A list popular of Genres and why they matter despite what you believe

(This photo by @aznbokchoy was chosen because I love abstract art and bright colours. Lucas’s ink experiments are beautiful and mesmerising. The colour also complements the colour of this blog.)

I have a love/hate relationship with genres because I want to be unconventional, break out from (any) constraint’s, be free (man!), and create art.

Jeeez. What was I thinking?

I believe many new writers think like this. They want to create Art with a capital A and damn everyone who doesn’t understand them.

My second reason for hating genre, is I never read any of it. In fact, I barely read anything at all. I used to read the newspaper everyday, that’s about it. So genre is not part of my modus operandi. Let me stress that again: Genre is alien to me. Granted, I knew what Genre was (the broad strokes of Romance, Horror, Crime, Fantasy, Sci-fi etc) but challenge me on what important scenes fall into these and I will crumble in front of you.

Reading in the genre you want to write about puts you into a huge advantage that people like me don’t have. I have to learn the genre first and I don’t have time to read all the books. Nope. I’ll just skip ahead to the guide and obligatory scenes and fake it until I make it.

So, why this (bigish) list of Genres? It’s a handy reference for me, and maybe you. Maybe you, like me, didn’t know about all the sub genre’s of Crime or Thriller for example? Now you can inform yourself, before throwing the rules out of the window for a few years until someone questions you about it.

For me, I know I need a writing framework to stick to. Picking a genre does just that. It’s a beautiful scaffolding with which to start building my unique story. And, if I stick to it, it ensure’s that readers will feel confident enough to give it a go. Without a clear genre stated, you’ll probably really struggle to gain any momentum.

Consume, question, and enjoy.

(If you want to learn more about Genre’s and why they’re important, you should head over to the Story Grid and read the full article there. I just cherry-picked the ones relevant to me.)

Action

1. Action Adventure/Man Against Nature Stories: Labyrinth, Monster, Environment, Doomsday.
2. Action Epic/Man Against the State Stories: Rebellion, Conspiracy, Vigilante, Saviour, Collision
3. Action Duel/Man Against Man Stories: Revenge, Hunted, Machiavellian
4. Action Clock/Man Against Time: Ransom, Countdown, Holdout, Fate

Crime

1. Murder Mystery
2. Organized Crime
3. Caper (offshoot of Organised Crime)
4. Courtroom
5. Newsroom
6. Espionage
7. Prison

Thriller

1. Serial Killer: police/FBI/PI as hero/victim
2. Legal: lawyer/judge as hero/victim
3. Medical: doctor/nurse/researcher as hero/victim
4. Military: soldier as hero/victim
5. Political: everyman/politician/gangster as hero/victim
6. Journalism: journalist as hero/victim
7. Psychological: Is he/she crazy?
8. Financial
9. Espionage: spy as hero/victim
10. Woman in Jeopardy: woman as hero/victim
11. Child in Jeopardy: child as hero/victim
12. Hitchcock: Wrong man as hero/victim

Society (concerns)

1. Domestic
2. Woman’s concerns
3. Political
4. Biographical
5. Historical

Love

1. Courtship
2. Marriage
3. Obsession

Fantasy

1. Epic
2. Low
3. Magical Realism
4. Dark
5. Sci-Fi
6. Dystopian
7. Fables
8. Fairy Tales

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