Exploring Fiction Genres

fiction genres for young writers

I’ve been hard at work completing the latest draft of my novel, so it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. Now that we’re back to school, I’m back to work and happy to be here in this space again! One of the key elements of great writing is understanding the genre you are writing in. My own novel started out as one genre (Chick Lit) and then evolved into an Urban Superhero Fantasy! Each genre has a specific style and certain characteristics that readers can easily identify, and so I had to go back and do some serious rewrites so I could give readers what they were expecting. Now my novel is an Urban Fantasy with a nod to Chick Lit. Frequently, writers combine genres to add unique elements to their work, and to challenge reader’s expectations. Today we’re exploring fiction genres, and we’ll start with the very basics that we’re most familiar with.

fiction genres for young writers

Sci-Fi

This fiction genre incorporates ideas about the future of science and technology. These stories sometimes take place in futuristic settings, or in outer space. They can also include time machines and space travel, aliens, mutations, epidemics, and new species. Sci-Fi novels sometimes take place in Utopian (everything is beautiful and wonderful) or Dystopian (everything is bleak and horrible) settings. The science in science fiction is usually plausible, which means that someday in the future, based on the knowledge we currently have, it might be possible.

Examples:
– Divergent
– The Hunger Games
– Dune
– The Martian
– Star Wars
– The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
– Jurassic Park

Fantasy

This genre includes stories that use magic, mythology, and the supernatural as key elements of plot. Vast, complex world creation is often a part of fantasy. It’s not unusual to see maps and family trees at the start of a fantasy novel. Magical creatures like mermaids, dragons, unicorns, fairies, etc. can also be elements of fantasy stories.

Examples:
– Harry Potter
– Percy Jackson
– The Lord of the Rings
– The Golden Compass

Thriller/Mystery

Fast-paced plots filled with cliffhangers characterize these genres, which are very similar. The protagonist (and the reader) must solve a puzzle or a crime, using clues and red herrings (clues that are meant to mislead you) that are left throughout the story. In a thriller, the protagonist faces an actual enemy, rather than just solves a crime.

Examples:
– I Know What You Did Last Summer
– Pretty Little Liars
– Christopher Pike novels

Realistic Fiction

This genre portrays real life scenarios with realistic characters in real life settings. Realistic fiction addresses the kinds of problems that readers might face in their own lives. Protagonists are typically from middle or lower class families, and are usually easy for readers to relate to. Realistic Fiction is typically narrated in the first person.

Examples:
– The Fault in Our Stars
– Wonder

Adventure

This genre typically places an ordinary protagonist in extraordinary circumstances. Adventure novels are a great example of ‘escapist’ reading, which opens up a whole new world for readers to escape to. Protagonists usually face great challenges, and extreme conflict, including man vs. nature or man vs. animal. The plot in an adventure story is fast-paced.

Examples:
– Alex Rider series
– Treasure Island

Paranormal

This genre involves unusual encounters or experiences that don’t have a scientific explanation. Think vampires, werewolves, ESP and other special abilities, ghosts, UFOs, monsters, witches, time travel and shape shifters.

Examples:
– The Twilight Series
– The Miss Peregrine Series

Historical

Historical fiction is set in the past, during a significant time in history. In this genre, the period of time is as important as the story itself. Characters are true-to-life and reflect the period in history they inhabit. Usually several classes of society are represented and historical novels can be based on actual historical events.

Examples:
– The Gemma Doyle trilogy (this is a historical fiction/fantasy)
– Salt to the Sea
– Seasons of the Sword books

What are your favorite fiction genres?

Who are your favorite writers in these genres? Leave us some recommendations in the comments section below!

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