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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:


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.



Wordy is the get-in-the-know hotspot for writers. From grammar to publishing find info, tips, and inspiration to take your WIP (Work In Progress) to the next level.


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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.

I've gained a lot of tips and tidings on my writing journey and want to share what I know.

Besides my passion for writing, I'm a fitness enthusiast, and I love coffee, chocolate, and animals. I'm mom to two amazing young men, and I live on Long Island with my husband, four zany cats, and the sweetest dog ever.

Whether you're new to writing, ready to query, or about to submit your manuscript,  welcome, you've come to the right place.

About Me


Alyssa is Wordy's website administrator and tech guru. She holds a degree in Communication and has always enjoyed writing and marketing, both of which are highly useful skills for aspiring authors. 

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