Reader question: What techniques can give a feel for a genre before writing in it?

There are a few things that are recommended to get a feel for a genre before writing in it:
  1. Read, read, read in that genre. More than just reading, make sure the books you read are as close as possible to ones you are considering writing. This matters because even within genres, there may be differences.
  2. Jot down at least 5 things you find in each of the books you read. 10 is better but 5 will get you started. These will be the things that readers of the genre expect to find and, if they aren’t there, they won’t read another of your books and will likely throw yours across the room unread.
  3. Read some passages out loud. Yes, you read that right. Out loud. This will give you a feel for the way the books are written. High fantasy is written in what could almost be old English. Some genres of detective stories are written in a quick, concise street language. Romances can and often are almost poetic. Literary stories use long, convoluted sentences. Whatever the genre, there’s a way to write it.
  4. After you have read a lot of books in your chosen genre, look back over the settings and time spans and what year(s) they were set in. Books in some genres sell best if they are in readers’ favorite historical (or future) times and places. Maybe your genre is one of those, so pay attention.
  5. Note how long the books are because readers expect a particular length for a particular genre.
  6. And anything else you can think of that is found in most books in that genre.

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