The Who, What, Where, When and Why of Genre

Genre: What is it, and why do you need it?

According to Merriam-Webster, genre is: a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content.

The most general genres:

  • Epic
  • Tragedy
  • Comedy
  • Novel
  • Short story

Classic genres may include tragedy, science fiction, fantasy, mythology, adventure, mystery.

Other major book genres are: drama, romance, action-adventure, thriller, young adult (YA), and dystopian.

I could go on all day, creating and populating these lists. Yes, there are that many, and I haven’t even mentioned the sub-genres. I could probably even come up with some sub-sub-genres.

Over the next few weeks, as sugarplums dance in your heads, you fuss over what to put in the children’s stockings, and marathon cookie bake (maybe that’s just me), we’ll be addressing genres here at Inspired Prompt. You needed a distraction, right?

Maybe you just completed NaNoWriMo and you need to sharpen the genre of your manuscript to get it ready.

A new year is beginning in just a few weeks. Maybe one of your resolutions is to finally start that book! But, how do you know what genre to write? Start writing and hope to find a niche?

It’s usually better to know up front, before you begin. The superheroes of Inspired Prompt are here to help guide you through the maze. Umm. Humor is another genre in fiction, by the way.

So, how do you figure it all out? Here’s a clue:

What do you like to read? If you love mysteries, you’ll probably write mysteries. I love historical fiction. Most of the books I’ve written have been…you guessed it, historical fiction. But I also write suspense. Historical suspense is another genre I loved to read, as a young adult.

Should you stick with one? You may want to begin with one. Become an “expert,” then try something else. Don’t be surprised, though, if you end up back at the first one. Some famous authors never write anything else. Stephen King, for instance, and Nora Roberts. Hey, it works for them.

Like the adage KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid), sometimes it’s best to stay with what you know. Unless you’re miserable there and end up being a square peg in a round hole. Yes, this paragraph is overrun with clichés, but I hope you get the picture.

The Who, What, Where, When and Why of Genre? It’s what we’re talking about in December. [Click to Tweet]

As we introduce our subtopics, I hope you’ll get involved by asking questions or sharing your own experiences and expertise.

If we have helped you with your writing, please let us know. That would be as special as a gift. Yes, one of the best of all gifts is to know that what you’re doing is of value to someone else.WRITING PROMPT: Suspense or romance? Add a sentence to this prompt to give it either a suspenseful slant, or a romantic one: The man outside Mary’s door stood with his back to her, but there was something familiar about him.

Genre Month at Inspired Prompt

An Overview of Genre

By Jennifer Hallmark

We’ve all heard the term and struggled to pronounce it. I personally try to say the word “genre” with a French accent but my natural Southern one makes it come out all wrong. 🙂

So what exactly is a genre? Vocabulary.com says “A literary genre is a style of writing.” Your favorite literary genre might be science fiction or romance, for example.

The word genre means “artistic category or style,”…When you use the term literary genre, you make it clear that you’re talking about books and writing. Bookstores sometimes use literary genres as a way to separate books into different sections, like “classics” or “mysteries.” The word genre is French, and it means “kind, sort, or style.”

And then there are sub-genres which are simply subcategories within a particular genre. The academic mystery is a “sub-genre” of the mystery novel.

Here’s a partial list of genres in literature.

  • Action/Adventure
  • Chick Lit
  • Classic
  • Comic/Graphic Novel
  • Contemporary
  • Crime/Detective
  • Dystopian/Utopian
  • Fable
  • Fairy tale
  • Fanfiction
  • Fantasy
  • Fiction narrative
  • Folklore
  • Historical fiction
  • Horror
  • Humor
  • Magical Realism
  • Mystery/Cozy Mystery
  • Non-fiction
  • Science fiction
  • Southern
  • Steampunk
  • Suspense/Thriller
  • Tragedy
  • Western
  • Women’s Fiction
  • Young Adult/New Adult

    Fairy Tale Re-Tellings

I try to read a variety of different genres because I believe it will make me a more well-rounded writer.  Some of my favorites are women’s fiction (especially stories based in the South), mysteries, and fantasy. I just finished a Southern fiction book collection that I loved called A Southern Season-Stories From a Front Porch Swing.

I’ve also read a Steampunk book by Edie Melson called Maiden of Iron: A Steampunk Fable. Steampunk is a genre (or perhaps sub-genre) of science fiction that has a historical setting and typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology.

For a combination of Classics and Mystery, the latest series of books I’m reading are by Georgette Heyer.  She also writes Regency romances, a sub-genre of romance novels set between 1811-1820 with their own plot and stylistic conventions.

So you can see there are many genres and sub-genres. And I’ve not included a mishmash of genres, where a writers mixes two or more genres. The problem with mishmash is when it comes to finding your market. Let’s say you mix historic romance with science fiction. You’ll need to find a reader who likes both and that could prove difficult.

We at Inspired Prompt want to hear from you. What’s your favorite genre? sub-genre? List it in the comments below and tell us about one of your favorite books within that category.

Click to tweet: What is genre? sub-genre? Mishmash? Find out at the Inspired Prompt blog. #genre #amreading

Writing Prompt: Lillian ran down the street and pushed past the crowd into the library. Her favorite author had a new novel out and she had to have it. It was a…

Devotional Books: Wrapping Up November

By Jennifer Hallmark

I love to read devotional books. I always have at least one on my nightstand. There is no better way to start or end a day than with a section from the Bible and an encouraging thought about God, love, and life.

To wrap up this month of all things devotional, I’d remind you of our earlier posts you might have missed.

8 Steps to Writing a “Shout from the Housetops” Devotion by Bonita McCoy

Christian Devotions: The Birthing of a Ministry by Cindy Sproles

Devotion Writing: Journeying to Publication by Martin Wiles

Hopefully Devoted by Carlton Hughes

So You Want to Write a Devotional Book? by Shirley Crowder

Resources for Anyone Who’d Like to Write Devotional Books by Jennifer Hallmark

Apples of Gold by Harriet Michael

Writing the Rightly Divided by Kristy Horine

Encouraging Others Through Devotional  blogging by Tammy Trail

I know you’ll enjoy all these posts, whether you are a writer of devotions or strictly a reader. My favorite devotional books are:

Streams in the Desert

Jesus Every Day

God in the Dark: 31 Devotions  to Let the Light Back In

My Utmost for His Highest

Jesus Calling

Do you like devotional books? Do you get a new one each year in January? Who are your favorite devotional writers? Share a comment below and you’ll be entered to win a Kindle copy of Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress by Lysa Terkheurst.

Click to tweet: Devotional Writing: Wrapping Up November. What are your favorite devotional books? #devotional #amreading

Writing Prompt: Take one of the Psalms and write a devotional thought about it. If you’d like, share below also…

The Write Course: 3 Minute Tips for the Beginning Writer-A Short Break

Jennifer Hallmark here. Welcome to my You Tube series called “The Write Course: 3 Minute Tips for the Beginning Writer.”

Sometimes, as writers, life doesn’t go quite as expected.  We have plans and a schedule to maintain but everything can change in a moment. Please watch as I explain on today’s episode, A Short Break.

 

Click to tweet: The Write Course: 3 Minute Tips for the Beginning Writer. The YouTube series for the beginning writer. Catch the next episode on the Inspired Prompt blog: Taking a Short Break. #amwriting #WritersLife

3 Questions Wednesday with Donna Schlachter

aaaSchlachter DSCF1330_DonnaHappy Wednesday! Today the Inspired Prompt welcomes  author and story teller, Donna Schlachter. We’re so happy you could join us. First question:

Can you describe yourself in three words?

Donna: Analytical. Justice-oriented. Child of the Living God.

A mind for details makes a great writer.  Now about travel…

Someone offers you a fully-paid writing research trip to any place you desire to go. Where would it be and why?

Donna: England. For the history. And it needs to be at least a month long. Maybe two. No, six. Six months in England, to tour old castles, ghost towns, and cemeteries. Yes, cemeteries. I love dreaming up stories to go along with inscriptions such as “Mother of 10”, “Love of my life”, and “Infant daughter of J.C. and E.M. Clements”.

What a interesting answer! Last question:

If someone made a movie of your life, what would be the theme song?

Donna:  I had no idea, so I went online and did a crazy quiz. Answered 7 seemingly unrelated questions, and presto! The answer: Summer of ’69 by Bryan Adams. Apparently, I wish it were still the good, old days. They say I’m not much for change, which is true. As for the rest of their conclusions, don’t know that I agree, but then again, they came up with the theme song when I couldn’t. If you want to try the quiz, here’s the link: https://www.proprofs.com/quiz-school/story.php?title=What-song-tells-story-your-life-1

Summer of ’69 by Bryan Adams

You wish it were still the good old days.  You are not much one for change, because it never seems to work out for you.  You love to look back and reminiscence on all the great times you have had.  Your friends are faithful and pals you have had for most of your life.  You have their backs, and they have yours.  Life is pretty much the way you like it, so you see no reason to change it.  Things are just better when you let everything unfold the way it should.  Who knew the story of your life would be the worst export Canada ever sent to the USA?

Change is a struggle for me too… why mess with a good thing?!  Thanks so much for dropping by!

Click to tweet: Author and Story Teller Donna Schlachter talks about writing and a giveaway. #DonnaSchlachter #amreading #MissAdventureBrides

What would be the theme song of YOUR life? Feel free to use the quiz mentioned above, or choose your favorite song. Leave a comment and enter to win a random drawing for a free print copy (US Only) of MissAdventure Brides Collection.


Cover

The MissAdventure Brides Collection

These seven daring damsels don’t let the norms of their eras hold them back from adventure.

About Detours of the Heart: A tour guide who wants to move on, a playboy who’s never had a place to call home—can they overcome their own plans and allow God to make their path straight, or will they take yet another detour?


aaaSchlachter DSCF1330_Donna

Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick. She writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Sisters In Crime; facilitates a critique group, and teaches writing classes. Donna ghostwrites, edits, and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Donna is represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management.

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