By Glen C. Strathy
Most aspiring writers begin with the writing genres they most love to read, which is a sound strategy (an example of "write what you know"). However, we all have a tendency to ignore certain genres, either because they weren't taught in school or simply because we were too busy reading our favourites.
Yet, exploring genres you haven't tried before can lead to
pleasant surprises. You may, for instance find yourself gaining new respect for a genre you previously overlooked, or even falling in love with it. You may decide to expand your writing to include other genres. And sometimes you may even have a life-changing creative breakthrough. For example, a person may have spent a frustrating few years trying to write literary fiction, only to discover their true calling and talent lies in writing steamy romance, children's chapter books, or crime thrillers.
At the very least, familiarizing yourself with other genres, and reading at least a few shining examples of each genre, can expand your understanding of storytelling techniques. You may find that importing elements from other writing genres into your current work-in-progress breathes new life into it. It can help you put a new twist on the genre you are currently working in.
Writing a cross-genre or genre blend story can also expand the potential readership of your novel by attracting different types of readers. Cross genre stories are quite popular today, and the number of possible combinations of genres is nearly infinite.
Of course, it takes time to become familiar with the conventions of multiple genres, and the expectations of different readerships. But the articles below are intended to give you a starting point -- to suggest about which genres you might like to explore first.
Psychological suspense stories combine elements of suspense with main characters who may be delusional or going mad to create a puzzle for the reader to solve. Here are the key elements you need to know about how to write psychological suspense.
Steampunk and other historical punk genres are interesting blends of historical fiction, science fiction, and a contemporary perspective. If you haven't explored them yet, you may find them to be inspiration for your next story.
Think you know how to scare your reader? Here are some secrets to writing horror stories you may not have thought about before...
Learn the basics of writing thriller stories, including...
The basic traits and structure of romance novels, including tips on...
A brief look at some of the more common types of romance plots you can adapt for your novel.
To some, genre fiction is distinct from literary or mainstream, as if the latter are not genres in themselves. Here are four traits that set genre fiction apart.
Is literary fiction a genre or a non-genre? The basics of what literary readers expect.
When determining what genre a book belongs in, there are seven main criteria -- some of which are a lot more useful than others.
Definitions of the major genres and subgenres of fiction, organized by reader experience.
Have specific questions about a genre you want to write? Here you can get answers.