Genre is a style or category of art, music, or literature. As an author, genre control what you write and how you write it. It describes the style and focus of the novel you write. Genres give you blueprints for different types of stories. There are general rules to follow, for example, manuscript length, character types, settings, themes, and plots. For instance, certain settings suit specific genres. These vary in type, details, intensity, and length of description. There are often sub-genres within genres, for example, a fantasy story with sinister, frightening elements would belong to the dark fantasy sub-genre.
Genres reflect trends in society and they evolve when writers push the boundaries. Readers ultimately decide if the experiment has worked by buying these books. The most important part of genre fiction, though, is that it fulfils our human need for good old-fashioned storytelling. We sometimes need stories we can rely on to blunt the harsh realities of life.
1. Romance. These stories are about a romantic relationship between two people. They are characterised by sensual tension, desire, and idealism. The author keeps the two apart for most of the novel, but they do eventually end up together. There are many sub-genres, including paranormal, historical, contemporary, category, fantasy, and gothic.
2. Suspense/Thriller. A character in jeopardy dominates these stories. This genre involves pursuit and escape. There are one or more ‘dark’ characters that the protagonist must escape from, fight against, or best in the story. The threats to the protagonist can be physical or psychological, or both. The setting is integral to the plot. A Techno Thriller is a sub-genre.
3. Literary Fiction. This genre focuses on the human condition and it is more concerned with the inner lives of characters and themes than plot. Literary fiction is difficult to sell and continues to decline in popularity.
4. Speculative Fiction. These stories are created in worlds unlike our real world in certain important ways. This genre usually overlaps one or more of the following: science fiction, fantasy fiction, horror fiction, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history.
5. Historical. These fictional stories take place against factual historical backdrops. Important historical figures are portrayed as fictional characters. Historical Romance is a sub-genre that involves a conflicted love relationship in a factual historical setting.
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