Saturday, February 18, 2012

Picking a Genre

Earlier in the week I posted how it seems that many more writing oriented websites are written by women than men. Trolling around the writing blogoverse I've also noticed that there seems to be a heck of a lot of writers who call their work "young adult". This got me thinking about a few posts I've read recently that discuss what constitutes young adult fiction, including a post by our friends at BookEnds, LLC.

Check out the Genre Map at Book Country
Check out the Genre Map at Book Country
Personally, I've always thought that what defines a genre is composed of two parts, what you're writing and who you're writing it for. Young adult happens to be one of the genres that's defined mostly by target audience. It's true that the protagonists are usually under 20 y.o. but there are plenty of works outside the genre that fit that criterion. That's quite a bit different than science fiction or fantasy which are defined almost entirely by certain plot elements. Then there are the huge anomalous genres like "commercial fiction" which seems to be made of any book that has a chance of selling to a broad audience base.

I call the manuscript I'm currently working on "fantasy". That seems easy enough but then there are at least 12 sub-genres that many agents use to specify what kind of fantasy manuscripts they're interested in. Mine isn't urban fantasy (having classic fantasy plot elements and characters but set in an actual modern setting) or dark fantasy (just like it sounds) but instead probably falls into the realm of epic fantasy (aka high fantasy), which is cool but is also sound just a little pompous if you ask me.

What do you call your story?


  1. I've thought about this, too. While I have written science fiction and fantasy, narrowing it down to specifics would be most helpful if interested parties made those sub-genres known. Awesome post!

    I gave you a Shout-Out on my blog today, just so you know. :)


Love to get comments!!!