Friday, June 29, 2018

A Breakdown of Fiction Genres

by Elva Cobb Martin

For an author, genre is a style or category that controls what you write and how you write it. It is the blueprint for various types of stories.

Each genre has rules to follow and there can be sub-genres within genres. 

Genres are great because they fulfill reader  expectations. Like me, you probably buy certain books because you've enjoyed similar stories in the past.

Here is my simple breakdown of some popular fictional genres to help me keep them straight. You may know of others or group them differently.

Each genre has its own "blueprint" an author needs to research before writing in that category.

I will start my list with the two forever best-selling genres as far as I know-- Romance and Mystery,which are also my favorites.

1. Romance - stories about relationships between two people who fall in love. There are many sub-genres like Romantic Suspense, Historical Romance (with many period sub genres), Paranormal Romance. Most people love a love story!

2. Mystery/Crime/Suspense/Thriller - I lumped a lot of types in this one. Includes the "whodunits." There are many sub-genres like Police Procedural, Suspense/Thriller, Legal Thriller, Medical Thriller, Cozy Mystery.  Many people, including me, like to solve a mystery!

3. Action Adventure - This story puts the protagonist in physical danger with thrilling near misses and daring feats. It is fast-paced.

4. Speculative Fiction - These stories are created in worlds unlike our real world in certain important ways. They can overlap in science fiction, supernatural fiction, fantasy fiction, apocalyptic fiction.

5.  Young Adult - these are written, published and marketed to adolescent and young adults probably between the ages of 12-18. The stories can cross into fantasy and science fiction genres.

6. Women's Fiction - These plots are characterized by female central characters who face challenges and crises that have a direct relationship with gender.

7. Historical - These fictional stories take place against factual historical backdrops. Historical figures may be portrayed as fictional characters. Family sagas might be a sub genre.

8. Westerns - These books are specifically set in the old American West. Plot lines include survival, romance and adventure, and can include cowboys, mountain men, Indians, miners.

9. Horror/Paranormal/Ghost - These are high-pitched scary stories involving pursuit and escape. Occult is a sub genre.

10. Literary Fiction -This genre focuses on the human condition and is more concerned with the inner lives of characters and themes than plot. Some say this genre is hard to sell and continues to decline.

Thank you for stopping by. I bet you have another fiction genre to add somewhere in my list! Please leave your comment and  do share this blog by clicking on the small icons below.

Have a blessed, safe, July 4th!

Elva Cobb Martin is vice-president of the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. She has two inspirational novels published with Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas. Summer of Deception, a contemporary romantic suspense, and an historical romance, In a Pirate’s Debt. Both have spent time on Amazon’s 100 Best Sellers List for Women’s Religious Fiction. She has indie published a Bible study on the  believer's authority in Christ, Power Over Satan. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have carried Elva's articles. Jim Hart of Hartline Literary represents her. She and her husband Dwayne are semi-retired ministers. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives in South Carolina. Connect with her on her web site,on Twitter; Facebook;  and Pinterest

 Link to her romance novels and non-fiction works on Amazon: