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Fiction Genre Flowchart

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by

Alex Herzberg

on 7 June 2013

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Transcript of Fiction Genre Flowchart

Fantasy I enjoy imaginative yet plausible stories that focus on technology and/or magic. Whether it takes place in the past, present, or future, I want the book to draw me into its own unique world and ask, "what if?" Steampunk

Discover an alternate era inspired by steam power, cogs, and machinery. Stories are often set in Victorian England or the Wild West. Cyberpunk

These gritty stories deal with advanced information technology, cybernetics, and the line between man vs. machine. Post-Apocalyptic

Set after or during a worldwide catastrophe that spells the end of human civilization. Star Wars Star Trek Dystopia

Take a speculative look forward at oppressive societies, dehumanization, and environmental disaster. Urban/Contemporary

Largely defined by setting, this subgenre mixes modern city elements with magic and the supernatural. Superhuman

Main characters often possess superhuman abilities and are pitted against powerful foes. Science Fiction Outer Space

Journey through the void to distant new worlds and meet strange creatures. Time Travel

Characters visit the past or future and may encounter paradoxes, alternate timelines, and other logical conundrums. Epic

Richly detailed worlds full of imagined history, languages, cultures, and maps, with many different characters. Magic Realism

Magical elements blend seamlessly and subtly with the real world. Swords & Sorcery

Magical, adventurous tales of heroes, spells, creatures, prophecies, and good versus evil. "Classic" fantasy! Comic

Light, humorous stories set in imaginary worlds, often parodying other SF/Fantasy works. I want something set in the American Old West, hearkening back to a simpler time of cowboys, outlaws, mountain men, frontier families, and resilient explorers. Western Romance Horror Thriller Mystery Adventure Fiction Genres and Subgenres What kind of book are you looking for? Urban Fiction Traditional

These action-oriented, less demanding reads follow a tried-and-true formula of familiar settings, romance, gunplay, and historical detail. Contemporary

A literary spin that abandons the myths and romanticism of the West for a pessimistic, ambiguous, and ultimately more realistic tone. Native American

Whether historical or contemporary, these stories tell of the struggles and experiences of Native Americans from their own point of view, with poignant insight into their cultures and values. Pioneer Families

These sagas span generations and follow multiple interconnected characters. Readers sometimes experience the era from a woman's point of view. Realistic Fiction Historical

Places fictional characters in a specific period of time where they interact with real historical figures or situations that represent life in that era. Beach Reads

Light material that can be enjoyed with little concentration. Usually upbeat with happy endings. Commercial

A catchall subgenre of fast-paced and plot-driven stories with mainstream appeal. Think James Patterson or Janet Evanovich. Offbeat

Driven by quirky humor, idiosyncratic characters, and/or unusual situations which defy more traditional classification. Literary

Investigates complex psychological, philosophical, and/or universal truth. It is often critically acclaimed and read for multifaceted language and intellectual stimulation. Although the plot and characters are made up, they could actually happen.

The main character is believable and could easily be my next-door neighbor.

Or maybe I want to go on a journey and experience hero's challenges, risks, and triumphs.

These stories could also have an element of suspense and danger, something to make my pulse race! I'm looking for something that deals with life on the street and tough issues like drugs, violence, and gangs. The urban setting should be a character all its own. Chick Lit

Lighthearted and sometimes humorous stories of contemporary issues of the modern woman, from awkward social situations to shopping. Modern

Features spunky, independent women who find unlikely love during their hectic and humorous lives, often filled with friends, family, and pets. Religious/Clean

The heart matters more than the libido. Marriage or a steady relationship is typically the climactic finale for the two lovebirds. Regency

Set in early 19th-century Britain, these stories are cherished for their witty dialogue and attention to social classifications such as the Ton. Erotica

Aims to tempt, titillate, and arouse with sexual tension and steamy passages. Historical

Vikings and pirates and cowboys, oh my! Takes place in a definitive time period but characters may possess modern thoughts and attitudes. Military

Modern tales of love and lust whose heroes are brave active-duty servicemen, such as a ripped Navy SEAL or a sergeant returning from Iraq. I like stories about romantic relationships. Do you have anything about two compelling characters falling in love? I like books where a crime or cryptic event has taken place, and it's up to the protagonist to figure out the who, what, when, where, and why... Paranormal

Features romance between humans and vampires, werewolves, ghosts, or other ethereal beings. The heroine and/or paramour often possesses extraordinary physical or psychic abilities. Culinary Capers

The protagonist is usually a seasoned chef or budding cook who solves mysteries. These books often include plot-related recipes the reader can try at home. Police Procedural

Accurate and gritty depictions of police solving realistic crimes with thrills in the detailed investigation. The main detective tends to be personally invested in the crime. Hard Boiled

Noir-inspired intrigue featuring a tough-guy protagonist, usually a detective, who tackles the dark and shadowy side of American life -- with dialogue to match. Cozy

Lighthearted and set in a small town or village, an individual or small group solves a crime/puzzle through personal observation. Contains no realistic brutality and violence tends to occur "off screen." Foreign Intrigue

Takes place overseas, translated from the author's native language, and provides new physical and political landscapes for avid mystery readers. Violence tends to be graphic and realistic. Pet Investigators

A four-legged friend, most often a dog or cat, plays an indispensable role in solving the crime either with psychic abilities or incredible intelligence. Hip-Hop

Characters are driven by the desire to shine in the music industry by performing, producing, or by playing the video vixen. Borough Warfare

Gangs, drugs, money, territory, and survival propel the actions of all involved in the tricky business of life on the street. Literary

Tension, tragedy, and betrayal are used to illustrate a broader statement on the urban lifestyle and give astute cultural commentary. Erotica

Hot bodies, chic attire, and snappy dialogue build up sexual pressure. These stories feature vivid love scenes. Christian

While dealing with tough issues, the main characters are motivated by their faith. God is a driving force in business, family, and love. Mountain Men Gunslingers Rangers Lawmen Wild Frontiers Exotic Lands

Heroes test their strength against nature as they pursue ancient secrets, treasure, lost civilizations, and shipwrecks. Disaster

Natural or man-made catastrophes threaten life as we know it. There may or may not be political links, but survival always hangs in the balance. High Seas

Nautical adventures usually set during the Napoleonic Wars. Readers experience the rich detail of a sailor's life. Techno

Gadgets, futuristic technology, cyber-security, and/or military hardware drive these fast-paced, intricate stories. Legal

Lawyers and law students try to solve a legal conundrum. Twists, turns, and the thrill of the chase are more important than the mystery itself. Medical

The protagonist tries to set things right after the world is rocked by biological threats, strange pandemics, and science gone awry! Cipher

A scholarly hero uses clever thinking, historical knowledge, and puzzle-solving skills to crack the code before time runs out. Spy/Espionage

Typically set during the Cold War, flawed protagonists go undercover on high-stakes missions. Political Intrigue

Unlike classic spy novels, these books explore modern-day international threats such as terrorism and assassination. I want a frightening tale that makes me look over my shoulder and keeps me up at night. The plot itself is less important than how the book makes me feel. Apocalyptic

Unlike their Sci-Fi counterpart, these stories focus more on the visceral human element of a cataclysm: good vs. evil and the terrifying lengths we go to survive. Psychological

Some horrors cannot be outrun. This fear-based combination of mystery, thriller, and horror goes inside the darkness of the mind. Gothic

Encroaching evil threatens the lives and sanity of realistic characters. Often more literary in style and set in historic locales and/or the contemporary American South. Monsters

Whether they come from this world or another, these threatening and often misunderstood creatures are the centerpiece of the story. Paranormal

Disembodied spirits linger after death and disturb the living. These tales may also include haunted houses, mediums, and important connections to the past. Occult

Satanic and other dark religious forces invade everyday reality. Possession, biblical prophecies, deals with the devil, and black magic are common themes. Aliens Mad Creations Werewolves Beasts Zombies Vampires
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