After I was finished writing my first story, I was elated! I had finally done something that I could be proud of and share with others. After countless editing, countless hours, countless drafts, I finally felt it was the best it could be and was ready to send it to publishers; I was faced with a task that I hadn't anticipated being difficult for me. I had to select a genre that my story fit in.
The reason I say this was a hard task is because my story didn't just fit in one genre...it had bits and pieces from numerous genres, such as romance, adventure, and fantasy, so which one did I call home?
Determined to do this right, I researched. It turns out, there are more genres than just romance, adventure, and fantasy! In fact, I had never even heard of a few of them in my life. I figured that if I had a hard time finding a home for my story, there may also be others who have a heck of a time finding a genre that fits; therefore, I have compiled a large and lovely list of Fiction genres and sub-genres, along with a brief explanation of each.
(I realize this doesn't have every single one, but it does have a lot)
Similar to Adventure, protagonist usually takes a risky turn, which leads to desperate situations.
(Example: Explosions, fight scenes, daring escapes, etc...)
About a protagonist who journeys to epic or distant places to accomplish something. Protagonist has a mission and faces obstacles to get to his destination.
(Example: Superhero fiction, manga)
A world that is in the midst of crumbling. There can be many reasons for this: famine, disease, medical mayhem, earthquakes, aliens, natural disaster, zombies, etc...
(Example: The Stand by Stephen King, The Passage by Justin Cronin)
Fiction that uses Christian themes and incorporates the Christian world view. Both the content of the book and the religious affiliation of the author should be taken into consideration.
(Example: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, The Screwtape Letters by C.S.Lewis)
Often uses elements of absurdism, satire, and grotesque, along with pop-surrealism in order to create subversive, weird and entertaining works.
(Example: Satan Burger by Carlton Mellick III, Bucket of Face by Eric Hendrixson)
(I have never read these books, but they were the top rated on Goodreads)
Slang for a genre geared towards female readers which deal with modern issues in women's lives, often humorous and lighthearted. Although it often includes romantic elements, it is not considered a romance sub-genre because the heroines relationships with her family or friends are often just as important as her romantic relationship.
(Example: Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding, Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella)
Geared toward a child audience. Meant to be entertaining and often teaches a lesson.
(Example: Pop-up books, Picture books, Early Reader Stories)
Deals with climate change or global warming. May take place in present day or in the near future.
(Example: The Purchase of the North Pole by Jules Verne, The Wind From Nowhere by J. G. Ballard)
Tells about a series of funny/comical events, intended to make the audience laugh.
(Example: Satire, scandal, parody, sarcasm, romantic comedy)
Not mainstream fiction. Describes a daily reality familiar to many people. Meant to be entertaining, the writing is often times more pared-down and doesn't take many risks.
(Example: The Shining by Stephen King, Obsidian Butterfly by Laurell K. Hamilton)
About a crime that is being committed or was committed. It be an account of a criminals life.
(Example: Detective story, courtroom drama, murder mystery, legal thriller)
Nonfactual work that has a large following of loyal fans who are highly devoted. Often Cult fiction breaks new ground in some way. Perhaps the author uses a new narrative or brings up edgy issues. Some of the most esteemed Cult fiction may have been banned at one point.
(Example: Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)
The opposite of Utopia (which means Paradise). Hell on earth. Often takes place in a civilization that appears perfect on the surface but is bad underneath. Sometimes the corrupt existence is known but suppressed. Often discovered and changed by the main character.
(Example: Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Divergent by Veronica Roth)
Stories constructed as a series of letters exchanged between characters, diary or journal entries.
(Example: Star Trek, The Diary of Anne Frank, Anne Frank)
A short tale to teach a moral lesson, often with animals or inanimate objects as characters.
(Example: Tortoise and the Hare)
Fiction written by a fan of, and featuring characters from a particular TV series, movie, etc...
About magic, gods, heroes, monsters, nonhuman characters or supernatural forces, rather than technology. The plot cannot occur in the real world; often set in non-realistic worlds or in alternate versions of the historical world. Removed from reality.
(Example: Contemporary fantasy [present day], Urban fantasy, dark fantasy, fairy tales, epic/high fantasy, heroic, legends, myths)
Deals with traditional beliefs, customs, and stories of a community, passed through the generations by word of mouth.
(Example: Greek mythology, Roman mythology, Egyptian mythology)
An effective means to convey grief and pain to the audience through character, locations and style. Often linked with satire and tragic comedy.
(Example: Odyssey by Homer, Myths of Monsters)
Defined either by its setting or by the epic stature of its characters, themes and plot.
(Example: Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien)
Plot takes place sometime in the past, characterized by imaginative reconstruction of historical events or personage.
(Example: Biography, memoir, historical fiction)
Told to be frightening to the audience through suspense, violence or shock. Horror can be either supernatural or not.
(Example: Thriller, Gothic horror, dark poetry, supernatural)
Highlights people overcoming adversity or reaching new levels of understanding. Meant to uplift and entertain.
(Example: Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield)
LABORATORY LITERATURE/LAB LIT
Centers on realistic (as opposed to futuristic or speculative) portrayals of scientists and on science as a profession. Set in a realistic world.
(Example: Mendel's Dwarf by Simon Mawer, Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver)
A narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history. Usually takes place in short episodes.
(Example: Urban legend, adventures, folklore)
Any type of fiction that sells well. Novels that don't stick to the "traditional" rules of genres. These novels are done in big print runs and with a large advertising budget. Often they are very long. On the cover, a famous authors name may be in bigger print than the title. (Sometimes plausibility and careful editing will take a back seat)
(Example: authors Stephen King and James Patterson)
A story in which the detective investigates and/or solves a crime or series of crimes. The crime or other event may remain puzzling to the reader until the end of the story.
(Example: Crime stories, detective stories)
A story mocking the pretensions or weaknesses of a particular author, style, or genre.
(Examples: Bored of the Rings by Henry Beard, The Wind Done Gone by Alice Randall)
A story that imitates on or more established works, or consists of episodes of such works. Unlike Parody, Pastiche celebrates, rather than mocks, the work it imitates.
(Example: The British Museum is Falling Down by Lin Carter, Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley)
An episodically structured story featuring a rogue or an antihero in low social degree as the protagonist surviving by his/her wit in a corrupt society. Often humorous.
(Example: Don Quixote by Migel de Cervante Saavedra, Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut)
Set in a world or civilization after such a disaster that ruins the world. Focuses on how people change and evolve as time goes on. Sometimes will be many generations into the future.
(Example: The Walking Dead [T.V. Series], The Passage by Justin Cronin)
Primary focus on a relationship between two people. It must have an emotionally satisfying ending.
(Example: Romantic comedy, paranormal romance, historical romance)
A story that pokes fun at human shortcomings, such as arrogance, greed, and vanity.
(Example: Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift)
Dealing with imaginative content such as futuristic settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, time travel, parallel universes and extraterrestrial life.
(Example: Space travel, set on other planets, aliens)
A form of drama based on human suffering that invokes in its audience an accompanying sadness or pleasure in the viewing.
(Example: Greek, Roman, Renaissance, Western tragedy)
A story with a plot centering on a significant amount of travel.
(Example: On the Road by Jack Kerouac, Coasting by Jonathan Raban)
Stories set primarily in the later half of the 19th century in the American Old West.
(Example: Cowboy, pioneers, bandits)
I'm sure there are many more that I haven't listed here, but who has time to write them all. haha
I hope this was as helpful to you as it was to me. Sometimes, I still struggle to find the right home for my story, but with the ever-broadening genre types, I'm sure that there is such a place for my story.
If there is a genre you've noticed I missed, I would love to hear about it in my comments section!