The literature genres, mentioned in my previous post, are usually combined with specific worlds or stages in order to create the following.
Genres based on place / time or “rules” of the world
- Allows the existence of the supernatural. Stephen King’s Carrie, William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist.
- Fantasy: parallel worlds in which magic and intelligent beings of other species exist and live along humans. Example: J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.
- Science Fiction: an exploration of the future of humanity and other possible worlds in the universe. The Foundation (series) by Isaac Asimov, Dan Simmons’ Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion.
- Vampires: Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
It is possible then to mix the goal of stopping a threat with a science fiction stage, the way it is done in many works of the genre.
When mixing romantic stories with a world in which vampires exist, books like Stephanie Meyer’s Eclipse are created.
To search, read and write
If we want to write it is important to identify the kind of books we enjoy reading, read more of those, learn more about the genre and finally write stories with our own personal touch.
The following categorization aims to provide ideas on what to write about or read by searching similar books to the ones we like. There are many ways to classify and none of them can be clear or comprehensive enough so this is just another way. Join me in exploring it and looking for others about the genres of your interest because within every genre we have discussed there are many other subgenres that are not mentioned here.
Genres according to the purpose of the work
- Solving a crime (belonging to the popular crime fiction).
The “desk detective” (the detective who solves everything through reason). The adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Connan Doyle, for example.
The modern detective (the detective goes outside and solves the crime or mystery using different strategies). It begins among others with Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon and Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep (some might include these works inside the thriller genre).
- Stopping a crime or a threat (crime fiction): Thriller, suspense. Examples: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.
- Committing a crime: stories about criminals (caper story). The Dortmunder series by Donald E. Westlake (The Hot Rock, per example).
- Joining two people: romance, romantic novel.
- Reaching a destination while facing challenges: adventure stories. Emilio Salgari’s Sandokán.
Each of these genres shares elements with the others. Per instance, thrillers (suspense – action) in general include a romantic element: the main character starts a relationship while the main story goes by. This adds emotion to the narration. Likewise, romantic novels might share some elements with crime fiction stories.
Two different genres could be completely mixed together. For example in a story in which the main character is after a serial killer he not only has to solve the previous murders but to stop the next ones.