Each month of the year, we will share a monthly genre challenge. That means each month, members are invited to write and share a short story on the theme of the month.
The goal to to help authors try out new genres, and think a little more deeply about why genres are popular and important.
Since there are only 12 months, we’ve outlined our first year together.
Each challenge has a prompt: how does this genre contribute to human deepening? The goal is to prompt us to think about how our faith pushes boundaries, how God isn’t in competition with creation.
The descriptions are placeholders, and may change! We are also using these prompts as the monthly lessons for the Writing Course.
Each month, we plan to host a conversation with some of our mentors and authors to discuss these ideas.
- Children’s Stories: Tales to model action and discovery
- Fairy Tales: How we develop identity through contact with the numinous and culture
- Teen / Young Adult: Coming of age, roles and stereotypes, and finding purpose
- Fantasy: the imaginative and archetypal frontier with the supernatural
- Mythology: How we express and live out our identity within our culture, and religion
- Science Fiction: how culture interacts with internal, external, and numinous frontiers
- Historical: The development and growth of Christ & Christian living within culture and time
- Mystagogy: Saints stories, Sacred Scripture, and sacramental reality
- Romance: The deep human need for community, belonging, and happy endings
- Mystery & Thriller: How individuals and cultures handle mystery and danger
- Call to Author: your unique message
- Christmas Culture: the celebration of life, nurturing community against the cold
As we get closer to each month, we look forward to sharing more clarity on each idea.
We use the word ‘numinous’ as a word to represent spiritual truths, or good or evil realities slightly beyond the brink of normal human knowing.
Why genre challenges?
Genres are important for several reasons. They establish a promise of a style of story for the reader. They are easier to market since publishers know what ‘shelf’ to put them on. They provide authors with familiar frameworks to build on.
Genres are not static, and they blend into each other. Most stories are primarily one genre, but involve elements of others.
The goal of these challenges is to prompt your own research and discussion into what makes the tropes and themes of a genre. To start to understand why they are popular, and how they work.
For those comfortable writing in a single genre, these challenges help you broaden your expertise.
Some of us like to write stories that don’t fit in a specific genre. You’re welcome to, and there is often a readership for those liminal stories. But you then have to decide who you’re writing for: there are no constraints for creating for yourself, or a very specific readership.
But if you hope for broader readership and publication, then it’s important to learn the ‘constraints,’ guidelines, and expectations of existing genres.
How do the challenges work?
At the beginning of each month, we announce the challenge within our community, and the theme to reflect on.
At any point in that month, you can write a short story and publish it in the community for peer feedback.
At the end of each month, we’ll host a poll for the most popular stories, to vote on the #1 favorite.
These most popular entries from each month will be reviewed by us, your community hosts. They have the option to be published as honorary mentions in the quarterly journal!
See you on the inside!
And keep writing.