Fiction Genres: How to Classify Your Truly Unique Story

For a few weeks, I’ve been working on a list of genre descriptions based on my favorite site for writers,, and the genres they list.  My original idea was to use these toward the A to Z blogging challenge in which I’ll be participating next month, but then I thought why wait?

AQ lists their genre descriptions alphabetically, but I will use a different presentation that, I hope, will help make them make a little more sense to all.  Let’s begin with our biggest genres – our sort of all encompassing “umbrella” genres.

Commercial Fiction: Commercial fiction is what most everyone is going to write. A gripping story that is moved along largely through plot devices and relatable characters. The writing should still be captivating of course, but will likely be used in description of events and places rather than internal feelings, thoughts, and emotions – as opposed to…

Literary Fiction: …Which will more likely deal with internal conflicts of characters and focus more on quality prose. When I think of literary fiction, the first contemporary author that usually jumps out at me is Yann Martel, of Life Of Pi fame. Let’s face it, that book is about a boy’s survival on a raft for days and days lost at sea with a tiger. Since it’s main (READ: pretty much, only) character is sitting alone in the middle of the ocean, all we can do is hear his thoughts and internal struggles of survival. And the writing quality is stellar. (If you haven’t read it… Ahh… do!)

Well, that takes care of our big umbrellas. Next we’ll move to the more “nuanced” genres. (Note: Your book will qualify as one of the two above and, at least, one from what I will write about in the coming days.)



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Filed under agent hunt, publishing, reading

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