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Editor's Notes, January 9, 2004 -- Just for fiction writers
January 09, 2004

This is a one-issue issue because I have just received a time-sensitve offer I wanted to pass on to you.

Wait a minute! Didn't I say that just yesterday?

Yes, I did. And no sooner did I send out that message, than my in-box produced another opportunity for fiction writers. I am reproducing the entire email I received from the president of the Federation of BC Writers.

NOTE: YOU DO NO HAVE TO BELONG TO THE FEDERATION OF BC WRITERS TO PARTICIAPTE. In fact, you don't even have to live in BC. This being the internet, anyone can participate in this blog (web log). Writers will be talking to each other.

So send in a message or just "listen in" as other discuss ficiton genres.

Venture into uncharted waters with the Fed! Don't miss this week-long blog event . . . WHAT'S IN A GENRE?
January 9 - 15

How you view "genres" in fiction may depend on whether you are a writer, a publisher, a bookseller, or a consumer. Or on whether you see yourself as a strictly "literary" writer. Or... join in the weblog discussion and tell us your views!

We are looking forward to some interesting debate, and will be publishing excerpts from the blog in the upcoming issue of WordWorks. Here are a few quotations the committee has come across, and questions we find interesting:

-- Is there a difference between genre writing and "literary" fiction? Are novels by Jane Austen and P.D. James "genre fiction" that is also literary - or literary fiction that shares characteristics with romance or mystery novels?

-- "There's a litmus test of determining if something is literature rather than just a read. That is: Would you read it more than once?"

-- "Literary fiction is about the art of prose; and it's about the interior life of the character - how and why it is changed, by what means, what happens inside. Genre characters by their nature are one-dimensional and can be characterized by one adjective (e.g., 'fearless')".

-- "Most of the 'important' literary authors of today will be totally forgotten in 25 years. Very few have staying power even within their productive lifetimes."

-- Who decides the worth of a piece of fiction? How much influence do critics and reviewers have, especially in establishing and maintaining "literary" reputations? What does it tell you that certain authors may be lauded by critics and showered with prizes, but John Grisham and Patricia Cornwell are best sellers?

-- Advice to a writer: "Do not mix genres lightly. From a marketing standpoint, this can be dangerous."
We'll be focusing on the following genres in fiction: - romance
- fantasy/ science fiction/ paranormal/ magic realism
- mystery/ thriller/ suspense/ horror
- historical fiction/ western

The Fed's "What's in a genre?" editorial committee - Laurel Hickey, Adele Shaak, Margaret Thompson, and Merrill Fearon - invite you to join us at the blog, any time between now and Thursday January 15 when the blog closes, at midnight.

We've spelled out instructions below, step by step, for beginners only. For those who are familiar with blogs (or web forums, or bulletin boards), you can likely just forge ahead, as most of the choices are obvious once you've used something similar. There is also a tutorial you can access through the link just below the "Login" link. The following instructions provide additional detail.

To Read Entries:

- Go to and click on the book icon near the top of the homepage.

This will take you to the entrance to the "Genre Writing -- Open Forum" blog.

- Scroll down the page to read entries in reverse chronological order.

- Or, at the top right, under "Recent Entries", click on individual entries to read one at a time. Click on "Archives" to see all entries.

To Log In:

To post an entry, or to edit your blog (weblog) entries, you will need to log in.
- Go to the webpage

(You can also get there by clicking on the book icon on the Fed homepage,

- Click once on the "Log In" button

- For Username type "genre"; and for Password type "genre".

- Click once on "Log In"

The page that appears shows the blog name with "New Entry" just below the name.

- Click on the blog name for the most options.

You will then see the main editing page.

To Post An Entry:

- Click once on "New Entry", the first item in the menu on the left hand side of the screen.
- Give your entry a title (this is like the "subject" line in an email)

- Choose a category for your entry by clicking on the drop-down menu under "Primary Category". The categories that have already been made are listed - choose one of them or make your own new category. If you don't choose a category, your entry won't show up in the blog. (NB: "Select" is not a category. Change it to something else.)

- Type your message in the box marked "Entry". (If you see areas called "Extended Entry" or "Excerpt" , don't use them as they won't show on the actual page). Your preferences have been modified to keep what you see as simple as possible. For those familiar with blogs, you'll also notice that the "Comments" feature has been removed.

- When your message is complete, click once on "Preview" at the bottom to read your message and edit it, or click directly on "Save" which will add your message to the blog.

- When you're finished and have saved your entry, click on "View Site" to go back to the main blog page. You should see your entry there.

Remember, you can edit it at any time after this.

See you there!

Federation of BC Writers
PO Box 3887 Stn Terminal
Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 2Z3
Phone 604-683-2057; Fax 604-608-5522
Visit our web site at

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