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

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