If creative nonfiction is true stories told well, then perhaps we can define fiction as imaginary stories told well.

 

Kinds of Fiction

Literary fiction

Work in which the skillful use of language is paramount, regardless of subject or theme.

 

Genre fiction

Work in which the subject or theme is paramount.

 

The two are not necessarily mutually exclusive

 

Genres

There are seven primary genres in fiction and many, many subgenres. One website lists 144 fiction genres.  Nor is there a consensus to definitions.  Agents and publishers may have their own ideas of what constitutes a genre and may use different terms. Before identifying your work to a specific publisher or agent, check their website to see what they say about genres.

 

  1. Fantasy or speculative

Fiction that uses magical or paranormal elements not found in the real world. The worlds created are based on myth, lore, and other oral traditions and might or might not have some aspects of the real world.

 

Subgenres include:

To see the difference between fantasy and SciFi see below.

 

  1. Historical fiction

Fiction that is set at least fifty years in the past and is based on the writers’ research of the era.

 

Subgenres include:

  1. Inspirational

Fiction that is about characters who make positive change in their lives and the endings inspire or uplift readers.

 

Subgenres include:

 

  1. Romance

Fiction that is a love story and has, in the words of Romance Writers of America is “an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.”

 

Subgenres include:

 

  1. Science Fiction

Fiction that uses scientific and/or technological theory to predict a future either on Earth or in space.

 

Subgenres include:

 

Note:  Fantasy and Science Fiction are sometimes combined in one primary genre. While both fantasy and science fiction are speculative, fantasy involves imagining worlds that are impossible, while science fiction involves imagining worlds that are possible.  Another way to look at the difference is that fantasy contains elements derived solely from the writers’ imagination while science fiction contains elements derived solely from scientific fact.

 

 

  1. Suspense/Mystery/Thriller

Suspense is fiction that creates an uneasy feeling about what is going to happen next. In the broadest terms, suspense is literary device needed in all stories—the tension that keeps the plot moving forward. As a genre, suspense takes a center role.

Subgenres include:

  1. Western

Fiction is set in the American West or Mexico most often set between 1850 – 1920.

Subgenres include:

 

~ Carol Phillips

 

To learn more about fiction genres, check out these resources:

Fiction:

Writers Write: The 17 Most Popular Genres in Fiction and Why They Matter https://www.writerswrite.co.za/the-17-most-popular-genres-in-fiction-and-why-they-matter/

 

Fantasy:

Fantasy Book Fanatic  https://fantasybookfanatic.com/

 

Historical:

 International Association of Professional Writers & Editors:  The Subgenres of Historical Fiction https://iapwe.org/the-subgenres-of-historical-fiction/

 

Inspriational:

Author’s Learning Center: “Genre Basics: Religious, Inspirational & Spiritual” https://www.authorlearningcenter.com/writing/i-have-an-idea/w/choosing-your-topic/6688/genre-basics-religious-inspirational-spiritual—article

 

Romance:

Romance Writers of America: “About the  Romance Genre” https://www.rwa.org/Online/Resources/About_Romance_Fiction/Online/Romance_Genre/About_Romance_Genre.aspx?hkey=dc7b967d-d1eb-4101-bb3f-a6cc936b5219

 

Suspense:

Almost an Author: Mystery, Suspense and Thriller—What’s the Difference: https://www.almostanauthor.com/mystery-thriller-and-suspense-subgenres-whats-the-difference/

 

Science Fiction

Worlds Without End “Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Sub-Genres” http://www.worldswithoutend.com/resources_sub-genres.asp

 

Western:

Writing to Publish:  “Western Genres”  http://www.cuebon.com/ewriters/Wsubgenres.html

 

 

 

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