Wednesday, December 07, 2011


Have you gotten a genre all picked out that you like to write for? The lines are sometimes blurred but publishers accept many along the blurred lines because the genres mix and match. I think sometimes people make up their own genre then the publisher says, "Hey, we accept horror and fantasy, why not publish mystical spiritual?"

Are you writing to entertain? To inform? To persuade? Setting the purpose for writing is just as important as setting the purpose for reading, because purpose influences decisions you make about the shape and form your writing will take on. And this is why we have a genre to categorize our writing.

When researching GENREs, I never got a clear picture; that was so strange because I thought genre meant: Mystery, Horror, fiction, historical fiction, non -fiction, poetry, etc. but I kept running into list like:

The different genres of writing include descriptive, expository, narrative, persuasive, poetry and technical writing, and a combination of these are usually used for any given body of writing.

The National Writers Union bases its organizational structure on three very broad genre groups: the book division, for both fiction and non-fiction writers, the journalism division, for magazine and newspaper writers, and the biz-tech division, for business and technology writers. In addition, they include a special caucus for those who write prose and poetry.

I can see why now, we as writers have a hard time organizing our work and the need to classify where to send out work if we don’t understand the many genres being accepted in today’s writing world.

The type of list I was going for was something like this:
Action-adventure -- features physical action; the knock down dragged out missions of take no prisoner--ALIVE. Many times set in forbidding locales such as jungles, deserts, or mountains. May be historical fiction, containing facts.

Crime -- centered on the criminal society; told from the point of view of the perpetrators. Ranges in tone from lighthearted "caper" stories to darker plots involving organized crime or incarcerated convicts.

Detective -- has become almost synonymous with mystery. These stories relate the solving of a crime, usually one or more murders, by a protagonist who may or may not be a professional investigator. This large, popular genre has many subgenres, reflecting differences in tone, character, and it always contains criminal and detective

Mystery -- Think ‘whodunit’ in this category. Technically involving stories in which characters try to discover a vital piece of information which is kept hidden until the climax. Keeping the reader enthralled throughout, I might add. I might also add spiritual Mystery to this. Not having the gore elements of horror. Also Paranormal fiction fits in here along with horror.

Fantasy -- Think Lord of the Rings;  unrealistic, make-believe things exist in imaginary worlds such as wizards, dragons, griffins etc

Horror -- Bloody, gut wrenching, spine tingling, gore.

Romance -- Love! A couple meet, fall apart, and in the end live happily ever after. Not to be confused with, Eroticism!

Science fiction -- Think of extrapolated, theoretical science and technology; A lot of new planets are in this genre

Western -- Primarily set in the American West in the second half of the 1800’s. Has romance, and cowboys!

Inspirational --  A term that refers to fictional or non fictional works with religious themes and aimed at a Christian audience.

There is also added categories :
Childrens -- targeted audience kids under 8

Young Adult (aka YA) -- young people from 10 and up because let’s be honest, many adults are readers of YA

Adult fiction  -- can get by with foul language and topics

I hope you enjoyed today's Genre piece. Categorized as  Informational!


benning said...

"Western -- Primarily set in the American West in the second half of the 1900’s. Has romance, and cowboys!" - Since I was born in 1955 I guess I can relate? LOL That should read "1800s" I think. :)

Otherwise your genre list makes far more sense then the so-called experts'.

joni said...

I despise Western, so I'd have no idea!
But since you're ancient and in the know, I'll get ta fixin it, Pa! :P