Welcome to the wonderful world(s) of genre fiction…
Looking for something different outside of your usual reading catalogue? Exhausted the options of literary, contemporary, and nonfiction? Genre fiction is the answer! Genre fiction is a (constantly) expanding collection of books that can be not just for your kids or your teens, it’s for you as well! Genre Fiction is a buffet of intrigue, you can move down the table and select the items for your plate that are exactly to your tastes. But, getting into something new can sometimes be overwhelming. To help break the ice, I want to advise something; if you haven’t deliberately selected a genre fiction book, you’ve probably still read one anyway! That’s just how expansive genre fiction is. Why not explore it further?
So, what is it?
Genre Fiction: is defined as a fiction story that is written in a specific type of theme, style, and formula. There are different ideas on what genres truly are genre fiction but, in my opinion, the more the merrier! For the purposes of learning the basics, I will only mention the six main genres generally agreed upon by readers and writers. These are crime, fantasy, romance, science fiction, horror, and historical fiction. Each of these genres can branch into subcategories for even more variety; fantasy could mean ‘high fantasy’ like Game of Thrones, or ‘urban fantasy’, like Ocean at the End of the Lane. Historical Fiction can cover true periods in history like a Western; but history can also mix with romance to create a period piece love story like Pride and Prejudice. Genre fiction is a grab bag of variations and mix and match. While there are rules with genre fiction, there are also, in a way, no rules.
Where do I start?
Where you start with genre fiction depends greatly on what you’re interested in reading. To avoid being overwhelmed, it’s best to pick the genre you think you may like the most and then pick a book that fits within that genre. If you want to be adjacent to reality, perhaps you’ll pick a book in crime or historical fiction. If you like horror movies, horror may be your new favourite genre for some spooky tales. If you enjoy fantasy TV shows, grew up reading books like Eragon or Harry Potter; you will love reading a book on a magical fantasy world. Love science, space, and aliens? Maybe a bit of science fiction is what you’re missing! It’s all up to preference, but there’s something for everyone’s tastes!
The joys of genre fiction are that it’s a gateway to millions of adventures! Once you start with one genre, you can expand out into other ones. For example, I consider myself a long-time fantasy reader, but, I have recently been trying to read my way into science fiction with classics like War of the Worlds and Frankenstein. They’re fascinating stories and just scratch the surface of what sci-fi has grown to be, which I look forward to reading more!
If I can read it, can I write it?
Yes! Even if you just like to write for fun, setting yourself a genre is a great way to get creative and learn how to follow a style! Each genre has its own formula and tropes that you can get familiar with by crafting your own interesting tale. Who knows? Maybe you’re the next big thing to hit the genre fiction scene. There’s always a way to change up the formula or break the rules in a way that brings a unique twist to a well-known genre. Of course, you’ll need to become familiar with the published works of your writing genre (you must know the rules before you can break them), learn all the tricks of the trade before you set out to employ them yourself.
Read Long and Prosper.
There’s a lot to investigate with genre fiction, both reading and writing it. Once you find your favourite genre, you can stick to it enjoy all it has to offer. But you can also read around and explore all the growing genres, genre mixes, and sub-genres. The great thing about genre fiction is there’s always something new just around the corner…