Spin the Genie’s Genre Bottle



Today there are a plethora of genres. More than ever before. Add in sub-genres and we’re talking over a hundred. Did I mention genres also intertwine like different yarn colors in a knitted blanket? Figuring out which genre fits your unique novel is not always so easy-peasy and unfortunately, there’s no genie on standby with a magic bottle. (That’s just a catchy title to pique your interest. Hehe!)


Let’s jump right in and try to sort this out together.


What are you writing?


Fiction – stories from the author’s imagination in the form of prose, especially short stories, and novels

Nonfiction – literature based in fact, containing verifiable information


Fiction Genres:


And many more. . .

Nonfiction Genres:


Who is your target audience?


Genres can intertwine:

Examples:

YA or Young Adult intersects with Paranormal Romance

Romance intersects with Steampunk

Western intersects with Thriller


Confused yet? Maybe we do need a genie or a magic wand to sort this out.


Okay, let’s focus on three fiction genres:


Fall in love: boy meets girl plot

Common Romance Subgenres:

Contemporary – set in the present (Kiss My Boots – Harper Sloan)

Historical – takes place in the past (Devil in Winter - Lisa Kleypas)

Paranormal – romance with a supernatural twist (Fallen - Lauren Kate)

Gothic – mysterious, dark, spooky setting (Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë)

Western – old west time period (Comanche Moon - Catherine Anderson)

And the sub-genre list goes on. . .


Embellish the laws of science using science & technology of the future or past

Popular Sci-Fi Subgenres:

Cyberpunk – high-tech advancements set against dystopic society (Neuromancer - William Gibson)

Steampunk – combines historical setting of 19th century with steam-powered technology (Leviathan -Scott Westerfeld)

Space Opera – set in outer space with elements of space warfare & melodramatic adventures (Ender’s Game - Orson Scott Card)

Robot Fiction – think robots, androids, & artificial intelligence (I, Robot - Isaac Asimov)

Slipstream – science fiction/fantasy intersects with literary fiction (Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell)

And there are many more. . .


Protagonist = teenager

Challenges of youth in any setting imaginable, aimed at ages 12-18

Here we go again with a plethora of subgenres:

Paranormal Romance – think werewolves, vampires, ghosts (The Twilight Saga – Stephanie Meyer)

Historical – teen struggle set in a significant moment in history (The Book Thief - Markus Zusak)

Sci-Fi Dystopian – young protagonist in future world fighting sinister oppression (The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins)

Contemporary – teen struggle happening now (The Fault in Our Stars - John Green)

Fantasy – Magical/supernatural elements with young main character (Harry Potter series - J. K. Rowling)

How many more can you find?



Let’s focus on three nonfiction genres:


Autobiography: The author writes about him/herself


Biography: The author writes about someone else


Self-Help: Contains instructions to help the reader fix personal issues


Choose the genre that best fits your book!








Hi. I'm Liz Ambrico, freelance proofreader and aspiring author. I too am querying agents, editors, and publishers in hopes of becoming a published author.

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I co-founded and managed a successful author and writer group on Long Island for five years. During events with publishers and authors I learned what matters, what agents are looking for, and the benefits and pitfalls of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing.

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