Genre 101: Introduction



Happy Thursday, writers! Today we embark on a new writing series- are you excited? I'm excited! For the month of July we'll be exploring GENRE. One of the things that I have personally found a little confusing while on my writing odyssey, is knowing what genre is, what types there are, how to figure out which one your work falls into, and what the general requirements for each genre are. For someone whose goal is publication, this is one of the most important aspects to figure out. You have to know how to appropriately market your work in order to succeed in the literary industry. This is especially true when you're self-publishing and when you're trying to find a literary agent or publisher.


What you can expect to see in this series this month are the answers to these questions. I'll be going over the different types in depth, making sure to do the research so that we can all learn what these broad titles really mean. Sometimes there are nit-picky differences that can shift a piece of work from one genre category to another. If you write, this means that a single reference or scene can change the way your work needs to be marketed and you may be otherwise unaware.


What is genre?


Genre by definition is an artistic composition, like music or literature, categorized by similarities in style, form, or subject matter. In literature, genre means the classification and organization of works of into categories such as poetry, drama, prose, fiction, and nonfiction. There are many subgenres within these larger categories. Overall they are determined based on their form, content, style, and length.


What are the types?


This is where things tend to get confusing. You've seen things like "fantasy", "romance", and "horror" labeled on the shelves in book stores. You've also seen categories like "kids", "paranormal romance" "true crime", etc. on your streaming services at home. Then there's the subgenres within subgenres, where it seems like people are making things up as they go along. That's where you wind up with really specific niche things like big foot romance novels, which is a crossover niche under monster romance, which originated from a mix between horror, paranormal, and romance genres. Yes, it's a thing. Basically, if writers thought there was a market for it, they've written it and it's since been titled appropriately.


One thing that you can be certain of is that all of these subgenres originate from the 5 main overarching genres.



From these genres, we then get more specific categories like :



And from those specific genres we begin to get into subgenre territory:



From this point it fissures into niche categories. Those we're going to explore later in this series when I start breaking down these categories individually. We'll be exploring the possible combinations and what they entail, but for now I wanted to give you a sneak peek so that you understand what we're working with in general.


How do I figure out what genre fits my novel?


The easiest way to answer this question is to ask it after you've already written your book. The reason I say this is because if you try to write to fit a certain genre, it may limit you from telling your story the way it needs to be told. Stories often take on a shape of their own because characters evolve and change, therefore determining how the story flows overall. This means that while you write, it's better to be uninhibited. Find a market that works for your story after you've finished, rather then limit your story ideas or force them to fit within the guidelines of a specific genre or subgenre.


If you're worried that your work won't fit into any of the pre-existing genres or subgenres, don't be. There are so many out there, trust me when I say that there is a category for yours. If on the off-chance there isn't, it may be because your novel is a hybrid. Hybrid books are a mix of different genres, usually two or three, which means that while they are a bit more difficult to market, they also have the potential to appeal to a wider audience. Each genre has a specific audience that it caters to. If your story can reach more than one, then that's a positive, not a negative.


The other thing that's important to note here is that you'll be able to find your genre based upon the specifications that are already pre-determined within each genre. These relate to age appropriateness (think middle-grade, young adult, adult, etc.), level of inappropriateness (think P-13, Rated R, etc.) where violence, crude language, sex, and other adult themes play a role, topics addressed such as abuse, crimes, and other mature topics, level of romance and relationships, language level, certain tropes or elements characteristic to said genre, like how fantasy has elves, and so much more.


How can I learn more about this topic?


That's easy! You can tune in here weekly for new posts, but I would recommend subscribing or connecting with me on Instagram or Pinterest. That way you receive notifications about when new posts are released and never miss out on a chance to learn. I'm also open to any suggestions or questions you may have so don't hesitate to reach out via the business email listed on my home page, or DM me on one of my social sites.


Navigating the different types of genres can be confusing. There are multiple types all with their own specifications, and finding which one is right for your work can sometimes be difficult. In our July writing series we will explore these different categories and what they entail.


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