by Cindy Francois
As I worked through this final post (my internship ends at the end of the month), whose topic – in case the title didn’t give it away – is knowing the genre of your book, I found myself overwhelmed by choices I’m certain did not exist a year ago (Nanopunk anyone?). While I’m sure my list is by no means exhaustive, I ended my search at 29 genres of fiction, with 67 subgenres between them. For those reasons – and because I’ve about 500 words to work with here – I decided to simply list the more visible of the fiction genres and subgenres; I hope you find the information useful. The list of course is merely a guideline, which you should adhere to conceptually but that in no way should hinder your writing. After all, a good story will always be retold; it is in the retelling that we seduce a new audience.
As you consider your novel for an agent’s review, remember that a main criterion for any reader is to be so immersed in the story that your novel is impossible to put down. At the risk of calling forth the narcissist in every writer, and irrespective of how subjective evaluations can be, how seductive is your novel? How often does a particular scene take you back, leaving you grinning like a possum on the A train while the old woman across the way glares at you? When was the last time you showed your writing to a friend who in the midst of reading uttered a sigh, or a giggle, or god forbid shushed you when you asked which part they were responding to? As I mentioned in my last post, YOU are your novel’s first sales agent, so absolutely find it the right representation. Knowing what you’re working with is half the battle.
- Absurdist fiction
- Adventure novel (including epic, imaginary voyage, lost world, and sea story)
- Chapter books (for intermediate readers aged 7-10)
- Christian fiction
- Comic novel (including black comedy, parody, romantic comedy, and satire)
- Erotic fiction
- Experimental fiction
- Fantasy (including comic fantasy, dark fantasy, contemporary fantasy, epic fantasy, heroic fantasy, historical fantasy, magic realism, medieval fantasy, mythic fantasy, paranormal fantasy/romance, superhero fantasy, sword and sorcery, and urban fantasy)
- GLBT fiction
- Historical fiction
- Literary fiction
- Middle Grade fiction (for readers 8-12 years old)
- Mystery (including amateur detective, cozy mystery, crime scene investigation, forensics, legal drama, medical mystery, political intrigue)
- New Adult fiction (main character is in their early 20s and dealing with new adult life issues, including leaving home, developing sexuality, and career moves)
- Picture book (text usually <1000 words accompanied by illustrations)
- Pulp fiction
- Religious fiction
- Romance (including contemporary, historical, paranormal)
- Science Fiction (including alien invasion, alternate universe, dystopian, hard/soft science fiction, military, post-apocalyptic, punk, and scientific romance)
- Speculative fiction (including ghost stories, gothic fiction, horror, monster literature, and occult detective)
- Thriller (including crime, erotic, environmental, political, psychological)
- Urban fiction
- Women’s fiction
- Young Adult Fiction (for readers 12-17+)
To close, I’d like to say a tremendous Thank You to Linda for these last months, including for the opportunity to connect with you all! I wish you the best of luck!
Cindy Francois interns for Linda Epstein (the eponymous blabbermouth).