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  • Writer's pictureMaria P Frino

What is a Genre?

And... should you write in more than one?

A genre is the type of story the author has written. There are many genres for fiction stories and I discuss some of them here.

Many authors I have spoken with over the years write in more than one genre. I write family saga fiction, adult contemporary, and science fiction. In this blog post, I'm only discussing fiction genres. The genres I write in are all similar in structure, but for me as a writer, it is the setting that is different. When I sit to write a new story I don't always know what the genre will be and, for me, this helps the story to flow. This works for me but every writer has different views on genre and how they go about writing their stories.

J. K. Rowling is famous for writing the Harry Potter series, we all know that. But she also writes adult novels and in the crime genre under the name Robert Galbraith. If J. K. Rowling can do it, then why not other authors?

It is true that if you write in one genre then readers will relate to you as an author of that genre. In a way, you make it easier for readers to recognise you as an author of say, Romance or Horror, or even Science Fiction if you write only in your chosen genre.

The books in the photo are my debut novel 'The Decision They Made' in English and Italian, and the genre is family saga with historical elements. The book in the middle, Two Men in a Shed, is a contemporary adult novel. And, as I've mentioned, I also write sci-fi. I didn't consciously set out to write in multiple genres, but I seem to be settling on Contemporary Fiction as my next two novels will be in this genre. Whether I stay with this genre I don't know, we'll have to see what happens.

This is my Science Fiction trilogy. Available as an e-book or in print wherever books are sold.

Popular genres are -

  • Fantasy - subgenres include: High fantasy, magical realism, superhero, fairy tales, dark

  • Adventure - action, animation, pirate, survival, drama, science fiction

  • Romance - historical, young adult or coming of age, suspense, inspirational

  • Dystopian - speculative, eco-fiction, climate fiction (cli-fi), bureaucratic, religious

  • Science Fiction - space opera, steampunk, apocalyptic, hard and soft, military

  • Contemporary - romance, suspense, medical, humour, glamour, cowboy

  • Mystery - detective, police, murder whodunnits, cozy, caper stories

  • Historical Fiction - traditional, epics, romantic, western, time travel, alternate

  • Young Adult - adventure, chick lit, diaries, family, relationships, fantasy

  • Children's books - classic, picture, fantasy, historical, fairy tales, realism, biography

This is only a small sample of the genres and subgenres available to authors and readers. There are rules and tropes in writing each genre, as well as word count and being true to the genre. Even in fiction, the story has to be plausible, except for Fantasy - take Game of Thrones for example. In this type of high fantasy, the author can use their imagination to create worlds, people, and their powers to wow readers and audiences.

Whatever genre you choose to write in, it will be one you have enjoyed reading or one you know well. One rule of writing is to write what you know, or you will have to do heaps of research to make your story believable. This takes away from writing time, and although some research is necessary, it should be less than the time you spend writing.

Happy reading and good luck finding your genre/s,

Maria P Frino

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