For the next few weeks, we will explore fiction genres and their subcategories. Genres are fluid things. They change from time to time, and sometimes a novel fits in more than one genre. But publishers use genres to define fiction to their readers, and readers use genre to choose what books they like to read. So genre is important. Please take a moment to take the favorite genre quiz on the sidebar of this blog.
The following is a list of genres I will cover in upcoming posts. It is not meant to be a complete list. There are some genres I don’t want to even blog about let alone read like erotica, gay and lesbian, occult, etc. But it does cover most people’s favorites.
Age Classifications: There are three age classifications.
Children – Ages Birth to Twelve
Young Adult – Ages Twelve to Twenty-five
Adult – Eighteen and Above
Science Fiction: Stories often tell about science and technology. It is important to note that science fiction has a relationship with the principles of science—these stories involve partially true-partially fictitious laws or theories of science. It should not be completely unbelievable, because it then ventures into the genre fantasy.
Fantasy: Stories are often characterized by a departure from the accepted rules by which individuals perceive the world around them; it represents that which is impossible (unexplained) and outside the parameters of our known, reality. Make-believe is what this genre is all about.
Speculative: This is a catch-all term meant to inclusively span the breadth of fantastic literature, encompassing literature ranging from hard science fiction to epic fantasy to ghost stories to horror to folk and fairy tales to slipstream to magical realism to modern myth-making — and more. Many times, it has a spiritual or supernatural element to it.
Romance: Romantic Fiction has two strict criteria: The first is that the story must focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people. Secondly, the end of the story must be positive, leaving the reader believing that the protagonists’ love and relationship will endure for the rest of their lives. If those two criteria are not met, it’s not considered a romance.
Women’s Fiction: Stories that generally appeal more to women than men. Usually the stories involve relationships, emotions, and a female main character.
Mystery: Intrique, who-done-it’s, crime solving are major ingredients of the mystery genre. Basically the main character has a mystery or crime to solve.
Thriller/Suspense: This genre is characterized by “the sudden rush of emotions, the excitement, sense of suspense, apprehension, and exhilaration that drive the narrative, sometimes subtly with peaks and lulls, sometimes at a constant, breakneck pace.” In short, a thriller thrills. How? Mostly through skillful plotting. This is sometimes called men’s fiction because it’s believed to appeal more to men.
Historical: Any story that takes place more than twenty years ago is considered historical.
Contemporary: Any fiction where the story takes place in the present.
Comedy: Any story that seeks to invoke laughter.