Genre tips

#AtoZChallenge: Genres–X, Y, and Z

The A to Z Challenge asks bloggers to post 26 articles on a themed topic. It’s supposed to be every day except Sundays during the month of April but I find that too busy so instead, post mine ‘about’ once a month.

My topic, like every time, is writing genres. Because I need to complete the last AtoZ before the new season starts in April, today I’ll publish the last three–X, Y and Z:

eXistentialist Fiction

Definition

explores the problem of human existence and centers on the lived experience of the thinking, feeling, acting individual.  

Tipsa to z

  1. Ground your story in the historical context of existentialism. Readers want to see that.
  2. Include foundational concepts of existentialism–the meaninglessness of life, the absence of God, the loneliness of being a thinking individual.
  3. Kierkegaard said, “Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” In existential stories, the characters are anxious because they recognize they alone are responsible for their actions.
  4. Characters should share that sense that they feel like a stranger in the world, or a stranger to themselves.
  5. A subjective, first-person take on the world is fine.

Popular Books

Instead of books, I’ll suggest authors prominent in this genre:

  1. Søren Kierkegaard 
  2. Friedrich Nietzsche
  3. Franz Kafka
  4. Jean-Paul Sartre
  5. Simone de Beauvoir
  6. Maurice Merleau-Ponty
  7. Albert Camus

Click for complete list of these 26 genres

Click for a complete list of all genres I’ve written about

More X Genres:

YA Outdoor Adventure

an outdoor adventure story for YA readers

Tipsa to z

  1. Write about an outdoor adventure like surviving the wild or climbing a mountain or surviving alone.
  2. Because it’s for YA, it must meet those guidelines also.
  3. The book doesn’t have to be about kids. It can be about adults who inspire kids. But write them in language that draws kids in.
  4. The story may be a how-to but it must include the basic adventure framework.
  5. Include a catalyst that motivates a young character to do what he didn’t think he could.
  6. Have a supporting character. This doesn’t have to be human. It could be a dog, horse, or a wild animal.
  7. Place the story in an outdoor, natural setting that elevates the risk.
  8. Increase the risk to show the characters competency and own personal growth.

Popular Books

  1. The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
  2. Island of the Blue Dolphins  by Scott O’Dell
  3. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
  4. Honouring High Places: The Mountain Life of Junko Tabei by Junko Tabei and Helen Y. Rolfe
  5. Alone on the Wall by Alex Honnold with David Roberts

Click for complete list of these 26 genres

Click for a complete list of all genres I’ve written about

More Y Genres:

This genre:

Zine

Definition

a small-circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images

Tipsa to z

  1. Choose any topic that motivates you but it must be covered quickly. This is not a book. Fanzines–that focused on a movie or other were popular in the mid-1900’s. Other topics include politics, poetry, art, personal journals, social theory, feminism, an obsession, or even sex.
  2. Plan to self-publish or use a publisher who doesn’t answer to anyone.
  3. Plan on a small audience. Zine’s are motivated by a desire to express yourself rather than make money.
  4. This can be created by one individual or a small group.
  5. This may be a medium of communication within an interest group or subculture.
  6. May be produced with a desktop publishing platform like Canva, a comic template, collages or another format.
  7. If printed digitally, they are called ezines.
  8. Here’s a short video of one Columbia student preparing theirs (time-lapse):

Popular Books

Because these aren’t books, I’ll skip a list of them but it is interesting to note that major Universities have collections of these. Some include:

    • Barnard College Library
    • The University of Iowa Special Collections
    • The Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture at Duke University
    • The Tate Museum
    • The British Library
    • Harvard University’s Schlesinger Library

Click for complete list of these 26 genres

Click for a complete list of all genres I’ve written about

More Z Genres:


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Man vs. Nature saga, and the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Summer 2021.

70 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge: Genres–X, Y, and Z

  1. Congratulations on finishing the A-Z, Jacqui! You provided lots of helpful insight and information on so many genres. Your X genres brought back many memories of the year I spent reading the books in my mother’s world literature correspondence course for her degree: Kafka, Sartre, Camus, D.H. Lawrence, Anaïs Nin, Henry Miller, and such tomes as Dicken’s “Bleak House” and Cervantes’ “Don Quixote. I’ve rarely been so well read since ~ LOL. For the Young Adult Adventure genre, I have to give a shout out to a wonderful Colorado writer Will Hobbs. His “Kokopelli’s Flute” (fantasy) and “Far North” (adventure) were read aloud staples in my classroom. He wrote a number of adventure/survival novels that are excellent. And thanks for mentioning Bob Bakker’s “Raptor Red” which I did not know about. I’ve already ordered it. It reminded me of many fun debates in the fossil lab at DMN&S about Bakker and his vision of dinosaurs. Somewhere you mentioned help spreading the word about your latest book. I’ll help! Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is a wonderful list, one that sends shivers down me, remembering their great stories. Raptor Red–a recommendation from a reader that I love to this day. I hope you love it just as much.

      I’ll add your name to my list–thank you so much for offering to help. That’ll be Juneish!

      Like

  2. I think I would like YA Outdoor Adventures, Jacqui, and I know I’ve read a few of them in my day. Existential fiction sounds a bit depressing! LOL. I might have to skip that. You did it! Got through the alphabet. I enjoy these posts. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell is one of my favourite, favourite, favourite books. The thought of a lone woman surviving on San Nicolas Island for so many years is amazing. I used to think it was wonderful that her skirt of cormorant feathers was preserved in the Vatican museum, but I just looked up info about it and it said that “it appears to have been lost.” Such a shame.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A informative post, Jacqui! You brought back some memories of the Philosophy class I struggled through. I definitely read some of those YA books, and enjoyed learning about the others.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I had wondered how you were going to hit “X”. Good job. I used to read a lot from that category. I remember, in college, reading Kafka’s short stories one night while finishing a bottle of port. He is still a favorite and I later read his longer works.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Jacqui – those letters one needs to be creative with … and you’ve been giving us these ideas for the various Genres … well done on finishing – just in time for this year? Lots of new reading ideas for us … thank you – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a new list but this time, I’m crowd-sourcing the examples. I want everyone to give me their novels or even books they love in the category (which I’ll credit and link). That could work!

      Like

  7. I quite like existential characters. When I was in college (many years ago), I wrote about the existential characters of my favourite author Patrick White.
    I am reading a YA novel at the moment. It’s not YA outdoors though, but I am quite enjoying it. I haven’t gone down the zine path as yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am intrigued that you like existential. It sounds too challenging for me–too much into oneself. I don’t really like digging into myself, would rather dig into the world. But, I could see evaluating the writing and considering the whats and why.

      See–I’m intrigued!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are! I was too! I was studying philosophy and English Literature at the time and the characters in the books I was reading seemed to fit the existentialist mould quite well.

        Liked by 1 person

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