make me feel excited to the point when I can’t stop thinking about the story and asking questions about it.

Next week’s assignment

Next week things will get even more interesting. We will write the plot! To prepare you for that here are some questions to think about:

  • What does a story need for you to like it?
  • What does a story need for you to not like it?
  • What do you want your story (your comic) to give for your future readers?
  • How will you know you are satisfied with your story?

Action steps

  1. If you still need to choose a genre do so
  2. Answer the questions above
  3. After you wake up in the morning imagine that you are holding your finished comic book in your hand. Check the pages. What does it feel to hold it? Imagine this as many times as you can
  4. Have fun and we meet next week again
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