A literary genre, by definition, is a concept that allows literary productions to be classified into genres such as adventure novels, diaries, autobiography, biography, science fiction, fantasy, detective novel, tragedy, romantic comedy, tale etc.
No author can free himself from any literary genre, however daring. If you write, you need to choose what genre to write in when you design your story. Because, the genre you choose then determines the type of readers who will follow you.
Literary genres are plentiful, but figuring out which one will be yours is not a recipe for success. It is not enough to scrupulously follow a list of clichés to write a tragedy or a detective novel. Choosing your literary genre would be like choosing your color, your personality.
Gender: the essential element
Determining the genre in which you are going to write is to ask yourself this question: how will the story be better served? By a short story, a novel, a play or a story?
The writer does not choose the subjects. It is chosen by the subject. That makes all the difference. The author does not choose his genre either. It is chosen by gender. This is the definition of Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt.
When he is penetrated by his story, the writer is an obedient person. He reflects, for the sake of his story, what form it must take to be good. Sometimes, to be fair, the story has to be short.
The differences between literary genres
In a play, the plot revolves around an inner crisis or a crisis between two characters. This crisis is expressed at a given moment. It is necessarily exploited and resolved in a given time. But, in the theater, time does not exist.
The novel, meanwhile, allows time to be deployed. The story needs the thickness of days, months and years to allow the characters to complete their path.
The news is imposed on its author when the latter feels that the story must be short to be stronger. The interest of the news lies in the fall. There is no such thing as a falling novel. The short story is by no means an art inferior to the novel.
Unfortunately, in France, we take a funny look at the news. Publishers, wrongly, are not fond of this genre, unlike Anglo-Saxon countries, which respect this genre and publish it. The short story does not look like a tired little novel at all. Quite the contrary!
However, France produced prodigious short stories, such as Guy de Maupassant, Colette, Marcel Aye, and Georges Simenon. The novel is too highly valued in France at the expense of other literary genres. It is necessary to fight against this. How To Create A Wikipedia Page For An Author.
Each literary genre is noble and has value.
In the genre of storytelling, there is not necessarily magic. The narrator is very present and reality is described with great concern for economy. In a tale, the author does not describe the forest, for example. But there are shameful things happening there. The tale offers a quick narrative, more subjective than descriptive.
In any case, whatever literary genre the author chooses, the latter must put himself at the Wikipedia page creation service of his book.
Genres in fiction
Novels, stories, short stories, drama and poetry are classified as books of fiction. But, by far, the novel wins the prize for broadcasts.. The novel comes in sub-genres:
- police officer
- science fiction
Each genre of novel can also be divided into sub-genres. For example, the historical novel can be by epoch:
- sixteenth century
The erotic novel can be “soft”, “hard”, straight, homo, lesbo,
The sentimental novel, or romance, also has very distinct categories. Visit the Harlequin Publishing website and you’ll understand what I’m talking about!
The case of the detective novel
The detective story aims to give the reader the resolution of a criminal investigation and has as a detective a typical and recognizable character among all.
Several ways of doing things are possible in the detective story. The reader may be made aware of the identity of the murderer early on or only find out at the end, or be directed to false leads throughout the story.
Some authors also like to distill subplots, inserting details of the lives of several characters and large descriptions of places, as Elizabeth George likes to do.
Sometimes the murders are described with bloody scenes dotting the pages. Other novels do not mention any trace of blood. It all depends on the choice of the author, of course!
In any case, the detective novel requires research, for amateur readers of this genre are well informed. The author should absolutely keep abreast of the techniques employed, both for the autopsy or the techniques to identify a body. We are no longer in the age of Agatha Christie!
How to learn about literary genres?
One of the ways to learn literary genres is to read a lot. And in all genres! Read as many novels as possible! Mostly very different from each other in order to be able to differentiate them.
Then ask yourself the following questions:
- What kind of novel do you like the most?
- Who is your favorite author?
- How are books constructed?
Make a list of the genres you like, but keep in mind that literary genre is not a recipe. However, it is better to avoid mixing genres when you are a beginner author.
Write down, for each genre found, the elements you like about it. Then underline those that mark you the most. Try to write down why you like these items, why they are important to you. For the symbol? For the atmosphere? For aesthetics? Etc.
Write down your analysis as if you had to explain all of this to someone else in front of you. This is already a way of expressing your emotions and transmitting them to your future readers. From that, you should be able to define a main genre that stands out from the crowd. It’s up to you to see if it corresponds with the idea of the story you have in mind!
What literary genres sell the best?
This is a question that is often asked. It is necessarily controversial, in the sense that it supports the aesthetic honor of many authors. It also raises the question of commercial logic, a bit taboo in fact in France.
In an ideal world, art should never be disguised as a selling point. Everyone knows it doesn’t work that way. An author is an artist and not a craftsman who creates on demand according to the fashions and interests of the moment.
The winning trio of the best-selling genres are:
- white literature, also called simply generalist or contemporary literature
- thriller or detective novels
- romance or romantic novels
It is clear that contemporary literature is largely in the lead. It sells twice as much as the thriller, which itself sells more than romance novels. These 3 genres combined far exceed the rest of the genre list in terms of sales numbers.
Then come the literatures of the imagination which are sold in the same proportions as the classics. Then come the historical novels. Then, the humorous novels. Fiction for children, teenagers and young adults actually comes in second after contemporary adult fiction.
Should we write in the genres that sell the most?
If you don’t read in popular genres, and your author’s soul keeps bringing you back to the marvelous, you risk losing the opportunity to write an excellent fantasy book and you risk writing a thriller. Way.
Many authors, it is true, do not necessarily have an interest in certain genres. They are multidimensional and they can be good at multiple genres. You can write crime fiction and romance and thrive in both genres.
But, you write for passion and love for words more than for money, don’t you? What excites you is your story! Whatever its genre: it will inevitably attract readers and publishers.
Of course, I can only encourage you to open up to different genres. But, if the sales argument comes before your deep urge to write a story, you may fail to create your style and retain your readership.
Remember, too, that studying the book market should not only be done at a macroscopic level. The gross sales figures hide a much finer editorial reality.
The sales of your book will depend on several factors, which go far beyond the question of the quality of your book. They have above all to do with the commercial work of the publisher.
As a conclusion
In my eyes, there is no literary genre that would be superior to the others. They have been trying to make us believe this for so long! The novel, this genre so practiced in the 19th century, would be the genre of predilection par excellence. It’s wrong! All genres are the same. Let’s just stop categorizing them!
Don’t make your artistic decisions based on sales numbers or what you hear or believe. Follow your intuition, follow your heart! You will always have a better audience to write the story you are passionate about!
Yes, there are genres that sell well than others, but you have better than numbers to offer your readers, right?