Is my subject comedy?

by Peter Robinson
(Roseburg, Oregon)

Question: I am writing about...hold your breath, sit down; POOP, you know a non vulgar name for S***. What genre should I apply?

Answer: Well... that rather depends on how you are treating the subject.

If you are writing about it in a factual way, that would be nonfiction.

If you are writing a story filled with bathroom jokes, that could be humour.

If you are using your topic to comment on the absurdities of human beings, their characters, institutions, foibles, and relationships, then you could be writing satire. If your story also ends sadly, it could be black comedy.

If these jokes are merely a theme in a story about two people falling in love or the healing of relationships in a community, you would be writing a comedy.

If you are writing about a future in which human waste disposal becomes such a serious issue that it affects society, then you could be writing science fiction.

If someone in your book is murdered and a major clue to the killer is contained in a sample of feces, that would be a mystery.

If you are writing about a perilous journey through a sewer in search of a valuable prize or to destroy a monster, that would be an adventure story.

If you are writing the book to appeal to children aged 9-12, that would be middle-grade or juvenile fiction (which would be a good choice, because kids at that age love toilet humour). If it's for high school or college aged readers, that would be young adult.


You see, it's not the subject matter, but what you do with it, that determines genre.

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