Fiction Writing Genres Explained

Mainstream? Young Adult? Mystery? Literary? Romance? Science Fiction? Is your head spinning yet?

So many genres. So little time. But defining the different genres helps examine what type of book you’d prefer writing.

You can also look at the issue from the other side of the business. Each book publisher has a different set of needs. Unfortunately, many writers waste their time and postage sending their manuscripts and queries to the wrong publisher.

Not to say that you don’t know the difference between Romance and Mystery. It’s just that each definition covers a broad scope. By re-examining the publisher’s needs as well as the genre you’re submitting, avoiding the slush pile just became a little easier.

Use these genre explanations to help you write the next bestseller:

Mainstream
This type of novel is basically for a wide audience rather than targeting a specific reader like Romance. You could include coming-of-age, courtroom dramas, feminist novels and subjects dealing with physical or psychological problems in this category.

Science Fiction
Step into the future. What would life be like if we all lived on Mars? What if test tube babies ruled the world? Are aliens real and living in Wyoming? Writing Sci-Fi is your chance to place science, technology and theories into our future.

Fantasy
If you prefer writing about dragons, witches and sorcerers, then Fantasy is right up your alley. This genre consists of a world of magic or alternate worlds.

Literary
Agents and publishers typically refer to Literary works as avant-garde and experimental. You’ll also find classic styles brought back to life also qualify.

Erotic
As you probably guessed, this type is specifically about sex. Within this category you can go down the list of sexual preferences and further divide this genre into hard or soft core.