What's My Genre?

pexels-photo-745708.jpeg

1. Read in your genre:

Don’t expect to know what your genre is if you don’t read. You’ll have a deeper sense of what your genre is when you make reading a priority. You may think your book is YA (ages 13 to 17), but the more you read in that genre, you realize you need to tone it down to MG (ages 8 to 12).

2. Know the ages:

Board books — babies — fewer than 300 words

Picture books — ages 4 to 8 — 500 to 700 words

Early readers — ages 5 to 9 — 3,000 to 5,000 words

Chapter books — ages 6 to 9 or 7 to 10 — Under 10,000 words

Middle Grade (MG) — ages 8 to 12 — 25,000 to 40,000 words

Young adult (YA) — ages 13 to 17 — Under 70,000 words (unless sci-fi/fantasy)

New adult (NA) — ages 18 to 24 — 60,000 to 80,000 words

3. Write down the key plot points in your own work

Once you thoroughly understand each genre, inspect your own work and write down 5–10 main points about it. Is it set in another world and has elements of magic? Does it involve violence, a crime, a murder? Is it a love story? Once you have noted all of these, then try to understand where the main focus lies, what drives the plot, and what the main characters’ interests and goals are. Once you understand what is most important about your book, you will have a better idea of which genre it fits into.

4. Dissenters

The dissenter is the person who believes that nothing I say applies to them because they’re an outside genre, whatever they deem that genre to be.

5. Find ten books whose readers will probably also like your book.

When you’re thinking about the audience for your book, you should be thinking, “My readers are people who love books such as _____, _____, and _____.” What are those books? Now, what genre are those books?

6. You don’t have to be pigeon-holed to one genre.

You could be a romance author and thriller author. Your book can be sci-fi and space opera.

7. Audience first, then genre.

If you can get your audience down, then you can start figuring out who your genre is. 

Fiction Genres (from Amazon):

●      Action & AdventureA genre of fiction in which action is the key element, overshadowing characters, theme and setting. … The conflict in an adventure story is often man against nature. A secondary plot that reinforces this kind of conflict is sometimes included. In Allistair MacLean’s Night Without End, for example, the hero, while investigating a mysterious Arctic air crash, also finds himself dealing with espionage, sabotage and murder.

■      Classics

■      Fantasy

■      Men's Adventure

■      Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

■      Romance

■      Science Fiction

●      The Maze Runner

■      Sea Adventures

●      Life of Pi

■      Short Stories

■      War & Military

■      Women's Adventure

●      African American (Ethnic Fiction) — Stories and novels whose central characters are black, Native American, Italian-American, Jewish, Appalachian or members of some other specific cultural group. Ethnic fiction usually deals with a protagonist caught between two conflicting ways of life: mainstream American culture and his ethnic heritage.

■      Christian

■      Dramas & Plays

■      Historical

●      The Help

■      Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

■      Poetry

■      Romance

■      Urban

■      Women's Fiction

●      Children’s Books — Any book written for a child. Age range will be the most important thing to pay attention as well as word count.

○      Action & Adventure

○      Activities, Crafts & Games

○      Animals

■      Goodnight, Moon

○      Arts, Music & Photography

○      Biographies

○      Cars, Trains & Things That Go

○      Children's Cookbooks

○      Classics

■      Goodnight, Moon

○      Comics & Graphic Novels

○      Computers & Technology

○      Early Learning

○      Education & Reference

○      Fairy Tales, Folk Tales & Myths

○      Geography & Cultures

○      Growing Up & Facts of Life

○      History

○      Holidays & Celebrations

○      Humor

■      Your Baby’s First Word Will Be DADA

○      Literature & Fiction

○      Mysteries & Detectives

○      Religions

○      Science Fiction & Fantasy

○      Science, Nature & How It Works

○      Sports & Outdoors

●      ContemporaryCreates imaginary characters and situations that depict our world and society. It focuses on themes of growing up and confronting personal and social problems. This genre portrays characters coming to understand themselves and others.

■      Action & Adventure

■      Christian

■      Coming of Age

■      Fantasy

■      Historical

■      Horror

■      Humor

■      LGBT

■      Mystery & Detective

■      Romance

■      Science Fiction

■      Short Stories

■      Thrillers & Suspense

■      War & Military

■      Women's Fiction

●      EroticaWhen sex is the basis of the conflict.

■      Action & Adventure

■      African American

■      BDSM

■      Collections & Anthologies

■      Fantasy

■      Historical

■      Horror

■      Humorous

■      Interracial

■      LGBT

■      Mystery

■      Paranormal

■      Poetry

■      Romantic

■      Science Fiction

■      Suspense

■      Thrillers

■      Urban

■      Victorian

■      Westerns

●      Genre (Commercial) Fiction — Commercial fiction, on the other hand, is faster paced, with a stronger plot line (more events, higher stakes, more dangerous situations). Characterization is generally not as central to the story. The theme is very obvious, and the language not as complex.

■      Absurdist

■      Animals

■      Biographical

■      Coming of Age

●      Water for Elephants

■      Epistolary

■      Family Life

■      Family Saga

■      Gay & Lesbian

■      Gothic

■      Historical

●      Military

○      Slaughterhouse Five

■      Holidays

■      Horror

●      The Stand

■      Mashups

■      Medical

■      Metaphysical & Visionary

■      Political

■      Religious & Inspirational

■      Satire

●      Where’d Ya Go, Bernadette?

■      Sea Stories

■      Small Town & Rural

●      The Help

■      Sports

■      TV, Movie, Video Game Adaptations

■      Urban Life

■      War

■      Westerns

●      Historical FictionHistorical fiction describes fictionalized stories that are set in the documented past. The details of the time and place are usually authentic and accurate and may contain actual historical figures. Other characters, including the protagonist, are often fictionalized. Historical fiction can be closely aligned with realistic fiction as the characters may be dealing with themes of growth and their place in society common in contemporary fiction.

■      African American

■      Alternate History

●      11/22/63

■      Biographical

■      Christian

■      Cultural Heritage

■      Fantasy

■      Jewish

●      Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

■      Military

■      Mysteries

■      Short Stories & Anthologies

■      Thrillers

●      Humor & Satire In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government, or society itself into improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be humorous, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit to draw attention to both particular and wider issues in society.

■      Dark Humor

●      Catch-22

■      Humorous

■      Satire

●      LiteraryEssentially, a novel written for smart people. It should have intellect, depth, strong characterization over plot, and an unforgettable style. Literary fiction is more apt to win awards solely for the writing itself.

■      Action & Adventure

■      Christian

■      Coming of Age

■      Fantasy

■      Historical

■      Horror

■      Humor

■      LGBT

■      Mystery & Detective

■      Romance

●      Wuthering Heights

■      Science Fiction

■      Short Stories

■      Thrillers & Suspense

■      War & Military

■      Women's Fiction

●      Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense

○      Mystery — Mystery novels emphasize plot. Usually, the protagonist is seeking an answer to a crime or to a mysterious event. Characteristics of this style of writing include suspense and a fast paced style.

■      African American

■      Amateur Sleuths

■      Anthologies

■      British Detectives

■      Cozy

■      Hard-Boiled

●      Edgar Allan Poe

●      Sherlock Holmes

●      Agatha Christie

■      Historical

■      International Mystery & Crime

■      Police Procedurals

■      Private Investigators

■      Reference

■      Supernatural

■      Women Sleuths

○      Thrillers & Suspense — A novel intended to arouse feelings of excitement or suspense. Works in this genre are highly sensational, usually focusing on illegal activities, international espionage, sex and violence. A thriller is often a detective story in which the forces of good are pitted against the forces of evil in a kill-or-be-killed situation.

■      Crime

●      Heist

●      Kidnapping

○      Gone Girl

●      Murder

○      Gone Girl

●      Organized Crime

●      Serial Killers

●      Vigilante Justice

■      Financial

■      Historical

■      Legal

■      Medical

■      Military

■      Psychological Thrillers

■      Spies & Politics

■      Supernatural

■      Suspense

●      The Girl on the Train

■      Technothrillers

●      The Circle

●      Romance Novels of this type of genre fiction place their primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and must have an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.

○      Action & Adventure

○      African American

○      Anthologies

○      Clean & Wholesome

○      Contemporary

■      The Girl on the Train

○      Erotica

○      Fantasy

○      Gay Romance

○      Gothic

○      Historical

■      20th Century

●      Water for Elephants

○      Holidays

■      Fifty Shades of Grey

○      Inspirational

○      Lesbian Romance

○      Military

○      Multicultural

○      New Adult & College

○      Paranormal

○      Regency

○      Romantic Comedy

○      Romantic Suspense

○      Science Fiction

○      Sports

○      Time Travel

○      Vampires

○      Western

○      Writing

○      Werewolves & Shifters

●      Science Fiction & Fantasy

○      Fantasy — Fantasy tells imaginary tales of make believe lands, creatures and people. Magic is often a major facet in fantasy and readers must willingly enter the writer’s realm to understand this other world. Fantasy will usually develop characters who wrestle with the nature of good and evil. Many of the themes of fantasy can be reflected in the contemporary genre but the setting and the characters extend beyond the confined of realistic fiction.

■      Action & Adventure

■      Alternate History

■      Anthologies

■      Arthurian

■      Coming of Age

■      Dark

■      Dragons & Mythical Creatures

■      Epic

●      Watership Down

■      Gaslamp

■      Historical

■      History & Criticism

■      Humorous

■      Magical Realism

■      Military

■      Myths & Legends

■      New Adult & College

■      Paranormal & Urban

■      Romantic

■      Superheroes

■      Sword & Sorcery

●      A Game of Thrones

○      Gaming

○      Science Fiction — Science fiction describes futuristic settings, settings based in outer space, different worlds or dimensions that are often based upon existing or fictionalized scientific principles. It is not wholly based upon imagination as is the fantasy genre.

■      Adventure

■      Alien Invasion

●      War of the Worlds

■      Alternate History

■      Anthologies

■      Colonization

■      Cyberpunk

■      Dystopian

■      Exploration

■      First Contact

■      Galactic Empire

■      Genetic Engineering

■      Hard Science Fiction

■      History & Criticism

■      Humorous

■      Military

■      Post-Apocalyptic

●      The Stand

■      Short Stories

■      Space Opera

●      Dune

■      Steampunk

■      Time Travel

■      Writing

●      Teen & Young Adult Subject matters and the genres of YA correlate with the "age and experience" of the protagonist and subsequent supporting characters. The genres available in YA are expansive and similar to those found in adult fiction. Common themes related to YA include: friendship, first love, relationships, and identity. Stories that focus on the specific challenges of youth are sometimes referred to as problem novels or coming-of-age novels.

○      Art, Music & Photography

○      Biographies

○      Education & Reference

○      Historical Fiction

■      Fever 1793

○      Hobbies & Games

○      Literature & Fiction

■      Boys and Men

●      The Maze Runner

○      Mysteries & Thrillers

○      Personal Health

○      Religion & Spirituality

○      Romance

■      Clean & Wholesome

■      Contemporary

■      Fantasy

■      Historical

■      LGBT

■      Mysteries & Thrillers

■      Paranormal

■      Romantic Comedy

■      Science Fiction & Dystopian

●      The Hunger Games

○      Science Fiction & Fantasy

■      Action & Adventure

■      Aliens

■      Dystopian

■      Space Opera

■      Steampunk

■      Time Travel

○      Social Issues

■      The Maze Runner

■      The Fault in Our Stars

○      Sports & Outdoors

●      Women’s Fiction Although similar to romance, the difference lies in understanding the female psyche. The heroine should be the central focus.

■      African American

■      Contemporary Women

●      Fifty Shades of Grey

■      Divorce

■      Domestic Life

●      Where’d Ya Go, Bernadette?

■      Friendship

■      Mothers & Children

●      Where’d Ya Go, Bernadette?

■      Single Women

■      Sisters


Yukon Writers Society Logo-Circle.png

The Yukon Writers’ Society is an encouraging, supportive group for fiction writers in Yukon, Oklahoma. They meet biweekly on Thursdays to embrace accountability, to learn more about the craft of writing, and to help group members start and finish their books. The Yukon Writers’ Society was founded in 2016 and provides free meetings for its members. Their group anthology, Shivers in the Night, was published in April 2018.