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.