Literary Liaisons

A blog about writing and all things story…

Confused About Genre Definitions?

I was recently asked how to define the fiction genre of thriller and then again about the romance genre.        We often get confused about what genre our stories serve best. Some are too close to call like a mystery that borders thriller or a fantasy sci-fi romance. However, unlike Juan Pablo on last night’s Bachelor, where he

NOW THAT'S SOME FICTION!

NOW THAT’S SOME FICTION!

proved that he, too, needs a little reminder, most of us know but just need a little reminder about where the fuzzy lines are drawn.   

Romance:  Excerpt from Agent Query

Romance is a specific fiction genre in which the central conflict revolves around the love story between a man and a woman. The settings are often exotic. The characters are regal and glamorous. And the ensuing story is inevitably dramatic—even melodramatic. Furthermore, writing style aids the passion of the climactic conflicts and events, and catapults the reader through a gratifying romantic fantasy. And a happily ever-after ending is requisite.

If you didn’t intentionally set out to write a romance novel, it’s probably not a romance. There are specific publishing houses dedicated to the publication of this genre, as well as agents who specialize in the sale of these novels. Subgenres include contemporary, suspense, time-travel, futuristic, paranormal, Western, historical, regency, and gothic romance. Romance is also a member of the general grouping of “genre fiction,” “mainstream fiction,” “mass market fiction,” “category fiction,” and “mass market” fiction.

Thriller/Suspense: Excerpt from Agent Query

The dramatic conflicts of thrillers/suspense are fraught with peril: a life-threatening danger that jeopardizes the protagonist, his or her loved ones, or even the whole world. The stakes are often large—death and destruction to lives, the downfall of an entire nation, an ecological disaster. However, thrillers can also simply portray riveting psychological tension between two opposing characters. Thrillers and suspense fiction are paired together because thrillers often utilize suspense elements in the development of the story—evil lurking just around the corner that motivates the protagonist to hunt down and capture the villain-at-large.

Although both thrillers and mysteries often involve the protagonist solving a crime and bringing bad guys to justice, the central conflict of thrillers/suspense focuses on developing an urgent sense of imminent jeopardy rather than solving a mystery or the detection of a crime. Thriller/suspense protagonists must win at all costs against a menacing, pernicious threat—or else things are going from bad to worse, and fast. Subgenres include psychological, supernatural, military, espionage, political, medical, legal, erotic and literary thrillers. Thriller/suspense is also included in the general grouping of “genre fiction,” “category fiction,” “mainstream” fiction,” or “mass market fiction.”

To view a full list of genre definitions please visit Agent Query. So hopefully that helps you out. But as for that Juan Pablo… he’s on his own.

 

Advertisements

2 comments on “Confused About Genre Definitions?

  1. Roxana Arama
    March 12, 2014

    Reading this, I realized I didn’t really know what those terms meant. To the point and useful – thanks, Mindy!

    • Mindy
      March 12, 2014

      It’s funny how many writers don’t think about genre until they’re finished writing a novel and then must decide, when if you consider it first it saves a lot of time. But, to me, sometimes, it doesn’t matter if it’s a good story, it’s a good story, regardless of what genre you squeeze it into. See you Friday?

Comments are closed.

Information

This entry was posted on March 12, 2014 by in Uncategorized.
The 2017 Seattle Writing Workshop

Get Your Writing Published: May 6, 2017

Create Some Buzz

Social Media Training for Authors SITE CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION

WILDsound Writing and Film Festival Review

Feature Screenplay, TV Screenplay, Short Screenplay, Novel, Stage Play, Short Story, Poem, Film, Festival and Contest Reviews

Rosie Amber

Book Reviewer, Avid Reader and Bookworm. Campaigning to link more readers to writers. People do not forget books that touch them or excite them—they recommend them.

Ellen T. McKnight

~ connecting through story ~

A Writer's Path

Sharing writing tips, information, and advice.

Eric Schlehlein, Author

(re)Living History, with occasional attempts at humor and the rare pot-luck subject. Sorry, it's BYOB. All I have is Hamm's.

Prayer Pilgrimage

Walking the Oregon Coast on a Pilgrimmage for Prayer

thewriterscafe247

The 24 hours Writing Hotspot and Hang Out

Elan Mudrow

The Ridges of Intertextuallity

David Gaughran

Let's Get Digital

%d bloggers like this: