Reading · Writing

What’s your genre?

This is a sort of a defining question, isn’t it? Much like a nosy person asking another about their type. Do you like them hot and sizzling like a summer Romance? Or do you like them dark and broody like a sinister Mystery? Or maybe you prefer the thrilling company of an Adventure, or the wit of a Comedy, or even the fun derived from a good old-fashioned Chick Lit.

Your choice in genre indirectly affects the way you appear to others. There are many people who tend to draw assumptions from the kind of genre you read or write. If you write fantasy, you must be out of sync with reality. If you write horror novels, you must have a mean streak. If you write erotica, you must be a perverted human being. If you write sci-fi, you must be a nerd… and so on. But what if someone wrote for more than one genre? Does that make them unstable?

Mwa ha ha!
Mwa ha ha!

I remember when I was younger I only wanted to read and write horror novels and murder mysteries. The Goosebumps and Fear Street books by R. L. Stine were a constant companion and inspiration to me. I actually had my own series – dubbed Screams of Terror – planned out and wrote like five or six books, each filled with murders and deaths more gruesome than the last. My friends called me an evil mastermind and told me they’ll be sure to stay on my good side forever. I was that devious. But then that sorta petered out and I stopped writing these things altogether.

My next piece of original fiction (The Muse Bunny) fell under magical realism. I actually did not know that that was my genre at the time; it took me a while before I finally realised that magical realism fit the most. Puppet Parade is definitely fantasy… though what kind, I really do not know. My current WIP (Penny For Your Dreams) is something entirely different; I’m writing a sci-fi chick lit. Yes, that is actually a thing, and I love it… even though it’s giving me a lot of trouble these days. Let’s just say I’ve never done so many rewrites before in my life, and it’s not boding well with me. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I know many writers tend to keep to a single genre, and I can see the logic behind that. How can one build a proper fan base if the readers don’t know what they can expect from you, right? Personally, however, I enjoy the variety. I like not being in a monogamous relationship with a single genre; it allows me to experiment with my writing and feel free to try out whichever plot tickles my fancy. Today it might be sci-fi chick lit, the next might just be a simple drama.

The same goes to the books I read. When I go to a bookshop I don’t seek out a specific genre. If it has an interesting plot, I’m game. I’ve managed to come across many wonderful books that way. However, I do tend to stay as far away as possible from historical fiction and erotica; those are just no my cup of tea.

Are you a one-genre kind of person, or do you like to dabble in more than one? If you write for different genres, which one do you like best, and which one are you dealing with right now? ๐Ÿ™‚

Also, an image I thought might be helpful:


29 thoughts on “What’s your genre?

  1. Are there elements of fantastical things?

    > Do you even have to ask?

    You are set in the future. There are killer robots and/or you are in a dystopian society

    > They make books like that?

    Have you fallen in love with a magical creature/being or are they helping you save the world

    > Neither


    At the moment I usually read and write science fiction, but I sometimes read crime and fantasy novels as well. As far as writing goes, I can’t see myself moving far from SF any time soon: I don’t know why, but I just seem to prefer it.

    1. Ahaha, well, I guess that flowchart doesn’t work for everyone! Sci-fi is a genre I never thought I would be interested in, then I started watching Star Trek and reading books like Ender’s Game, and I’m now seeing it in a whole new light. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Right now I’m primarily just one genre, erotica, but I’m trying to expand! In terms of reading, though, I tend towards science-fiction.

    1. Sci-fi is interesting to read! Have you tried Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card? It’s the one book that made me realise just how awesome sci-fi books can be.

  3. I have lofty ambitions to write philosophical novels and long connected short stories about existential angst with humorous pokes at modern culture, yet end up mostly writing meaningless erotica and contemporary romance. Oh well. I also have a vague outline for a murder mystery type thing, but that will go nowhere.

    1. I think you should try your hand at philosophical novels. They can be really awesome if done right. Maybe you could read similar books for inspiration, maybe Jostein Gaarder’s books for example?

  4. I prefer to read thrillers, but I also read literary fiction and mysteries, though I stay away from romance and heavy sci-fi. As for writing, I see myself sticking with thrillers. I like the pacing and the plot-heavy feel to them. That being said, I’d love to give writing a horror novel a shot; something to make people keep the light on at night. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Like you, I always stayed away from romance and sci-fi. Still not approaching romance, but I did try Ender’s Game last year and liked it, so I’m venturing further into sci-fi now! And you should try to write one. You never know, you might end up really liking it. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Oh, and glad you like it!

  5. I feel like I’m more like you. I could never stick to one genre! My first novel was a horror – a vampire novel, that I planned to make into a series. But since then I’ve done sci-fi, fantasy, romance…all over the place! And I love writing different things! I love trying different characters and settings and jumping from one to the other. I’m the same with books. I can’t stick to just horror or just fantasy or whatever, and I’m constantly looking out for something new. Why stick to one? A bit of diversity never hurt anyone.

    1. That’s some coincidence – my first novel was a vampire one and I had planned to make it into a series too! I only managed to write two books, haha. And I agree – diversity is quite awesome and adds a refreshing spin to things. ๐Ÿ˜€

      1. I’d still like to return to it one day, but every time I start rewriting it I just lose the motivation a few chapters in and stop. Which is a shame, because I have some ideas for later novels that I really like. I just can’t seem to get past certain points. Even when I’ve almost reached the end, I just…stop. I’m always surprised it’s the one I finished when I was fifteen ๐Ÿ˜›

        1. I know what you mean. xD And I think writing at a younger age is rather easier because at that time we weren’t as meticulous and didn’t worry about being too cheesy and flowery with our writing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. I love most genre’s as a reader with the exception of thrillers, they don’t sit very well with me because the characters seem to always be cliched and shallow. But if it’s mixed in with another genre, bingo! I like it. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I don’t feel that authors should have to restrict themselves to one genre at all, in fact, I find it admirable when they try something different. It’s bound to get boring if you always stick to the same genre, so I say go for it girrrrrrrrlllll, and good luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I understand what you mean about characters in thrillers. There are some rare gems among them, though!
      And I’m glad you think so. =D Thanks, Becky!

  7. I don’t know if I’ll stick to the type of book I’m writing or not. I like all fiction. I even like horror, but I don’t read it because it scares me.

    I changed my blurb at Amazon to tell more generally what my books are about and to reflect that my books cross genres of chick-lit, mystery, romance, humor, and action. I think that’s been helping people to realize they aren’t getting a typical mystery or romance or action book.

    Genres. They can be tough to define.

    1. Genres are definitely tough to define, and I think I need to change my blurb at Amazon as well. Today I had someone saying that they didn’t like the book much because it was a sort of a fairy tale, which is not their cup of tea. Maybe if my genres had been a bit more clear they wouldn’t have picked it up. =/

  8. I am an avid reader of historical romance and historical fiction. I find that love stories in a different time and a different culture speak to me a little more than the vampire romances and sexually driven bondage stories of today. I like to have characters that I relate to and care for. I must recommend my most recent find, “Shanghai Love” by author Layne Wong (( The main character, Peilin, is a woman of honor and tradition. She is betrothed to marry a man but he is killed before her wedding. Bound by duty she takes his name and adopts his family as her own. A young, vibrant character, married to a ghost and stuck in what seems to be a hopeless situation. The story takes place in World War 2 and brings Peilin to Shanghai to look after her deceased husband’s family herbal medicine shop. She is introduced to a new world and new people. Shanghai is also Henri’s destination as he has graduated from medical school as Hitler is rising to power. The young Jewish refugee soon meets Peilin and you can guess what happens from there! It’s beautifully written and allows some time for their relationship to grow and develop. You really want these two to end up together and be happy ๐Ÿ™‚ I recommend it to any chick-lit, romance, historical fiction or historical romance lovers out there

    1. That sounds like an interesting book! I just looked it up and saw that it was only published this month. I wish they offered it as an eBook, because ordering paperbacks from Amazon is just too expensive for me. =[

  9. I don’t think I can can categorise myself into one genre. It’s not me being indecisive, it’s just that there are many elements from many genres that I want to include in my stories for them to come alive.

    I can’t write fantasy without referring it somehow to real life (or including real-life issues in it), and I can’t write children stories without including grown-up themes in the mix (so that adults don’t get bored reading the story to their kids).

    We live in a world where everything affects everything. Nothing can exist in a vacuum. Sticking to the conventions of a genre makes the story occur in a vacuum of sorts. I’m not saying that this vacuum is bad, it’s not like it even really exists. It is just how I feel about writing stories.

    My (ugh…) main genre would probably be fantasy, but I do want to write real-life drama as well. What I hope for, if I eventually get published (hopefully), is that I don’t get stuck doing one thing that people expect from me. I want to be able to experiment with everything!… Well, maybe not erotica… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Ack. Oh dear. I’m so sorry. I must’ve missed this comment before.

      I feel the same way! Each genre has so much to offer, and I don’t feel like I can limit myself to just one and be deprived from all the rest.
      And I think that’s the best kind of fantasy. Personally I feel that “pure” fantasy falls flat.
      Definitely no erotica from my side either. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Well, some writers tend to do that! For example, Stephen King only writes horror, and Sophie Kinsella sticks to chick lit. I guess some people find their niche and stick to it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. I’m writing a mature heroic fantasy novel, planning a YA sci-fi novel, and writing horror and literary short stories on the side. I think versatility is important to being a successful writer; granted, you don’t always need it, but it certainly can’t hurt.

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