Identifying Sub-Genres

Supernatural science fiction? Paranormal romance? Young adult something-or-other?

Identifying the proper sub-genre (or even genre) is beyond my current powers. For now, I’m resisting the urge to try.

What I called “my supernatural science fiction novel” in my previous post is RITN until I’m ready to share the full title.

If you’re braver or simply more intelligent than I, feel free to read through Writer’s Digest “Sub-Genre Descriptions” for an excellent (though still confusing) breakdown of romance, horror, thriller/suspense, science fiction/fantasy, and mystery/crime.

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6 thoughts on “Identifying Sub-Genres

  1. I find it hard to find a genre for what I write. First off, it is all quite different, but even each piece is an amalgamation of so much. The novel I am currently querying could be speculative fiction,but I fear that implies something it is not. I have gone with mainstream. I think for now, that is the right choice…

    1. Jennifer, while publishers ask for the genre or sub-genre, all they want is the author’s preference, right?

      Best of luck on your querying!

  2. It almost sounds as ambiguous as a Haruki Murakami book. I recommend you stick with something extremely generic so you can cover a wide variety of demographics. Then when people ask you about it you can respond with something pretentious like “My novel transcends your ludicrous genres. I’d appreciate if you would stop attempting to confine my masterpiece in your belittling categories.”

  3. I had to laugh, deathinfrance. Possibly, you dislike Murakami and think I should understand my novel enough to identify its genre. Regardless, you compared me to a renowned author and assumed people outside of my social circles would care. Very sweet.

    I don’t mind if someone confines my work in a marketing category, especially if it’s a publisher who’ll pay me, but I don’t see the categories as clear-cut.

    For example, Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files can fit into every one of the genres shown at Writer’s Digest, however loosely in Romance. Stores stack those books in Sci-Fi/Fantasy, some critics call them Horror, they are about a detective solving world-shattering cases, and some readers were hooked into the series by the potential romance between Harry Dresden and Karrin Murphy. If you’ve read any of the Dresden novels, can you argue that it belongs in a single sub-genre?

    Come to think of it, I wonder how Mr. Butcher described the series before it sold.

  4. I’m very glad I could make you laugh Ann. Mission accomplished!

    Though, I could never dislike Murakami, his work is too enjoyable. I find it hard to give a clear synopsis of his books, much like you & Mr. Butcher. I’m reduced to stammering on about subplot & minor characters.

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