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

Image Courtesy of MR. LIGHTMAN /

     If you’ve been following along, then you know that I submitted my first full length novel for a peer review a few weeks ago.  After a little over three weeks, I have gotten back a total of four reviews.  It was my fear that the reviews would point out such huge flaws that I would need to practically start from scratch, deterring me from writing for a bit.  At the same time, it was my hope that the reviews would give me something specific to focus on while doing my next edit.

     What I got, is something in-between.  Other than the feedback on my spelling and grammar, each and every one of the reviews focused on something different, both strengths and weaknesses.  As it stands, I seem to be in a position of “you can’t please everyone”.  The best I can do at this point is to process all of the information and feedback that I’ve received and decide what works with my overall vision of the novel and what doesn’t.  With expectations of receiving a few more reviews, I plan to hold off on the edit for a bit longer.  

Image Courtesy of basket man /

     I never expected this to be an easy journey, but the decision to become an author is not something that can be taken lightly.  It is a decision to put your heart and soul into words and share it with the world, leaving yourself vulnerable and at the mercy of anyone who reads your work.  I’m glad to see that the overall consensus so far is that I’m on the right track and while there is quite a bit of editing to do, I’ve gained another supporter or two that will help motivate me to get the work done on not only this novel, but the follow-up, which I have completed two-thirds of the first draft for.

     It feels good to be taking another step forward, albeit a baby step.  While I wait for more reviews to come in over the next two weeks or so, the plan is to revamp my website.  It’s been quite a few months since I’ve made any updates and it is long overdue.  

     How would you feel about being immortal-ized as a fictional character?  Would you like to know about it?  I saw a post the other day of the picture shown on the left and it made me laugh, because this is something I do all the time; I’ve even addressed it in a previous blog (Fiction Mirroring Life or Life Mirroring Fiction?).  I believe that the best source of inspiration for any artist, is the world around them, so it is only natural that a painter would paint people they see around them or that a writer would create a character based on those around them.

     If someone were to base a character on you, would you want to have some say or would you prefer to give the novelist creative license?  I personally have created characters based on friends, acquaintances and even complete strangers.  When writing about people you know, it can be easy to translate them true to form.  The tricky part comes when you base characters on people you know next to nothing about.  People that you see, but never really speak to; the cashier at the mall, the manager of your favorite coffee shop, the girl that works at the movie theater, etc…  You see these people, but you don’t know them on a personal level.  How much can you really know about their lives from the minimal interaction you have with them, if you even interact with them at all?

     Once you base characters on them though, you start to feel like you know them.  You start to feel connected to these people in a way that you never were before.  Any author can attest to the fact that their characters become as real to them as their own friends and family.  We grow to care about them the same way we would any important person in our lives.  And that’s when the fun really starts to happen, when the lines between reality and imagination blur and you see your character walking around before your very eyes.  You know deep down inside that they are not the character that you created them to be, but the very sight of them does things to you, that you can’t even explain.  

     There have been times, when struggling with writer’s block, that I made a point of stopping by a particular place where I knew I would run into such a person.  I don’t even need to speak to them and yet, the very sight of them fills me with excitement and inspiration.  But no matter how much I would like to get to know them better, the fear of shattering the illusion I have created prevents me from doing so.  What would happen if the reality was nothing like the illusion?  Would it be forever ruined?  But then, what if the reality is even better than the illusion?  Is it worth taking the chance?

Photo Credit: kakisky (

     How would you react if a complete stranger told you they were a novelist and based a character on you?  Would you be flattered or would you be looking for the nearest exit to get away from the crazy person that you now believe has been stalking you?