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Writing- What is a Genre?

What is a genre?

“A category of artistic composition characterized by similarities in form, style or subject matter.”

There is Fiction- described as a fabricated short story or novel; that evolves around imaginary events and people. Fantasy, mystery, science-fiction, horror, romance, traditional literature, poetry and the list can go on and on.

Then there is Non-Fiction- based on fact, accurate information, such as biographies, self-help, periodicals, essay and memoirs.

Genre is an important element that adds and guides your story line. If you can imagine your genre, you can correctly place the reader in the perfect environment in their heads to imagine your story and follow along.

Writing a story is more than just words. Try to pin down your genre and add elements to make the story come alive in the readers imagination. When I mention farmhouse, cowboy, street smarts or jungle these words plant a seed that invokes a place, time, feeling and character. It will immediately start to paint a picture in the readers minds.

" She tossed her long, black locks aside with her hand as she looked up shyly from the corner of the coffeehouse."

In one sentence we have created the beginning of our story which the reader's mind works to fill in the blanks. A reader can assume many things from this sentence. Is she African? Is she really shy or is she coyly playing with someone in this coffeeshop? This woman is in a city because there is a coffeeshop, and why is she in the corner?

By identifying our genre, we can guide this story. Perhaps this is a villain woman who is waiting for her nemesis (Fantasy), or an alien woman (Sci-Fi), maybe she is a poor, lonely woman who just came to the city running from a checkered past.

Genre identification will guide this story and send readers on a trip into your story.

I write fiction novels that cross many genres, Urban, Drama, LGBTQ, Fantasy, Romance with a hint of reality. I enjoy mixing drama with tragedy, while relating to real life journeys. A juicy fictional drama should keep your eyes glued to the words on the pages while pushing you to the edge of your seat, waiting for the next tragedy to unfold; with a longing for the suffering hero to outwit the cunning villain that you love to hate.

Shakespeare was the master of this craft, “All the worlds a stage, and all the men and women merely players”. Now the new masters in include but not limited to, Harper Lee, Maya Angelou, Stephen King, Toni Morrison, Sister Souljah, Eric Jerome Dickey and many, many more. Each paving a path for many to follow while adding subdivisions of common elements of literature created from pure imagination.

Where would your book fit it?

  • There is great debate on exactly how many genres that truly exist to date, but it is said that amazon has over 16,000 different genres. Blend your own sub-genre, stand out and be noticed among the many novels available.

Author Theresa Elizabeth writes gritty, urban novels with a love story and always a twist. You can find her books on Amazon or her website at When she is not writing she enjoys spending time with her wife and children in Baltimore, MD.

Subscribe to her website to follow her blog which has advice for budding authors and the best books.

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