What You Talkin’ Bout Genre?

All writing is categorized. And in more ways than you can count. You have your genres, your subgenres and you can even create your own by mixing it up. But why? You’d think that writing is writing but I’m afraid not. Just as fiction writing is different from nonfiction, you also have different types of fiction.

As a writer you have to understand that all writing is not created equal. Each has a stylistic criteria and or formula. And to help recognize and incorporate that into your own writing, you must read a lot. Study the cliches and reinvent them. Knowing your genre criteria will help you write it more effectively in the long run.

You can’t just write a mashup of all the genres…go back. Well, you can but I would not suggest this as a writing project for new authors. If you’re seeking traditional publishing, most publishers would reject it in fear of not being able to place it. Then factor in that you’re a new author with no or little author platform. A writing project like that is best left after you’ve found your own voice as a stable and established writer. Or as a continuous writing project while you write your other stories. It’s best to lure your readers in with your writing style and storytelling first. And turn them to loyal, life long fans.

Now take a look at your story and figure out your main story telling vice. Which of the top genre categories will you label it as? Then look at the other elements in your story? Is it more romance or more mystery? That’ll be your sub-genre. You can also use two interrelated main genres and one sub genre. Or vice versa. And more.

My Nadia, the Hidden Witch series falls under the fantasy umbrella. Since it’s about witches and mystery, it’s considered as paranormal/supernatural but I prefer to use supernatural. Harbingers of El Tinor is harder to place. It’s also a fantasy work but it’s also an adventure-mythic fiction piece. And the sub genre leans toward sword and sorcery as well as low fantasy.

Have you given a thought about your story’s genre? Still confused? Well writers tend to write the genre they like to read most. So I say you’re already stepping in the right direction. But here are some guideposts to help you on your way. Because if you know what genre you’re writing for, the easier it is to write it, create your book proposal and market your book.

Food for thought: I couldn’t list all the genres. So I only focused on the all encompassing money making categories. I also couldn’t list all the sub-genres nor the sub-sub-genres. Not to mention that nowadays all the genres are blending with many other genres. And they’re new genres created as I type. So, if there are any that I missed, please mention it in the comments below. Give your genre definitions, criterion, sub-genres and book suggestions. Or had there been a book(s) that you thought were incorrectly categorized? Why?

PS For a little fun try out these genre quizzes I found. And share your results. Do you think it was dead on? Or was it dead wrong? I got fantasy for both.
What Book Genre Fits You Best?
What Genre Do You Write Best?

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