Do You Need a Writing Degree to Be a Real Writer? (Repost)

Hello writer bees!

(Summer is over! Since some of you have headed back to school recently, I wanted to repost this. Reignite the conversation. Tell me your thoughts in the comments. – Victoria aka Lady Jabberwocky)

Today, I’m posing a possibly controversial question.

Do you need a degree in writing to be considered a “proper writer”?

To some, getting a college degree makes you a bonafide writer, or a better writer than most. Others feel they can be storytellers without the diploma to back them up. And some young writers have a hard time choosing what they want to study, and if a degree in writing is even worth it.

I want to share my experience. Hopefully, it can give younger writers a bit of insight. Goodness knows I needed some insight when I was just a fledgling. For those of you who don’t know, I graduated from Hunter College with a B.A. in English. What do you do with a B.A. in English? How did that experience impact my journey as a writer? I’ll be diving into everything, the good and the bad.

Why I Chose to Pursue an English Degree

Let’s backtrack first. When I was in high school, I discovered my love of writing. I had an amazing teacher who encouraged my artistic aspirations. Without her, I probably wouldn’t be a blogger or an aspiring author right now. As I decided what college major I would pursue, no other subject could compare to English and creative writing.

I had a lot of ideas for a potential novel. Writing stories in various genres really interested me. I loved fantasy and mystery and historical drama and everything in between. Ah, to be young and full of inspiration. Wanting to narrow down my focus and find my niche, I thought going for a English degree would help me find the genre I’d eventually publish in someday. Like “Congrats! Here is your diploma! Also, you are a mystery writer! Now go write a whodunit and be on your merry way.”

Earning my B.A. in English was a wonderful experience. It wasn’t easy. Lots of late nights, lots of reading material, lots of stress. And I don’t regret a single minute.

Writing Workshops

While in college, my fiction writing classes were full-on workshops. Gathering around with fellow writers, discussing each other’s stories. I learned how to constructively critique someone’s work and became more mindful of my strengths and weaknesses as a writer. We read each others short stories and offered feedback in a really safe and sensitive environment. Don’t get me wrong, I was so nervous letting others read my work. But once you realize we’re all in the same boat, it’s not so scary. That was my first taste of a greater writing community.

Also, the very first draft of my current WIP sprouted in that class. Sharing that story in particular with my classmates was like the ultimate test run for my work-in-progress novel. Let me know in the comments if you want to hear more about that particular workshop session.

Reading Everything

Remember when I said I was looking down to settle with one genre to write in? It didn’t quite work out as I expected. In college, I read everything. And I mean everything. Like I was reading Beowulf and Arthurian legend in the morning and Hemingway and Christie in the afternoon. Real talk? My narrator was born after reading an Edgar Allen Poe story. If anything, my horizon only expanded. Once I graduated, I was even more undecided about what genre I wanted to publish in. I really gained an appreciation for literature across all genres. By reading various genres and styles and time periods, a sturdy foundation was built under my feet. Maybe it’s strange to say, but I felt like I had a wealth of source material I could refer to and be inspired by. If that makes sense.

Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, is it?

Hard to Find a Job

After I graduated, It was tough finding steady work. I applied for many publications and ended up with a pile of rejection letters. Apparently, a bachelors degree in English isn’t enough to prove you are good at writing. That was a newsflash to me. I wanted to make a living as a writer, and it just wasn’t happening. Frankly, It was a dark time for me. Finally, I fell into freelance work, starting out as an unpaid intern. Around the same time, I started this blog. Then, more freelance opportunities opened up. And today, even though I’m stuck in a cubicle at an office day job, the passion for writing has not ceased. I’m still working on my goal to write a novel, after office hours, of course.

Final Thoughts

The B.A. in English gave me a solid foundation. My brain thinks differently about literature and storytelling because of my time as an English major. It was a valuable, rewarding experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. Well, maybe a finished novel.

Do you need a degree to be a proper writer?

In my opinion? No.

You know that quote from Ratatouille, Anyone can cook? I believe anyone can write. A degree doesn’t make me, or anyone else, a genuine writer. We all have imagination and creativity inside of us. Anyone can write a story and be considered a writer.


Do you think you need a degree to be considered a proper writer? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. And if you earned your degree in English/Creative writing, how has that experience impacted your journey as a writer? As always, I love to hear from you guys.

Stay safe and keep writing.

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

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5 Subgenres of Fantasy Fiction Explained

Hello Writer Bees!

One of my favorite genres to write and read is fantasy. And the fantasy stories come in a variety of different flavors. Today, I’m breaking down 5 subgenres of fantasy fiction. Grab your wizard hats and let’s dive in, shall we?

Fairy Tales

In my opinion, fairy tales were the cornerstone of fantasy. Folktales full of pixies and mermaids, trickery and wonder. Characters are fanciful as the world around them, from the lost royal to the walking-talking cat. We see you, Puss in Boots. Keep in mind, the general readers of fairy tales are children. That being said, the overall tone is usually kept light and entertaining. At the end of the tale, there is always a moral lesson to be learned. And they all lived happily ever after.

High Fantasy

Also known as epic fantasy, this subgenre lives up to the name. Dungeons and Dragons players and Lord of the Rings fans know this fantasy subgenre too well. With medieval fantasy vibes galore, there’s the ever-classic battle between good versus evil present in these stories. Often times, the plot centers around one hero, who starts off weak but overtime, grows into a mighty warrior. They’ll embark on their quests and explore the world, maybe meeting other races like elves and ogres. In Epic Fantasy, the cast of characters can get quite extensive, so keep character notes handy when writing.

Urban Fantasy

Forget the sparkly forests and towering castles of fairy tales, this fantasy subgenres takes magical elements and throws them into a modern cityscape. Full of grit and noir vibes, the story always takes place in a major city, with bustling streets. Typically, the main character is connected to both the real world and the magical world. And almost any mythical creature can call the city home. Maybe there’s a shapeshifter riding the subway, or a werewolf in the alleyway. Heck, I’d argue that superheroes fall under this fantasy subgenre too. Truly, the possibilities are endless.

Gothic Fantasy

Sometimes referred to as Dark Fantasy, this subgenre is the mix of supernatural and horror elements. Noted for its gloomy, brooding atmosphere, the setting evokes fear and anxiety in its readers. Building up suspense is crucial to constructing the spooky environment. In Gothic Fantasy, ghosts from the pasts haunt the characters, never giving them a night’s rest. This fantasy subgenre is more focused on supernatural elements, like specters, vampires and Frankenstein’s monster. If you’re looking for a good scare, Gothic Fantasy might be the subgenre for you.

Low Fantasy

Similar to urban fantasy, magical events invade on an otherwise ordinary world. In this fantasy subgenre, the supernatural does not exist or isn’t well known in society. When something magical does occur, it’s accepted as natural in the world, like it could happen any day. Disney films like Mary Poppins fit this bill perfectly. This fantasy subgenre proves you don’t need an epic dragon battle to have a good fantasy story. Sometimes all you need is a little sprinkle of whimsy in everyday life.


Interested in learning more about subgenres in fiction? Check out these posts!

What are some of your favorite and least favorite subgenres of fantasy? Talk to me in the comments.

Write with heart.

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

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A Month of Mystery Posts Wrap up (2022)

Hello Writer Bees!

Thank you to everyone for stopping by for May of Mystery and celebrating detective fiction with me. In case you missed it, here is a wrap up of all the mystery themed posts from this month.

Mystery Writing Prompts

Scene of the Crime

The Greatest Detective

Like a Dangerous Woman

A Note Left Behind

Shrouded in Mystery

Mystery Themed Posts

5 Archetypes of Fictional Detectives

Born a Bloodhound (Detective Flash Fiction)

Writing my 1st Whodunit Draft in a College Writing Workshop

Watson Who?: Tips on Creating A Detective’s Sidekick (Repost)


If you have an idea for another genre themed month, lemme know in the comments!

Stay safe and stay creative!

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

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5 Archetypes of Fictional Detectives

Hello sleuths!

Welcome to May of Mystery, an entire month dedicated to detective fiction and mystery lovers alike.

At the heart of every mystery story is a detective ready to crack the case. In detective fiction, any character can become a sleuth. Detectives can come from any background, any walk of life, and have differing methods of deduction. Let’s investigate the various types of fictional detectives, shall we? Here are 5 classic archetypes of detectives in mystery fiction.

Amateur Sleuth

This is somewhat an general term for any mystery solver who has no connection with law enforcement. Nor do they get paid in assisting in an investigation. These types of fictional detectives can be adventure seekers, inquisitive reporters or simply nosy neighbors. Regardless of their reason for investigating, Amateur Sleuths are guided by their curiosity and desire for knowledge and justice. Because they may lack the skills a “proper detective”, their investigations tend to be a learning experience for them.

Hardboiled Detective

A staple in noir fiction, the hardboiled detective is one of the more notable archetypes. All a hardboiled detective needs is a trench coat, a gun and their acholic beverage of choice. With their tough exteriors, they have a cynical outlook on the world. Their morals are grey, there is no right or wrong. Protagonists are often depicted as Anti Heroes, or characters who act in self-interest and don’t have typical heroic qualities. An untraditional knight in shining armor, if you will. Perhaps that’s why they sometimes get tangled up with Femme Fatales. Famous fiction detectives such as Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade are noted as quintessential hardboiled detectives.

Private Investigator

Next up, the private investigator, another notable type of fictional detective. Usually self employed or cooperating alongside law enforcement, they follow their own rules and their own means of investigating and deduction. In some cases, private investigators have had previous experience working for law enforcement, and may still have connections. Most of the time, they are hired by clients who are in desperate need of their sleuthing skills. Genius great detective types, like Consulting Detective Sherlock Holmes would fit this archetype.

Little Old Lady

For a more cozy mystery, call on grandma to save the day. From years of wisdom and experience, they seem to have a knack for this mystery solving thing. Using their unassuming appearance to their advantage, they attract little attention and can work around the cops. Instead of having intense interrogations, suspects sometimes confide details on the case willingly. Constantly underestimated, who would think a sweet little old lady could crack the case? The iconic Miss Marple, created by Agatha Christie, is the perfect example of this type of fictional detective.

Kid Detective

Often designed for a younger audience in an adventure-centric plot, a kid detective is another type of detective found in mystery fiction. Though they may not need to be an actual child, this archetype includes sleuths who are minors. These young snoops must sneak passed the suspicious adults without getting in trouble with their parents. They rely on trickery and sneaking around to obtain evidence. Being juveniles, they face difficulty asking questions of adults and convincing police that a crime was committed. The cases they take on never involve violence or truly dangerous situations, their antagonists are harmless. Some would argue that Mystery Inc. from the Scooby Doo Franchise would fall under this category.


What are you favorite types of detective characters? And for all the mystery writers out there, which archetype would you categorize your sleuth under? Talk to me in the comments. As always, I love to hear from you guys.

Happy sleuthing!

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

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The Bookworm’s Tag

Hello Writer Bees,

I’m taking a day off today to unwind, catch up on some editing and do a fun tag. Shout out to Gilmo of Flaming Chickens for tagging me in the Bookworm’s tag. Next week will be my first update for Camp NaNoWriMo. Stay tuned for that!

Rules

  1. Thank and link to the blogger who nominated you. Thanks again, Flaming Chickens!
  2. Include the tag graphic in your post (Look up!)
  3. Answer the ten questions the blogger asked (Done!)
  4. Nominate between five and ten bloggers
  5. Ask your nominees ten book-related questions! (Look down! At the bottom!)
  6. Don’t feel bound to these rules
  7. (Most importantly) Have fun!

Questions

What is one character that you understand and empathize with more than others?

What a great question! Also, a tough one. If I have to choose, I’d say Alice from Alice in Wonderland. Her curiosity, her imagination and her adventurous spirit are traits I relate to and emphasize with. And I mean, I am called Lady Jabberwocky, it’s only fitting I’d pick a Wonderland character.

Do you like endings that are left up to you or given to you?

Both. It’s nice when plot lines are tied up in a neat bow and a story ends with a perfect chef’s kiss. On the other hand, I don’t mind endings that are up for interpterion or open to debate. As long as it’s not loose, unsatisfying ending that leaves the reader confused at the end. Those are the worst. Open ended or not, the plot itself should feel complete and finished at the end.

Chronicles of Narnia or Lord of The Rings?

Sorry LoTR fans, I’m choosing Narnia on this one. Can’t resist a wise, talking lion guardian. The world of Narnia is just so fantastical and gorgeous. I love the magical elements; I love the creatures. It’s very fairytalelike. Also, the relationship between the siblings is an interesting dynamic.

What genre is your favorite to write? What is your favorite to read?

I love reading and writing mysteries and detective fiction. I love reading and writing stories of fantasy and magic. Between those two genres, I couldn’t pick a favorite. Shady suspects and sleuths searching for clues are engaging and exciting. Whimsy and magic and supernatural elements are also engaging and exciting. Both genres appeal to me in different ways.

Music when you read/write or no?

I don’t listen to music when I read. For me, it can be a bit distracting. However, when I’m writing, I do listen to music. Sometimes, it’s a soundtrack to a Broadway musical or Disney film. Other times, it’s something light and acoustic, like a Jack Johnson’s Banana Pancakes, a personal favorite.

Pencil and paper or computer?

Normally, I write my WIP on the computer. Hats off to any writer who writes with pen and paper first. When I’m taking notes, or need to jot down a quick sentence, I’ll write on post-it notes. Which means my desk is covered in little sticky notes or random scraps of paper. I’m sure there is a coherent plot/thought in that pile somewhere.

What is your greatest struggle when writing?

So many struggles as I writer. Let me count the ways. Writer’s block. Self-doubt. Writing setting descriptions. Striving for perfection. All of the above, really. Right now, editing has been my biggest challenge. Feel like I’m in a perpetual state of tweaking the story. Polishing characters until they shine. A never-ending editing tunnel.

What is a book you like to re-read over and over (If there is one)?

Actually, once I read a book, I don’t usually read it again. Now that I think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever reread a book. Guess I’m more of a one-and-done kind of person. For the most part, I’m the same way about rewatching movies or T.V. shows too.

Do you prefer reading at home, in the library, or outside?

Well, since we’re still in a global pandemic, I’d say I prefer reading at home. Although, let’s be honest, I wasn’t leaving the house much before COVID anyway. No, I like to read at home, in bed, under a bunch of blankets. Fuzzy socks included. All cozy and comfortable at home, that’s my preferred reading spot.

And finally! Would you like to be nominated for a book tag again if I ever join one?

Yes. Definitely. Absolutely.


My Questions

  • If you could travel to any fiction world, where would you go?
  • What is your preferred genre to write in?
  • Who is your OTP? Your favorite fictional couple/ship?
  • How many books are you currently reading?
  • If you could only recommend one book for someone to read, which book would it be?
  • Have you ever read a graphic novel before?
  • What is your greatest struggle when writing?
  • If you could meet any fictional character in real life, who would it be and why?
  • Who is your favorite author(s)?
  • What is your go-to writing snack?

I’m tagging Jai Lyn, Poetisatinta, and Mythos to do this tag. And anyone else who wants to give it a try. Have fun Writer bees!

Stay safe and stay creative!

— Lady Jabberwocky

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15 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block (Repost for Camp NaNoWriMo)

Hello Writer bees!

(With Camp NaNoWriMo starting next week, some may struggle with writer’s block during this writing challenge. Don’t fret! To help with that, I’m reposting these awesome tips for beating the block. Good luck to everyone participating! – Victoria aka Lady Jabberwocky)

Hope you are are staying safe and writing wonderful work. And if you are feeling stuck with your writing, that’s alright too. Sometimes, it can be hard to get the words on the page. Don’t be discouraged. Writer’s block happens to everyone, myself included.

So today, I’m sharing some tips for beating the block and rekindling inspiration once again.

Be honest and ask yourself, “how do I break out of this funk I’m in?” and “What’s stopping me from writing?” Depending on what you need, there are three courses of action to take. Whatever route you choose, find what works for you.

See the source image

Push to Writing – the need to shake up you writing habits.

  1. Write in some place other from your usual spot. No need to chain yourself to your desk. Write in a different room of your home. Or outside. A new, quiet place.
  2. Freewriting: Write the first things that comes to mind, whatever it may be. Follow where the words take you. On a time crunch? Take a 5 minute writing sprint and write as fast as you can.
  3. Set deadlines and stick to them. Reach for a daily wordcount goal that’s achievable and works with your schedule. Even if it’s only a 100 words a day. You’ll be 100 words closer to your finished draft.
  4. Try writing exercises and prompts. They can be a fun, well-needed challenge for some writers and can get the brain working. But where can you find prompts? I post a Prompt of the Week every Monday. Check them out!
  5. Use a different writing tool. Instead of a keyboard, switch to paper or sticky notes or colorful markers.

Recharge – The need to step back from your writing endeavors.

  1. Take a break! A real one. Relax. And don’t think about your story. A little separation from your WIP is fine. Sometimes, lightbulb moments happen when you least expect. I speak from experience.
  2. Go for a walk. Alone, with music, or with a dog. Walks are great. Socially distanced walks while wearing masks is even better.
  3. Get cozy and curl up with a good book. Fuzzy socks included. Let your mind unwind and dive into a whole new world.
  4. Drink some coffee/tea/alcoholic beverage of choice. And stuff your face with your favorite food. Writing is hard work. Treat yourself to that tub of ice cream or bag of potato chips. I won’t judge.
  5. Sleep it off, or just lounge around. Rest, physically and mentally. There are times when the best ideas can come right before you fall asleep. Keep a notepad on your nightstand ready, in case you need to jot down ideas.
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Getting motivated and inspired! – the need to get pumped to write again and find inspiration.

  1. Browse through photos; especially images that relate to your story’s genre. Create an aesthetic board featuring images that remind you of your story. If you are writing historical fiction, keep a folder of snapshots from that time period.
  2. Talk it out. Talking to another person, writer or non-writer, about your ideas can get those creative juices flowing. Find someone you feel safe with and who encourages you. Don’t waste your time with people who judge you harshly.
  3. Read some quotes from some famous authors. Gather inspiration from the authors who came before you.
  4. Connect with other writers. The writing community is a fantastic group of creatives. Make friends, chat about WIPs, support each other through those tough times. It’s nice to have someone in your corner, to have that support system.
  5. Be okay with writing trash. Not everything you write will be perfect. And that’s fine, that’s what editing is for. Instead of striving for perfection, strive for the story that future readers can connect with. That’s the real goal, isn’t it?

How do you get through writer’s block? What’s your advice to a writer who is struggling? Let me know if the comments.

Stay safe and keep writing!

— Lady Jabberwocky.

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5 Subgenres of Romance Fiction Explained

Hello Writer Bees, 

With Valentine’s Day only a few days away, let’s talk about the lovely subgenres of Romance Fiction.

Historical Romance

Rev up that time machine and travel back in time with a Historical Romance. As the name suggests, this love story takes place in the past, usually before 1950. Historical periods such as the Victorian era, Medieval Times, or the Roaring 1920s are examples of possible setting used in this romance subgenre. No matter the year, the time and place of a plot may impact a couple’s relationship. Rules of courtship and class can apply to characters and their relationships. When writing a historical romance, historical accuracy and research is crucial. Describing and understanding the clothing and culture of a time long ago will bring a certain era to life for your audience.

Paranormal Romance

Twilight

Love can be magical. And in a paranormal romance, it really is! In this romance subgenre, elements of fantasy, paranormal or sci-fi are at the core of the plot. Not necessarily restricted to magical creatures only, a Paranormal Romance could include any non-human creature, from ghosts, to fairies, to the ever-irresistible vampire. That being said, there’s an opportunity here to explore a human x non-human relationship, or a couple from different magical backgrounds. Truly, the possibilities are endless. Incorporating fantasy elements in a love story requires solid worldbuilding. If magic is real in that world, create a magic system and know who can use magic and how. If the story involves a non-human creature, what specific characteristics apply to that race?

Contemporary Romance

If you’re looking for a modern day happily ever after, perhaps a contemporary romance is more your speed. This romance subgenre focuses on current conventions and topics, for a more modern approach. Subject matter may include online dating, LGBTQ storylines and workplace romance. Main characters don’t fit the mold and may not live up to what’s considered attractive by society. Often times, the heroine is an independent woman with a career. This romance subgenre encompasses all shapes, sizes, colors and sexualities. When writing in this romance subgenre, remember that love isn’t perfect. Create characters with flaws and challenges and place them in realistic dating situations.

Erotic Romance

Fans Self GIFs | Tenor

Things can get steamy quickly in this romance subgenre. Erotic Romance centers around explicit, sexual interactions between lovers. It’s not total smut, but let’s just say vividly detailed sex is a major component of the plot. Relationships grow and develop through scenes of physical intimacy and intense chemistry. Often, characters are cliché and unrealistic, examples being a curvaceous cutie or six-packed hunk. If I’m honest, this is not my favorite genre. However, if I had to give a piece of writing advice, it’d be to focus on the character’s physicality, the way they move and how they interact with others. During intimate moments – not just sex scenes – be mindful of how body language is written. Readers want to feel swept away, and maybe a little turned on, when they read this kind of story.

Romantic Suspense 

Romance plus adventure equals an exciting romance subgenre. Romance suspense involves action, suspense and intrigue as the couple tackles situations like a murder mystery or criminal plot. In some stories, there is a threat on one person’s life and the other must act as protector. Or perhaps they protect each other. Characters that play well in this romance subgenre can be detectives, superheroes, members of law enforcement or even femme fatales. Regardless, in the end, the heroes form a strong romantic relationship, hopefully leading to a happily ever after or grand finale kiss. Whether there’s a mystery to solve, a villain to defeat, or a race against the clock. Romantic Suspense can be thrilling story for many readers.


Like this post? Then check out the 5 Subgenres of Mystery Fiction Explained.

What’s your favorite romance subgenre? Talk to me in the comments.

Stay safe and stay creative.

Write with heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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5 Subgenres of Horror Fiction Explained

Hello Writer Bugs!

Since we are officially in spooky season, I wanted to dedicate a couple posts this month to horror writing. Horror fiction is intended to frighten the audience senseless. A lot of people love a good scare. As a genre, horror can come in a variety of shades of darkness. Today, I’m breaking down the most notable subgenres of horror fiction.


Gothic

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The gothic horror subgenre is a healthy mix of horror, mystery, death and a little romance. And some would say it’s the true beginning of horror fiction and the jumping off point for other horror subgenres that developed over time. The macabre takes takes center stage in this type of story. Setting plays a key role in gothic horror. The atmosphere must be dark and moody, usually taking place in a castle, religious abbey or haunting estate. The theme of death and love are prevalent in the plot. It’s a dreary, decaying world full of ominous omens and unexplainable events.

Example: The Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Monster

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Let’s do the monster mash. A true classic in horror genre. Typically, the plot centers around a character(s) encountering a creature. Creatures of the night are either the result of scientific experiments, born from fantastical means, or simply urban legends come alive. Iconic monsters including – but not limited to – werewolves, vampires, mummies, zombies etc. An argument could be made the even gigantic monsters like Godzilla would be included in this horror subgenre. Sometimes in the narrative, there are underlying themes of duality, an internal conflict between good and evil. It’s an interesting battle to explore within characters. Is the monster really a monster at all?

Example: Dracula by Bram Stoker

Paranormal

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In the paranormal subgenre, it’s all about the fear of the unknown. Evil spirits, wicked witches and demonic entities wreck havoc and chaos in the lives of mere mortals. Ghosts, demons and haunted houses tend to fall under this category. Exorcisms – whether the holy kind or the high-tech ghostbuster kind – occur in paranormal horror. Similar to the Monster horror subgenre, antagonists can have supernatural abilities and there’s usually a struggle between good and evil. However, paranormal creatures are derived from mythical, other-worldly origins. And let’s be honest, the things that go bump in the night are often what scares us the most.

Example: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Killer

A killer is on the loose! For this horror subgenre, the story focuses on a central killer. The main antagonist can be a supernatural entity or a natural born psycho. Whatever their reason, the killer’s sole mission is to annihilate anyone and everyone they deem a target. With elements of a thriller and/or crime plotline blended in, building suspense is crucial in this kind of story. You want the reader to feel like the killer is breathing down their necks and lurking around every corner. Will the killer be brought to justice in the end? That’s entirely up to the writer. In horror, no one is promised a happy ending.

Example: American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

Psychological

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Send readers into a living nightmare. Throw rationality out the door and turn the mundane into something terrifying. Characters in psychological horror have either fallen into madness or are trapped in extraordinary situations. Surreal imagery or bizarre visions experienced by the protagonist only add to the insanity. For this horror subgenre, the narrative would benefit from a tight viewpoint, not a multi-narrator piece. A single character’s internal conflict can be just as compelling than an external conflict, if written well. Phobias, paranoia and one’s deepest fears are explored in this type of plot. In psychological horror, there’s not overarching monster or antagonist, the real monster is the human mind itself.

Example: The Shining by Stephen King


Personally, I’m not a fan of excessive gore. However, as a mystery writer, I sometimes must describe a corpse or a crime scene, for the sake of the fictional investigation. A little bit of horror can go a long way in any genre.

What’s your favorite subgenre of horror fiction? And if you are a horror writer yourself, how would you categorize your story? Talk to me in the comments. As always, I love hearing from you.

Stay safe and stay creative.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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The Hallotober Tag

Hello Writer Bugs,

Couple weeks ago, I was tagged by Literary Liza to do the Hallotober Tag. And since I’ve been busy getting into the Halloween spirit, I thought a festive tag would be the perfect way to start October. Thank you very much for tagging me, Liza! Peeps, head over to her super cute blog and give her some love.

Here are the rules!

  • Thank the person who tagged you and link to their post 
  • Put the rules at the beginning or after introduction
  • Answer the 13 questions 
  • Tag 13 people to do the tag 
  • Delete Question 13, add a new number one question of your own
  • You are free to use the tag image somewhere in the post

What’s your favorite spooky book?

As a kid, I grew up reading the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. Those to me are the quintessential spooky stories. Never been to camp, but I’d imagine those are the kind of stories told at night around a campfire. As an adult, classic Edgar Allen Poe is my jam. Tell-Tale Heart is awesome. That’s the brand of spookiness I like. Those extraordinary situations that give me goosebumps on the back of my neck.

What’s your favorite thing about October?

Sweater weather, for sure. I love dressing in multiple cozy layers. Scarves on top of hoodies on top of flannel shirts on top of frumpy sweaters. We’ve had a hot summer, I’m ready for a chilly autumn full of crunchy leaves. There’s something satisfying about the sound of crunching leaves to my ears. Also, I’m looking forward to the fall foliage in New York. It’s absolutely gorgeous. Those beautiful warm golden colors. My boyfriend and I already planned a weekend trip upstate for mid-October, just to take a break from life and enjoy the season together.

 Are you a big celebrator of Halloween?

Autumn activities, like visiting a pumpkin patch or a haunted house, are always a blast. Fall fairs and festivals are wonderful too. Other than that, I don’t usually have a big celebration for Halloween. Usually, I stay home and watch a movie. If I feel like spoiling myself, maybe eat some sweets. Maybe send some sweets for my nieces and nephew. That’s about it.

What’s your favorite horror movie?

Does Hocus Pocus and Nightmare Before Christmas count? I hope so. Gorey, jump-scare type movies aren’t my thing. I prefer fun spooky movies over blood-and-guts horror movies. Give me Scooby Doo on Zombie Island any day. Give me Alvin and the chipmunks meet the Wolfman. Give me Linus waiting in the pumpkin patch in Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Wholesome Halloween nostalgia over horror.

Would you rather a cozy night in watching horrors or a big night out in a costume?

I’d choose a cozy night in. Sweatpants and fuzzy socks included. Cuddles included. Preferably with salty snacks and popcorn too. Props to you guys who have big nights out. I’m too introverted for that sort of thing.

Which has been your most favorite costume to date?

When I was about five years old, I dressed as a purple octopus. Really explains a lot about myself as a person today.

Bobbing for apples or pin the hat on the witch?

Haven’t played either game, but if I had to pick, pin the hat on the witch.

How do you celebrate Halloween?

Usually, I stay home, with no plans. However, this year will be different. My boyfriend and I were invited to a costume party with some old college friends of ours. This is probably our first Halloween party as adults. Currently, we are searching for dorky costumes to wear. If you have any ideas for couples’ costumes, please let me know in the comments. We haven’t quite found the perfect outfits yet. 

What’s your least favorite horror?

The Ring. But let me explain. When I was little, I had that stereotypical teenager babysitter who watched R-rated movies. That scene where the girl is pushed down the well scared me for life. It was one of those moments when you are too terrified to look away. Yeah, I still cannot handle that movie.

Do you have a favorite trick or treating memory?

Growing up, I was the only girl in a friend group of boys. For the 90’s kids out there, I was always the Reggie Rocket of the gang. That being said, I have fond memories of trick-or-treating with the boys on a chilly night . My younger brother dressed like Yu-GI-Oh. The other kids dressed as ninjas and pirates. And me, in an orange tutu and butterfly wings. Then, at the end of the night, we sat around a pile of candy and traded pieces. “I’ll give you two Kit-Kats for a tootsie-pop.” “Deal!” Those were the days, huh?

What’s your favorite thing about Halloween?

The spooky vibes. The decorations. People in costumes. Pets in costumes.

Scary costume or silly costume?

Silly. I don’t do scary costumes. And I don’t do sexy costumes either, for that matter. Is it wrong to just like cute, comfortable costumes? Or better yet, regular clothes that look like a character’s outfit from a cartoon or T.V. show?

What’s your favorite Halloween candy?

Gummy bears or gummy lifesavers are my favorite. Gummy anything really. I’m allergic to dairy, so I had to steer clear from most chocolate candies. Although I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, honorable mentions for favorite candy would be Jolly Ranchers and Starbursts. 


My Questions

  1. What’s your favorite spooky book?
  2. What’s your favorite thing about October?
  3.  Are you a big celebrator of Halloween?
  4. What’s your favorite horror movie?
  5. Would you rather a cozy night in watching horrors or a big night out in a costume?
  6. Which has been your most favorite costume to date?
  7. Bobbing for apples or pin the hat on the witch?
  8. How do you celebrate Halloween?
  9. What’s your least favorite horror?
  10. Do you have a favorite trick or treating memory?
  11. What’s your favorite thing about Halloween?
  12. Scary costume or silly costume?
  13. Have you every had a ghostly encounter?

I tag my blogger buddy and poet extraordinaire Jai Lynn to do this tag. And anyone else who wants to participate in this tag. Have fun!

Stay safe and stay creative!

— Lady Jabberwocky

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

5 Subgenres in Mystery Fiction Explained

Hello amateur sleuths,

The mystery genre is like ice cream.

Exciting. Delicious. And they both come in a variety of flavors.

Today, I’m breaking down some subgenres of mystery. Since some of these subcategories overlap with one another, I will try to focus on the 5 most notable subgenres in detective fiction.

Classic

A straight vanilla mystery right here. Everyone loves and respects a good classic done right, right? This has your traditional storyline where the investigator – who can either be a professional or a novice – solves a whodunit. A large chunk of the plot is centered around an inspector gathering clues and interacting with suspects. Depending on the sleuth and the target audience, the level of gore may vary. However, traditional mysteries tend to involve murder. In the end, the culprit is reveal and all loose strings are neatly tied in a bow. Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Nancy Drew are the prime examples of this mystery subgenre.

Nancy Drew GIFs | Tenor

Cozy

Looking for violence and sex and foul language? This is not the mystery subgenre for you. A cozy mystery is the kind of story you want to unwind with while wearing fuzzy socks. The tone is much lighter, and can even be considered wholesome and humorous. Book titles are pun-filled and corny. The crime is described in a less gruesome way. Typically, the sleuth is an amateur detective, nosy neighbor, or a knitter with some free time on their hands. Solving a mystery is like a fun hobby or satisfies their idle curiosity. These kinds of mysteries often include a fluffy companion, like a loyal canine or finicky feline. For a cozy mystery, solving the crime is all in good fun.

Old lady knitting gif 1 » GIF Images Download

Noir

Opposite of a cozy mystery. In noir fiction, like it’s film counterpart, the atmosphere is dark and gritty. The world is a cynical and hopeless place. Shadowy street corners. Femme Fatales a lighting cigarette. Hard-boiled detectives are flawed anti-heroes with ambiguous morals. Those are the common traits of noir. When it comes to what’s right and what’s wrong, the lines are blurry. Noir endings can often be open ended and open to interpretation. Is justice served? Is the detective a hero? All valid questions in noir.

She Devoured Men The Way She Devoured Cigarettes | Movie stars, Bogart and  bacall, Humphrey bogart

Police Procedural/Forensic

For readers who enjoy those CSI shows, this subgenre is for you. For this subgenre, the main focus is police investigation. And it’s as accurate to real life as possible. Think unsolved crime documentary. Usually, the main character’s occupation is in law enforcement, in some way. Whether that be a cop or a forensic scientist or a coroner. In this subgenre, a lot of time and detail is devoted to the forensic science side of a case. Autopsy reports, crime scenes and dead bodies are described in almost too vivid detail. Not exactly for the faint of heart. But hey, reading a story like this, you may actually learn something about police procedure in a realistic case.

Forensic GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Supernatural

Need some spooky Halloween vibes? This mystery subgenre is centered around the paranormal, investigating things that go bump in the night. In a supernatural mystery, the story designed to startle and thrill readers, dipping its toe in fantasy and horror genres. Elements of the unknown, ghosts and mystical are mixed into the narrative. Haunted houses and misty graveyards would make an excellent setting, I’m sure. The supernatural mystery is a puzzle – for both the reader and the detective. Explaining the unexplainable is the main goal of the investigator. When the story concludes, there’s usually a logical explanation for the paranormal disturbances.

Halloween GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

What is your favorite mystery subgenre? And if you are writing/have written a mystery story, what subgenre would you categorize it under? Or what is your favorite mystery subgenre to read? Talk to me in the comments. I love to hear from you guys.

Hope you all are enjoying May of Mystery so far. If you have any ideas for future mystery posts, let me know!

Safe safe and keep writing!

Write with heart,

Lady Jabberwocky