The Different Genres In Fiction

By on May 15, 2016
The Different Genres In Fiction - Writer's

Understanding the different genres in fiction can be very helpful to writers. In fact, before you begin your book it is a good idea to think about what genre your story fits into. Once you know, doing thorough research into that genre, its characteristics, sets of rules, and the kind of audience that enjoys reading it, will all help to inform and develop your story.

So with that in mind, let’s take a look at the main different genres in fiction, and the typical conventions within them.


Mystery is one of the most popular genres in fiction, and has a well established audience. Mystery novels tend to be closely linked to crime novels - the main plot usually focusing on a crime, disappearance or murder. The story keeps the reader guessing with several suspects, and usually a climax where the crime is solved with a twist at the end.

There are a huge number of mystery writers events including conventions, and conferences - if you are hoping to write a mystery get in contact with Mystery Writers of America who provide a wealth of information about the genre.


Romance novels are another massively popular genre, usually aimed at women, this genre is all about highs and lows of love.

The story usually revolves around two main characters and the development of their romantic relationship. It involves struggle and sacrifice and leaves the audience wondering whether the pair will end up together at the end of the story.

Romance novels can include elements of mystery, fantasy, and suspense. Contact Romance Writers of America for more information.

Science fiction/fantasy

Science fiction/fantasy novels are usually set in times and places that we are not familiar with. These make believe worlds often have whole races and landscapes that have no connection to the real world.

They are hugely imaginative, though often include characters who struggle with the same problems the human race does, be that in a political, cultural or emotional sense.

If you are hoping to write a science fiction or fantasy novel contact the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America for a wealth of information to help you.


Suspense novels and thrillers are action packed page turners which keep the reader on the edge of their seat throughout.

A thriller or suspense novel usually follows a main heroic protagonist pitted against a villain and the plot is a race against time to overpower them before something disastrous happens.


Horror novels are unashamedly gory, terrifying and aim to not only scare the readers but leave them with a harrowing feeling after they finish the book.

Horror novels can be set around bloody, gruesome murders or can be chilling ghost stories. All of them aim to resonate with readers own fears whether they are real or supernatural, conscious or unconscious.

Young Adult

Young Adult novels have become increasingly popular in the past few decades. This genre typically follows a hero or heroine aged between 11-16 who not only has to overcome huge obstacles but learns and develops emotionally over the course of the novel.

Naturally these books are aimed at young adult readers, however their exciting plot lines and imaginative worlds can easily see many older readers getting hooked on them too.

Finding the genre your novel fits into is so important. Once you know where your story sits you can use the conventions of the genre to shape and develop it, ensure that it appeals to that genres readership, and have a better chance of successfully pitching it to publishers and agents once you are finished!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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