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:
explores the problem of human existence and centers on the lived experience of the thinking, feeling, acting individual.
- Ground your story in the historical context of existentialism. Readers want to see that.
- Include foundational concepts of existentialism–the meaninglessness of life, the absence of God, the loneliness of being a thinking individual.
- 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.
- Characters should share that sense that they feel like a stranger in the world, or a stranger to themselves.
- A subjective, first-person take on the world is fine.
Instead of books, I’ll suggest authors prominent in this genre:
- Søren Kierkegaard
- Friedrich Nietzsche
- Franz Kafka
- Jean-Paul Sartre
- Simone de Beauvoir
- Maurice Merleau-Ponty
- Albert Camus
More X Genres:
YA Outdoor Adventure
an outdoor adventure story for YA readers
- Write about an outdoor adventure like surviving the wild or climbing a mountain or surviving alone.
- Because it’s for YA, it must meet those guidelines also.
- 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.
- The story may be a how-to but it must include the basic adventure framework.
- Include a catalyst that motivates a young character to do what he didn’t think he could.
- Have a supporting character. This doesn’t have to be human. It could be a dog, horse, or a wild animal.
- Place the story in an outdoor, natural setting that elevates the risk.
- Increase the risk to show the characters competency and own personal growth.
- The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
- Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
- My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
- Honouring High Places: The Mountain Life of Junko Tabei by Junko Tabei and Helen Y. Rolfe
- Alone on the Wall by Alex Honnold with David Roberts
More Y Genres:
a small-circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images
- 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.
- Plan to self-publish or use a publisher who doesn’t answer to anyone.
- Plan on a small audience. Zine’s are motivated by a desire to express yourself rather than make money.
- This can be created by one individual or a small group.
- This may be a medium of communication within an interest group or subculture.
- May be produced with a desktop publishing platform like Canva, a comic template, collages or another format.
- If printed digitally, they are called ezines.
- Here’s a short video of one Columbia student preparing theirs (time-lapse):
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
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.