What genre would my story be?

by Jeanne Lim

Question My story is about a teenage girl who keeps having flashbacks to when she was in an abusive, cultish relationship with a mysterious man she calls "Papa." In school, when she has to teach singing to an aggressive boy as punishment for one of his accidents, he keeps reminding her of him, and she continues to have flashbacks.


The main conflict of the story is that she tells him about Papa after one too many blackouts, and he finds her when the knowledge is overheard and gets around to him. She has to find a way to hide from him, continue life, and live happily. In the end, she has to move away.

There is a subplot where the aggressive boy falls in love with her, but she can't stand to be around him because of how much he reminds her of Papa (romance, obviously).

What exactly would my story genre be? I don't think it's terrifying enough to be considered "horror," and it's a bit slow-paced, so it's not considered "thriller" either. "Romance" is the subplot, not the real thing, so it isn't that one either. What would it be?

Answer: It sounds as though your story would fall into the genre of suspense.

Suspense stories generally concern a character (more often than not female) who is being stalked by a villain, or possibly walking into a trap set by the villain.

Many suspense stories are slow paced. These are often called "soft" suspense. There's not a lot of violence or scary situations. But the tension slowly builds to a climax where the trap is sprung and a chase ensues. Generally, the heroine escapes and the villain is killed or arrested. It's also not uncommon for the heroine to be developing a new relationship during the "slow build." Sometimes the reader is led to wonder if this new relationship is with someone who is secretly the villain, but usually that turns out to not be so.

Best of luck.

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