Genre Focus

Exploring the Fantastic in the Mundane with the Magical Realism Genre Jenn Lessmann An old man with giant, feathered wings is discovered lying face-down on the ground, and the whole town comes out to see him—until a carnival arrives, and they lose interest.  For a moment, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s short story “A Very Old Man […]

Many years ago, I developed a desire to read more classics, so I thought about trying Jane Austen’s works. I had never read her books, but I’d seen a movie or two and enjoyed the stories. The only book available from the library without a month’s waitlist was Persuasion. After I read the book, I […]

Cozy Fantasy’s Otherworldly Settings, Lighthearted Escapism Offer Readers What They’ve Been Craving In February 2022, when Travis Baldree self-published his smashingly successful book Legends and Lattes, legions of readers found themselves craving more of a genre they likely weren’t even aware existed. It’s called Cozy Fantasy, and some of its most common tropes have been […]

Personally, I think Victorian fantasies are going to be the next big thing, as long as we can come up with a fitting collective term for Powers, Blaylock and myself. Something based on the appropriate technology of the era; like “steampunks,” perhaps. —K. W. Jeter, in a 1987 letter to the science fiction magazine Locus […]

In 2022, the Romance genre generated nearly one and a half billion dollars in sales, making it the highest-earning genre in fiction. It was also the fastest-growing fiction genre, contributing to 66 percent of adult fiction growth, according to statistics shared by data research group WordsRated ( Clearly, people love to read about love. The […]

Gone are the days where evil-doers stalk the night, chasing down helpless victims while the law struggles to keep up. Now, a new hero rises, one not afraid to toe the morally gray line in the name of what is right. Their actions can set up the perfect adventure for readers to dig into. More […]

So you have decided to write a historical novel. Were you impressed by the fifty-year scope in Amor Towles’ A Gentleman in Moscow? Or perhaps you were intrigued by the spy craft in The Rose Code by Kate Quinn? Historical Fiction is expansive, stretching across time periods and crossing paths with several other genres. Its […]

Ever popular, the Action-Adventure story is the original hero’s journey: a protagonist who must go on a quest to a new world and fight demons—both inner and outer—along the way. With such flexible parameters, the genre is one that often must share the spotlight, whether it crosses with Fantasy and Sci-Fi epics, Thrillers, Mysteries, or […]

Afternoon delight, knocking boots, dancing in the sheets, the horizontal tango—no matter what you want to call it, we all know the lingo. And for some of us, that lingo, and all the colorful acts it represents, can play a big role in the books we write. Spicy or Steamy Romance covers a range of […]

This issue falls as autumn begins, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. But writers invariably set Christmas-themed books amid images of pine trees laden with snowy boughs, despite 50 percent of the world experiencing the height of summer on December 25. It is a statement to the cultural prevalence of this part of the globe […]

Angie Martin As a gorgeous art form that has survived the centuries and that readers around the globe admire and revere, poetry can be more like music than a storytelling genre, with stanzas and word choice providing a unique cadence to access the poet’s soul. These rhythmic works come in a myriad of styles, length, […]

Jenn Mitchell From the golden age of comics to modern-day Marvel movies, countless caped crusaders and super villains have kept our pulses pounding with their daring and dastardly deeds, leaving us breathless and clamoring for more. Traditionally, Superhero fiction has been a visual medium, so unsurprisingly, fans often gravitate toward comics, movies, cartoons, or games […]

We all know what a “young adult” is—after all, we’ve all been one. But as it turns out, we’ve all been “new adults” as well, a lesser-known age range that directly follows young adulthood. Over the years, both “young adult” and “new adult” stages of life have sparked genres of the same names, and though […]

Remember those first stories we heard as children? “The Three Little Pigs,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Three Billy Goats Gruff,” “Snow White,” “Cinderella,” and so many more? We could listen to them over and over again. Each time, we were delighted with the end. The main character defeated the villain, found true love, and—my favorite—lived […]

A Quick Genre Breakdown The easiest definition of Paranormal Women’s Fiction, or PWF as it’s often referred to, is women’s fiction with paranormal elements. More specifically, PWF is action-packed fiction under the fantasy umbrella written for and about women in the middle of their lives.  According to, the genre is defined as “the new […]

According to a 2021 article in Forbes, women accounted for nearly 41 percent of the gamer population in the United States and up to 45 percent in Asia, which also sees 48 percent of the world’s total video game revenue. While reader demographics are almost impossible to evaluate—the numbers simply aren’t readily available—a quick review […]

Romantic Fantasy (AKA Romantasy) is a subgenre of Fantasy that pairs a strong romantic subplot with a Fantasy main plot. The focus can skew toward the Fantasy plot with a significant minority of romantic elements, or it can balance fairly evenly between the two.  Romantasy is often confused with its sister genre, Fantasy Romance. While […]

Military SF infuses speculative technologies and interplanetary conflicts into the Military genre. The result is better guns, bigger battles, higher stakes, and a platform for social commentary. Science in Military SF tends toward the more realistic side, applying the same universal laws that govern tossed stones, cannonballs, and BFG projectiles alike. This genre allows authors […]

In her book Writing the Cozy Mystery, Nancy J. Cohen defines a cozy as a “whodunit featuring an amateur sleuth, a distinctive setting and a limited number of suspects … ” When challenged, many authors will simply respond, think Murder She Wrote or Agatha Christie.  Simply, a crime occurs within a small community of colorful […]

Merri Maywether In a sentence, Women’s Fiction is written by women for women. It isn’t that the genre is exclusive; men can and have read Women’s Fiction titles. However, the author writes with the female reader in mind. Relational sagas, love stories, and generational stories all make up the commercially written books that tap into […]

All Your Favorite Stories…in Space Space Opera is a popular genre among authors and readers who enjoy Sci-Fi themed stories with an epic scope, splashy tech, romantic subplots, and a sharp contrast between good and evil. Where other genres of Science Fiction speculate on the intersection of technology with society, Space Opera shifts its focus […]

What do you do when the world ends? Rebuild it. Some people confuse Post-Apocalyptic and Dystopian stories, but they have distinct requirements. Young Adult Dystopian is a subset of Dystopian with further specific expectations. A corrupt government When it comes to YA Dystopian fiction, a corrupt government or society that rose to power after a […]

A pinch of this and a dash of that makes for sweetly satisfied readers Small Town Romance is one of those tried-and-true genres that withstands the test of time.  While they seem easy, there are a lot of components that people take for granted.  By the end of this recipe, you’ll be able to tailor […]

What makes a book an urban fantasy and not merely contemporary fantasy? It comes down to genre tropes. Every genre has its specific set of tropes that define it from others. Readers may not be able to name the tropes or be consciously aware of them; however, their subconscious mind will recognize them and determine […]

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