Conventions and Traditional Genres in Writing

Conventions and Writing

The literary model is a poem written by the Irish poet and Harvard teacher, Seamus Heaney. Literary genres include poetry, prose, and drama. We categorize them under these genres because of the literary conventions that they are known for.

Literary conventions mean the aggregate of norms and standards (i.e., plot, character; setting, icon, theme, or effect in a genre story) created in the realm of literary heritage. Each literary genre possesses certain conventions that produce remarkable effects. They are the defining elements of the different genres and subgenres. In short, they give identity for each genre. For instance, you cannot call it a “horror” story if it doesn’t have recognizable elements like creepy and dark settings, ghosts or monsters, etc. Conventions can also refer to the way ideas are expressed: literal or figurative. In this sense, it can mean the use of language that includes grammar (i.e., tense, syntax), vocabulary, story structure, etc. Literary genres are collections of conventions that aim to create novelty and creativity.

Traditional Conventions

Fiction is a literary genre that tells something based on imagination rather than factual. It features creativity in inventing place, characters, settings, and themes within and beyond human realms. The imaginative stories usually emphasize character development which could be realistic or not.

Furthermore, it is also categorized into subgenres defined by content, technique, and tone. It includes but not limited to novel, myth, short story, legend, fable, historical fiction, adventure, fantasy, mystery, science fiction, traditional literature, and folktales. Realistic fiction is a story that can happen in -real life with realistic characters, reasonable and believable outcomes, and contemporary or historical setting.

Literary norms in poetry refer to how structure and rhythm are linked to content and theme. We know it is a poem because it is composed of verses, pair of lines, metered. Furthermore, patterns and techniques contribute to the overall meaning of the literary piece. For example, a narrative poem tells a story or a lyrical poem evokes emotions, reflections, and thoughts.

Western literary tradition typically has three primary poetic conventions; meter, rhythm, and rhyme.

Meter highlights the stressed and unstressed syllables in a poem. Spoken languages employ a variety of combinations of stressed and unstressed syllables. The relationship of these varied syllables creates a certain pattern in a line of verse or stanza, called rhythm. Finally, the most obvious convention of poetry is rhyme or the repetition of similar or same sounds in the lines of verses usually in final syllables of poem or song.

The poem “Scaffolding” is an example of a poem with rhymed verses.

Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;

The poem’s structure is easy to understand; it has ten lines (five paired lines) with consistent rhyming in every pair.

Moreover, many poets have experimented on creating conventions without losing the norms of poetry. This may include deviation from the rules of poetic grammar and the use of nontraditional structure and line breaks to fashion new ways to express themes and emotions. For instance, the use of unrhymed words paved the way to the creation of free verse.

For some poets, they find free verse as a less restrictive kind because it doesn’t have to adhere to the rules of rhyming and metrical patterning.

Dramas reveal situations through their characters, settings, and plot. It is filled with climaxes and turning points which develop the characters. It also brings out social issues aimed to evoke in the audience emotions as they relate to the complications of the storylines and actors.

The ending may be happy, tragic, or a combination of both. Moreover, not all dramas follow these conventions as playwrights continue to inject their own creativity into their masterpieces.

Different genres may have varied norms, but certainly, these conventions define the informational and entertainment purposes of literature. They have the power to engage the reader and audience to relate themselves with the characters.