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?
Note: These monthly challenges and their prompts are subject to change! But here is our first draft for them.
- Children’s Stories: simple, moral tales to model action
- Fairy Tale: psychology, identity, and cultural transmission
- Teen / Young Adult: coming of age, wrestling with roles and stereotypes, finding purpose
- Fantasy: the imaginative and archetypal frontier with the supernatural
- Mythology: social models, spirituality, and the numinous
- Science Fiction: how culture interacts with internal, external, and numinous frontiers
- Historical: the development of right-action
- Mystagogical: 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, in 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.