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How to Write in a Genre

Examples of genres are:

  • Horror
    • It by Stephen King
    • Carrie by Stephen King
    • Hell House by Richard Matheson
      • Horror has the capacity to frighten, scare, disgust or startle its readers by enticing feelings of horror or terror.
  • Romance
    • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
    • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
    • The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
      • Romance novels focus on the romantic love between two people and must have a happy ending.
  • Fantasy
    • Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
    • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
    • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
      • There needs to be a magic system, a well-developed setting, complex characters, a central conflict and a power structure or system of government.
  • Science Fiction
    • Dune by Frank Herbert
    • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
    • Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge
      • Involves advanced science, advanced technology, spaceflight, time travel and aliens.
  • Crime
    • The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
    • The Last London Gangster by S. Fowler Wright
    • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
      • Crime novels fictionalizes crimes and their deduction, the criminals and the criminal’s motives.

The story you are writing absolutely must dictate your choice. You shouldn’t have to spell it out. If you chose to write a crime novel, then the readers must know that it is a crime.

If you combine two genres, one of them must be the primary genre. If you’re writing a crime story with romance mixed in, make sure that the crime is the main genre, but if the story is a romance with crime mixed in, the romance has to be the main genre. You need to know which genre is the main genre and stick to it.

Know the expectations for the genre. The readers know the genre and they have expectations and if the story doesn’t meet their expectations, they’ll feel cheated.

Write what you love and are passionate about. Don’t write what you think will sell, because if you do, there is a chance that it won’t be as heartfelt as the story you want to write.