1.14 – Genres, Subgenres, & Genre Mashing


In this episode, I . . .

Give you a brief overview of genres, subgenres, and genre mashing.

-A genre is a category of fiction. (Adventure, romance, historical, western, women’s fiction, mystery, fantasy, science fiction, horror, picture books, etc.)
-There are genres, and then there are age groups or target audiences like children’s, middle grade, young adult, adult, women’s, men’s, etc. These categories are not technically genres but the audiences you are writing for. No matter how you set out to publish your book, you will need to choose a target audience and a genre.
-A subgenre is a subcategory within a particular genre. (Historical romance, epic fantasy, legal thriller, sports fiction, paranormal, cyberpunk, hard science fiction, urban fantasy, dystopian, etc.)
-All of this can get quite subjective depending on who you talk to. Different publishers have different ways of looking at genres. Some consider fantasy and science fiction to be separate supergenres of fiction, each with their own lists of subgenres. Others say they are both subgenres of the speculative fiction umbrella.
-Similar confusions arise within the mystery genre. Are mystery, suspense, and thrillers each their own supergenre? Or do the latter two fall under the mystery genre? Again, it depends on who you talk to and what your publication goals are. If you’re trying to sell your book to a publisher, simply decide which section of the bookstore it would be shelved in.
-Genre mashing—also known as genre mash-ups, cross genres, or hybrid genres—blend together themes or elements from two or more different genres. (Historical fantasy, magical realism, fantasy romance, sci-fi romance, sci-fi thriller, time travel, space opera, etc.)
-Some authors consistently write in a very specific cross genre. And some authors—who are loyal to their genre or subgenre—sometimes blend another genre into their plot or theme. An example of this would be an epic fantasy novelist writing a fantasy novel about an apocalypse, making the story a mash up of epic fantasy and the apocalyptic subgenre. The same author might write another fantasy novel in which there is a murder to solve by the end of the story, mashing epic fantasy with the mystery genre. This can be a fun way of writing outside your genre without actually doing so.
-My lists of genres were by no means exhaustive. I highlighted a few in each example. If you want to find more, google “list of genres or subgenres or genre mashing” and you’ll find huge lists online.

In the next video we’ll talk about how to choose a genre.

Keep on writing!