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Make your story (and marketing) rhyme

The audience you choose wants the structure of your story to rhyme.

In The Practice , Seth Godin call this genre:

The people you bring your work to want to know what it rhymes with, what category it fits in, what they’re supposed to compare it to. Please put in a container for us, they say. We call that container genre.”

He continues:

Genre permits us to be original. It gives us a framework to push against… Not generic which is boring, but genre, which gives your audience a clue as to what this work is about… Genre is a box, a set of boundaries, something the creative person can leverage against. The limits of the genre are the place where you do your idiosyncratic work.

Readers go in with expectations—that your story is going to rhyme a certain way. You are allowed to mess with it. Understanding the genre and pushing against those expectations creates unique and exciting work.

But each choice you make strips away audience—and that’s okay too, but you need to accept the consequences of those choices.

However, I also don’t think you are allowed to complain if people don’t get it. Perhaps your marketing didn’t communicate the expectations accurately. Your reader may have expected a disaster film with explosions, not an interpersonal drama. It doesn’t make your story wrong, but it does make your marketing poor.

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