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Rated: 13+ · Article · Community · #987399
Writers' need to help their readers' understand, and provide the framework

Weekly Editor's Letter:

About Genres, And Related Stuff

When you accidently let it slip an tell a non-writer person, or persons, you're writing a novel, do you grimace as they ask, "What kind of Novel are you writing?" Do you have your three line pithy description already commited to memory?

Different States of Mind

Writers are artists and entertainers, and as artists and entertainers we need to know how our written words are understood by our audience. A reader's ability to understand what is written will enhance their enjoyment of our works. This goes way beyond mere vocabulary.

Vocabulary, then, comes from a knowledge of how our specific area of the world around us works, not just merely from what specific words mean.

Know Your Audience

Reading supports mental visualization, and as Writers' we need to give readers' a point of reference. The first clue, or point of reference a writer can give to his or her audience is the selection of the genre. Genre gives the reader the proper mind set, reference point, and framework, which provides an expected or anticipated order to subject matter.

Genre Availability on Writing.Com:

action/adventure * activity * adult * animal * arts * biographical * business * career * children's * comedy * community * computers * contest * crime/gangster * cultural * death * detective * drama * educational * emotional * entertainment * environment * erotica * experience * family * fanfiction * fantasy * fashion * finance * food/cooking * foreign * friendship * gay/lesbian * genealogy * ghost * gothic * health * history * hobby/craft * holiday * home/garden * horror/scary * how-to/advice * inspirational * internet/web * legal * medical * melodrama * men's * military * music * mystery * mythology * nature * news * occult * opinion * parenting * personal * philosophy * political * psychology * reference * regional * relationship * religious * research * romance/love * satire * sci-fi * scientific * self help * spiritual * sports * supernatural * technology * teen * thriller/suspense * tragedy * transportation * travel * tribute * war * western * women's * writing * writing.com * young adult

The Necessity of so Many Genres
is Supported by
Schema Theory

Schema theory presents a creative, goal-oriented view of mental activity.

Schema Theory: An Introduction


A schema (singular), as it pertains to schema theory, represents generic knowledge. A general category (schema) will include slots for all the components, or features, included in it.

Schemata (plural) are embedded one within another at different levels of abstraction. Relationships among them are conceived to be like webs, thus each one is interconnected with many others.

A Key concept of Schema Theory

All human beings develop categorical rules or scripts they use to interpret, understand, and relate to the world in which they live. New information is processed according to how it fits into these rules.

Who decided to call this process of interpreting, understanding, and relating to the world – schema?

Schema theory was developed by R.C. Anderson, a respected educational psychologist. Schema, a learning theory, views organized knowledge as an elaborate network of abstract mental structures which represent a person’s understanding of the world.

The term schema was first used by Piaget in 1926, so it was not an entirely new concept. Anderson just expanded the meaning.

Schema is using what we know, or are familiar with, not just to interpret, but also to predict situations occurring in our environment.

Think, for example, of a situation where you were able to finish another person’s thoughts, for example, when someone asked you to hand them that "thingamabob."

Schema Theorists suggest that you used your schema to predict what the other person was going to say and to correctly interpret and understand what was meant by the term "thingamabob".

Information that does not fit into our schema may not be understood, or may not be comprehended correctly. This is the reason why readers have a difficult time comprehending a text on a subject they are not familia. Even if a person comprehends the meaning of the individual words in a passage, or story, the information can leave a reader confused if there is nothing within their scope of knowledge and experience with which to relate.

If you have ever visited a Louisiana restaurant, then you have certainly been asked by waitress or waiter if you’d like your po’boy dressed. You would need to know that a po’boy is what Louisiana folks call a sandwich, and when a sandwich is dressed that means it comes with, at the very least, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise.

(At this point, I’m thinking about all the New Orleans residents that have been displaced by hurricane Katrina. These thousands of Louisiana natives are now scattered across the country trying to order a dressed po’boy. I wonder who is feeling more confused – the Louisiana native asking for a dressed po’boy, or the poor waitress or waiter that has no clue what a po'boy is.)

Are you beginning to understand about Schema Theory?

(Yes, I know it's a fancy, kinda over the top way of way of looking at how we write - but I didn't make this stuff up.)

Schema theory describes the process by which readers combine their own background knowledge with the information in a text to comprehend that text. All readers carry different schemata (background information) and these are also very often culture-specific.

Differences between a writer’s intention and a reader’s comprehension are most obvious where readers have had different life experiences than that of the writer's.

Writing.Com has many writers’ from many different cultures. I have encountered cultural differences, while reading, that have limited my understanding of what the writer actually meant.

As writers', it is important for us to know about Schema Theory. Knowledge of Schema Theory alerts the writer to the need to set the stage, so to speak, so readers can properly interpret, identify with, and understand exactly what it is that we are writing about.

For readers reading at the limits of their cultural understanding and experience, "if the topic... is outside of their experience or base of knowledge, they are adrift on an unknown sea" (Aebersold and Field 1997:41).

Aebersold, J.A. and Field, M.L. (1997) From Reader to Reading Teacher. Cambridge: CUP.

The Global Properties of Language

Before the Internet, I doubt if many of us ever worried about the global properties of language. Well, "Welcome to My World", ya'll can worry about it right along with me now. *Laugh* "You're all very welcome!"

Read & Write On!!!


The Critic

Useful Offsite Links:



The following link is to one Literary Agent's explaination of their definition on works in specific genre's:


Useful Onsite Link:

To find members from somewhere else:

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Featured Works From Writers’ Circle Members

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"If all writers wrote like all others before them then writing would be a dying art."

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#965776 by Nikola-Melts in Summer

"He leaves, she cries, she's alive."

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" Meanwhile, in the background, since I was growing up in the sixties and seventies in the midst of free love, recreational drug use, the civil rights movement, women’s liberation, the Vietnam War, and protests against it, I heard the slogan, “Make love not war.” I got a lot of mixed messages. Still, somehow I grew up."

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I spent 3 weeks in Haiti 1 summer and learned about the people and culture
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College dorms offer a unique life for young people.
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Sometimes we all need comfort food. Waffle House is the place for it.
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Writing Prompt:

Go look for something to read that is written by someone with a different cultural slant, or foreign life experiences that are very different from your own.

Ask yourself if the writer set the stage, making it possible for you to understand and enjoy reading what is being written about.

Then go write something based on your experience, or culture that is unique to your culture, or geographic area. Assume nothing.


"You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives." ~Clay P. Bedford

"Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study. Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life." ~Henry L. Doherty

"I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma." ~Eartha Kitt

Recommended Forums:

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Issue #207

Edited by: The Critic

Rate this newsletter here: "Genres & Schema Theory

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