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Raucous Writer explains fiction genres

May 13, 2017

Have you scratched your head and wondered what all those writing genre acronyms really mean?  I did, and after much research, I've figured it out, and am sharing my knowledge as a public service: 

 

1.  YA:  young adult.   Books for adolescents, many of which involve magic,  witches, vampires, werewolves, unicorns, people with magic, and/or humans who are half cyborg and wish to be full humans (you get the gist). Generally, no cussing, swearing, smoking sex, drugs, alcohol or truly "adult" themes should be tackled.

 

2.  MG:  middle grade.  Books for people younger than those in the YA category.  Definitely no cussing, smoking, swearing, sex, drugs, alcohol, or "adult" themes.  Puppy love, crushes, choices between boys, overbearing parents, and trivial hardships are favorite themes.

 

3.  Mystery:  "who dunnit?"  Examples include stories  involving a crime, weird or traumatic event, disappearance, drug overdose, estrangement, kidnapping, plane or other moving vehicle crash or disappearance (boats included), or infection outbreak.  Often formulaic.

 

4.  Thriller:  "who dunnit," sometimes on steroids, with sharper writing and plot twists. 

 

5.  Women's Fiction:  chick books about women and their problems with each other, their parents, kids, spouses, families, etc.  The focus is on the female character and the work appeals to a broad range of women.  This is the kind of book your boyfriend, father, or husband wouldn't enjoy reading because its central theme doesn't involve guns, ammunition, fights, explosions, martial arts, graphic sex, warriors, wars, mercenaries, drug lords, swords, knives, grenades, six-figure sports cars, anything having to do with grappling hooks, knights, superheroes, men who are trained as CIA or MI6 operatives and/or Navy Seals (even if they've temporarily forgotten their identities), or something equally badass in nature.

 

6.  Book Club:  nowhere near as interesting as Fight Club, book club novels usually appeal to the lowest common denominator in the literary group.

 

7.  Fantasy:  unicorns, unicorns, and more unicorns.  If your book begins with the words, "in a magical land far, far away," it's probably fantasy.

 

8.  Science Fiction:  Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Gallactica, and anything else with the words, "world," "star," "universe," and/or "interstellar" in the title are good examples of this genre.   If your book begins with the words, "in a galaxy far, far away," then it's probably sci-fi.

 

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