I wanted to gain a better understanding and explore the different genres that circle around the sphere of literary writing. My goal was not to necessarily deal with genres that a professional literary writer would directly have a hand in writing and interacting with, but rather I strived to encapsulate genres that the writer’s audience will frequently interact with. I based my criteria for what genres to include based on whether I have ever interacted with the genre personally as an avid reader and an aspiring writer, so that way I knew that I was dealing with genres that are not too obscure to be unrecognizable to those within the same discourse community.
I chose to include literary magazine about pages because I frequently peruse them and hope to one day be featured in a literary magazine. Generally, these were fairly short and talked about the current goal of the magazine rather than the magazine’s history. I analyzed literary magazine submission pages and guidelines for entering their work to be judged and featured in the magazine for the same reasons. These were also fairly concise and included organizational tactics to make it more reader and user friendly. I chose the literary magazines based upon whether or not I was familiar with their productions or if I found them to be particularly interesting for one reason or another. Along those same lines, I analyzed publishing house newsletters. I chose the publishing houses based upon their popularity and place in the economic monopoly of publishing. These can have a great deal of difference in them based upon what the topic of the newsletter is, but they all had similar formats. The literary writer FAQ pages I analyzed was because as a reader, I am intensely interested in the writer’s behind my favorite pieces and books. Readers constantly wish to interact with their favorite writers and the frequently asked questions page is an easy way to feed a reader’s need for knowledge in a single concise move. The FAQ pages are found on the author’s public website, and I chose the author’s based upon their popularity and my own interest in their work. They mostly follow the same structure and include a lot of the same information as well. Lastly, I chose to analyze book reviews. All of the reviews I chose were of literary works that are popular and well known to a vast modern audience and that I have a personal affection toward. The reviews generally offered a brief description and quick synopsis of the book and then a discussion of what the author succeeded and failed at in the writer’s opinion.
Upon reviewing all of the samples, I have come to find that organization and format is perhaps the most important thing that a genre can utilize. Without some semblance of order and coherence for the reader to follow, a reader’s comprehension of the work will drastically decrease if the reader chooses to continue reading it at all. Because these genres exist within the same broad discourse community, I expected there to be some overlap, but it is amazing how different they can be even within the same genre. Language choice is just as important to communicate to the reader what the genre is trying to accomplish. Whether it is the guidelines for how to submit a work piece or an answer on one of the FAQ pages, being clear and precise is always a good way to ensure that the genre is being treated with an appropriate level of respect.