Image courtesy of Taliesin  morguefile

     I’ve been doing this writing thing just long enough to notice that any time I encounter another writer for the first time, aside from the usual bio info exchanged, the most common question is, “What genre do you write?”  After a few of these exchanges, I quickly realized that I didn’t know the different genres as well as I thought I did. offers a nice concise list and brief definition of the different genres currently defined*.     

Nonfiction Genres


     Factual writing.  Writings that convey factual information and are not primarily works of the creative imagination.

Example: History of The American Economy (textbook)

Narrative Nonfiction

     Also referred to as creative nonfiction, literary journalism and fact based story telling, adapting some of the features of fiction (creating a narrative persona, setting scenes, presenting interesting characters, creating the look and feel of a setting, telling a story) to the purposes of journalism.

Example: Prince Harry Ending US Visit With Conn Polo Match (news article)


     Short nonfiction prose piece; an short analytic, descriptive or interpretive piece of literary or journalistic prose dealing with a specific topic, especially from a personal and unsystematic viewpoint.

Example: Boyhood Dream Came True A Czech Taxidermists Success Story (Photo Essay)


     An account of somebody’s life written or produced by another person

Example: Audrey In Rome (Audrey Hepburn’s life story as told by Lucca Dotti, Ludovica Damiani and Sciascia Gambaccini)


     An account of somebody’s life written by that person

ExampleMy Beloved World (Sonia Sotomayor’s life story as told by Sonia Sotomayor)


     The ability to speak.  The act of communicating by speaking

ExampleThe Gettysburg Address

Fiction Genres


     Literary works of imagination.  Novels and stories that describe imaginary people and events.

ExampleAdventures of Huckleberry Finn


     A serious play written for performance on stage, television or radio.  

ExampleRomeo and Juliet


    Literary works written in verse, in particular, verse writing in high quality, great beauty, emotional sincerity or intensity or profound insight.

ExampleThe Raven


     The creative power of the imagination.  Commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary plot element, theme or setting.

ExampleThe Princess Bride


     Writings and other material designed to make people laugh.  The quality or content of something that elicits amusement or laughter.

Example:  Sh*t My Dad Says


     A short story with a moral, especially one in which the characters are animals.  A story about supernatural, mythological or legendary characters or events.

ExampleThe Tortoise and the Hare

Fairy Tales

     A story for children about fairies or other imaginary beings and events, often containing a moral message.

ExampleSnow White

Science Fiction

     Fiction based on futuristic science.  Fiction based on science, usually set in the future, that deals with imaginary scientific and technological developments and contact with other worlds.


Short Story

     A work of prose fiction that is shorter than a novel.

ExampleThe Tell-Tale Heart

Realistic Fiction

     Resembling or simulating real life.  Interested in, concerned with or based on what is real or practical.

ExampleBecause of Winn-Dixie


     Traditional stores and explanations passed down in a community or country.

ExamplePaul Bunyan

Historical Fiction

     Narratives that take place in the past and are characterized chiefly by an imaginative reconstruction of historical events and personages.

ExampleJohnny Tremain


     Something that causes a very strong feeling of fear shock or disgust.

ExampleThe Shining

Tall Tale

     An exaggerated, unreliable story.

ExamplePecos Bill


     A story that has been passed down for generations, especially one that is presented as history but is unlikely to be true.

ExampleThe Legend of Sleepy Hollow


     An event or situation that is difficult to fully understand or explain.  Typically a detective or crime novel.

ExampleThe Adventures of Sherlock Holmes


     A group of myths belonging to a particular people or culture that tell about their ancestors, heroes, gods and other supernatural beings and history.

ExampleThe Lightning Thief

Fiction in Verse

     Full length novels with plot, subplots, themes, with major and minor characters.  The narrative is usually presented in blank verse (unrhymed poetry)

ExampleThe Cat in the Hat

     The list provided by is only the tip of the iceberg.  Within each of the genres listed above, are several subgenres that define a work of literature at a more granular level.  It is also possible for a single piece to fall into multiple categories.

     Do you have a favorite genre to write?  How about a favorite genre for reading?  Are they the same?

*Unless otherwise specified by a link, all definitions obtained from Bing Dictionary

 What does it really mean to think outside of the box? Typically, this term is associated with thinking of things in a different way than you are used to or looking at things from a different perspective. Sometimes it helps to get a broader view on a problem or situation in order to address it. 

 But what about those individuals that are already naturally inclined to thinking differently. Personally, I find myself going against the grain more often than not. It’s not something that I actively seek to do, but my mind just doesn’t seem to go with the flow. At times, I embrace this individuality and other times, I stifle it so as not to rock the boat. 

 Growing up, I feel that someone decided along the way, to put me in a box. Be it my parents or teachers, they packaged me up and labeled me, predetermining my course in life. Being young, naive and impressionable, I never stopped to think about what I wanted. This doesn’t mean that I went without a fight, only that I didn’t really understand the reason why I felt the need to fight. 

 In high school, while some of my friends were taking cool classes like art, I was assigned classes like typing and computers, to gear me for the business world. With both my parents and my step parents working in the business world, I never considered that there were other career options that I could explore. The only thing I knew for certain was that I wanted to be able to have my weekends free to do the things I enjoyed. Now in retrospect, if I had thought this through carefully enough, I would have realized that if I found a career doing something that I loved, this wouldn’t have been a concern. 

 It’s taken me a very long time to climb my way out of the box I’ve grown so accustomed to being in, but I’m finally finding my niche in life, making strides to do what makes me happy. I envy those that are able to carve their own paths early in life. They encourage me to keep trying to be the best me that I can be; the me that is true to who I am meant to be rather than trying to conform to what I am expected to be. 

 Don’t ever let anyone tell you who you should be. Dare to dream and think outside of the box!

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