What Genre Is My Story? Why the Answer Matters

by Sue Weems | 38 comments

The first time I wrote a novel, I didn’t think about the literary genre until the first draft was done, and I began trying to untangle my mess in revision. I hadn't asked, “What genre is my story?” After two painful years (mostly comprised of avoidance, procrastination, and general despair), I hired a developmental editor who began our first phone call by asking, “What kind of book is this?” and “Who is your ideal reader?”

Want to Write Better Stories? Research Your Genre

“It’s for everyone,” I said.

“No, it isn’t,” she said in a kind, but firm voice. Within minutes, I realized I had skipped a clarifying question that would guide every step of the book process from the plot and characters to cover design and marketing. The question?

What genre is my book?

I needed to know what type of book I was writing. Historical fiction? Paranormal romance? Urban fantasy? Literary mystery? Psychological thriller? The genre matters. 

Genre appears simple on the surface: writing with similar form or characteristics. We’re familiar with genres like mystery, romance, horror, and science fiction. But it’s more: Genre is a promise to the reader, and more specifically, it’s a series of promises.

Some writers think identifying and writing to a genre kills their Muse’s Unicorn Magic. Not so.

Think of it this way: Good writing is a lot like giving a tour. Readers buy books to take the tour. If I hire a tour guide to take me around Paris, I expect to see Paris. Not London. Not Berlin.

While those are lovely places, that is not where the tour guide said we were going, and it isn’t what I paid for. There’s nothing I appreciate more than visiting a city for the second or third or twentieth time and getting a great tour from someone who surprises and delights me by showing me the city in a new way.

Good writing is like that.

Who is my reader? What do they expect?

My creative writing students are often surprised when I tell them to begin their story research on Amazon. I ask them what my developmental editor asked me: “What type of story is this? Where would the reader look for it on Amazon? What book category is it most like?”

Some writers tell me they are only writing for themselves, but I guarantee when they finish a story the first thing they say is, “Will you read this?” to everyone within hearing distance. I do the same thing. This is why I need to clarify genre as soon as possible, so I know what promises to make and keep for my readers.

Here are two specific ways to start. Ask yourself:

  • What other book / film / tv show is my book like (or most like)?
  • Where would my book fit on the shelf at the bookstore? (even if it straddles two shelves)

It won’t be exact, and that’s okay. Once you have a category, look at the summaries of several books or films in that genre. What patterns do you see? Hopefully you have read (or watched) broadly in that genre, so if possible, think through the plot progression. What are the key scenes? How does the main character change? What kinds of complications cause conflict? What role does the setting play?

What does genre research look like?

If I have a book that is similar to the show Murder She Wrote, I might break it down like this:

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Key scenes: intro sleuth, dead body (or puzzle) scene, sleuth takes the case, clues, misdirection, clues, sleuth solves it, traps killer, justice
Main character change: Sleuth won’t change necessarily, but we’ll see new sides of the sleuth and community
Complications: red herrings (false clues), people lying, misdirection, another death, etc.
Setting: usually small, complex communities
Other conventions: a cozy will have no explicit sex, language, gore, etc.

If I get stuck writing my book, I can look at what a cozy mystery usually promises and use it to keep me moving forward. If I know my reader expects a dead body, I can deliver it in a way that is unexpected. (Wait, maybe that wasn’t the best example.)

Note: Sometimes a story draws from more than one genre, which can work, but make sure the primary genre is clear or you risk sending mixed signals to the reader. 

But isn’t genre just a bunch of clichés? I want to be original!

Have you heard of Shakespeare? The fellow wrote around ten tragedies (in addition to the comedies, histories, sonnets, etc.) for the stage and every single one begins with some noble person in trouble for their pride and ends with dead bodies littered across the stage. The eighteen or so comedies he wrote all begin in chaos and end in order with a marriage.

The same is true for us. If you know the most common devices in your book genre, write them down and use them to create small twists or turns that take the story new places within the boundaries. (Even in literary fiction, writers usually use some external control to guide the story. Consider James Joyce who used Homer’s Odyssey as a structure for Ulysses.)

I talk to writers all the time who are paralyzed because they don’t want to write clichés. So write them down and then revise them. We’re writers! We revise!

Haven’t started your book yet? Ask “What Genre is My Story?” Now

You can still use genre research to guide your process, even if you are a pantser who hates outlines. In fact, you may even find you have more fun writing when you have a few signposts along the way to keep the story on track. (Last ditch plea: As a recovering pantser, I can tell you it will save you hundreds of hours (and pages!) in revision to clarify genre early on.)

Once I identified the genre of my floundering novel as YA, coming-of-age science fiction, I understood what scenes had to be cut and what my protagonist needed to do to grow up by the end. I understood where my book would fit on a bookshelf and what the cover would need to look like to find the right readers. I figured out how make the right promises from page one to orient the reader.

When I was stuck in the middle? I knew to find complications that forced her to act on her own instead of depending on older figures in the novel to reinforce the coming-of-age theme.

Genre Clarifies Revision

When I was working through revision and couldn't figure out why a scene wasn't working, I realized that I had some misplaced genre elements that either needed to be cut or revised significantly to better fit the story I was telling. 

And far from restricting my process, knowing the genre actually clarified and focused my direction for revision. I don't want to throw in magical elements if I haven't established a genre that uses them. If I set up a romantic relationship (even as a subplot), I had better deliver on that promise by the end (or alternately thwart it and crush everyone). 

By the way, nonfiction book research works the same way. Go see where your book fits in the market.  You need to know who you are writing for and how to meet their expectations and needs. What types of books are most like the one you are writing?

It’s worth an hour of research to clarify the question your first editor is going to ask, “What kind of book is this?” Don’t be like me—have an answer ready.

Want to read more about genre? Check out Save the Cat by Blake Snyder (ch. 2 especially) and The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne.

Have you researched your genre? How has that research helped your writing? Let us know in the comments.

PRACTICE

Take one of the following scenarios and write it as a short scene to fit a genre, but don’t tell us the genre. Let us guess based on the promises you make with character, setting, and other details. Scenarios:

  • Boarding a bus / train / boat
  • Choosing a gift
  • Pushing a stroller

Write for fifteen minutes. When you're done, share your scene in the Pro Practice Workshop here, and don't forget to comment on a few other writers' works. Can you guess what genre they used?

Sue Weems is a writer, teacher, and traveler with an advanced degree in (mostly fictional) revenge. When she’s not rationalizing her love for parentheses (and dramatic asides), she follows a sailor around the globe with their four children, two dogs, and an impossibly tall stack of books to read. You can read more of her writing tips on her website.

38 Comments

  1. Nicole

    I know I enjoy writing what I enjoy reading: underdog suffering misunderstandings/injustice, hurt and comfort science fiction (mostly humans with powers or fighting the supernatural), but I have no idea where that fits on a bookshelf. Guess I need to look around a little.

    Reply
    • Sue

      That’s what I did, Nicole. I began to go look at the categories for the books I loved to read most. It gave me a starting place.

    • Nicole Moller Knatcal

      Thanks for your article, I’ve found it very helpful!

    • drjeane

      This is a great idea, looking into what you enjoy reading. I find my interests vary a great deal, but know that two of my favorite genres (legal thrillers, and horror novels in the Steven King tradition) for reading are not ones I would feel competent writing. I do enjoy historical fiction, which is the genre that is currently calling to me for writing.

    • Nicole Moller Knatcal

      Yes, my interest can vary too, but I tend to gravitate toward fantasy. My only issue with a lot of books in that genre is too many characters to keep up with.

    • Grace V. Robinette

      Nicole, look up the page in the front of those books you enjoy, where the publishers details can be found. They include the genre category that particular book fits into. Thank you for writing this comment – I hadn’t realised that I also need to do this research to determine my own genre range.

    • Nicole Moller Knatcal

      Great tip! Thank you! I didn’t know the genre category would be listed in the book itself and that is extremely helpful!

  2. retrogeegee

    Cheryl bent over to review the neat row of yellow and green boxes , open at the top with well folded infant clothes and accessories with criss cross ribbons of contrasting colors. All the selections seemed attractive enough in their presentations but so boring in their contents, at least those that were in price range. Buying a gift for Charlene’s baby shower made her quite nervous. She knew two absolutes. Charlene had high standards of impeccable taste and a gazillion relatives who could whip home made items fit for royalty. On Cheryl’s limited budget the most sensible thing she could buy was a carton of diapers which would be useful if not memorable. For the price of one the fancy boxed items which might be worn once or twice in the first three months she could buy her friend a box a diapers which would both mother and child hours of comfort but little recognition of lasting import for the gift giver. What to do, Oh what to do???

    A loud crash and suddenly the entire store was dark. Cheryl’s heart went, “Thump thump thump” as small cries of “What’s happening?” and “Oh my God” and varying tones of children whimpering began to assail Cheryl’s ears.

    My fifteen minutes is up. Can you guess my intended genre?

    Reply
    • Sue

      Love this! Cheryl’s dilemma comes through clearly (and may I say as a mother of four: buy the diapers, Cheryl- HA!). The first paragraph I would have been leaning toward women’s fiction, but with the store thrown into darkness, I’m wondering if we’re veering into mystery. I hope you’ll keep exploring. Thanks for sharing here!

    • retrogeegee

      Thank you for the prompt and I was going for a Christian mystery genre, but certainly in women’s fiction Christian mystery mode. I think I will take your advice and keep exploring……You really think diapers would be best? lol

  3. Bruce Carroll

    Akiko ran along the pier, making her way through the crowd as best she could. Most of the people moved out of her way, but she bumped into some of them. She would have apologized, but she didn’t have time.

    Her pursuers were right behind her.

    To her right, she could hear someone speaking clearly, as if to a crowd. “While the Windy is a sailing vessel, harbor regulations require us to use a motor within the harbor.”

    He sounded close. Over the sounds of the crowd and her own beating heart she could hear the motor and the lapping of the waves against the hull. Surely they were underway.

    Without breaking her stride, she called out. “Ahoy! Ahoy there!” She waved her arms above her head. “Ahoy!”

    She could hear some murmurs and chuckles from the passengers. The man who had been speaking called back, “Ahoy!”

    She quickly judged the distance to the ship and the height of the deck above the water. She reached to her right and found the railing with her fingertips. She scrabbled over the railing and jumped for the ship.

    It was surprising how much went through her mind in the seconds she was airborne. Here she was, jumping for a target she could not see, relying solely on her faith in her other senses. She recalled a Bible story about blind Bartimaeus, who leapt into the street when Jesus passed by. “A leap of faith,” the pastor had called it. That what it was like. She was Bartimaeus, leaping blindly. That is, if Bartimaeus had been a sixteen-year-old girl being chased by assassins. And Jesus had been a sailing ship. And the street had been Lake Michigan.

    Then she slammed against the side of the ship, her fingers barely catching the gunwhales. The impact knocked the wind out of her.

    She wondered if she could be prosecuted as a stowaway. She certainly didn’t have any money to pay for a ticket.

    A gunshot rang out behind her.

    Great. She had only been trying to save her own life. Now she had put innocent people in danger.

    On the deck, someone screamed.

    Reply
    • Sue

      I’m guessing YA thriller (inspirational/Christian). The clues I used included tempo (fast moving action), character (16 yr old girl running), and details (thriller- assassins and gunshot, Christian- Bartimaeus and Jesus). I loved the driving motion of the language throughout her run down the pier, as well as the way you slowed it while she was in the air with the allusion to Bartimaeus. Interesting name–if I’m not mistaken, Akiko means “sparkle” or “light.” I wonder if she is already the light or the story will help her take hold of her name. Great story seed here, Bruce. Thanks for sharing your practice!

    • Bruce Carroll

      YA thriller is correct. Interestingly, I have not included any Biblical references in this story until I wrote this exercise. I’m not sure why I haven’t included one before, nor why I put one in now. I’ll have to think about this more.

      Akiko is a Japanese American, and her name has many possible meanings which would only be made clear by the Kanji (the way the name is written). While Akiko herself doesn’t know Japanese, you are correct. Her name means “sparkle,” “light,” or “bright-shining child.” It is an ironic name, since she is blind. I hope you picked up on that as you read my piece!

    • LilianGardner

      I enjoyed your post, Bruce. You did a fine job of increasing suspence with each action, hooking me up to read to the end. I’d love to know what will happen next.
      Thanks for sharing.

    • Bruce Carroll

      Thanks. Me, too, which is the biggest reason the story isn’t finished yet.

  4. Jason Bougger

    Yes. THere are so many reasons to research your genre. First, you don’t want to fill your novel with cliches that make it look amateur, and second, if you’re not familiar with the genre you’re writing, you won’t know if your idea has been done to death already, making an editor say “Thanks, but I’ve seen it way too many times.”

    Reply
    • Sue

      So true, Jason. Knowing the market is important. One of the benefits of reading is hearing all the narrative voices that define and differentiate the genre.

  5. Sienna Eskildsen

    My target audience, when I take the time to think about it, is always my biggest problem. Thankfully, and unfortunately depending on how you view this, I hardly think about it.

    Reply
  6. TerriblyTerrific

    I like things to be categorized, official. I want to know exactly what I am reading. Thank you for this article.

    Reply
    • Sue

      You’re welcome! Thanks for stopping by to read and comment.

  7. Karley

    ‘The Wheels On The Bus Go Round and Round’ echoed cyclically and relentlessly in her mind; but whether this tune came from a place of mockery or irony, she could not be certain. Certainty was an illusion that she had not the luxury of. Her eyes covertly observed the stroller’s wheels turning over and over again. Whoosh, pause. Whoosh, pause. They effortlessly performed a steady motion and rhythm that was so predictable- like your favorite song’s chorus lines, where you knew exactly what to expect and when. Predictability was extraordinarily underrated, in her opinion. Oh, how she longed for her brain to somehow reprogram itself. Never mind other people’s natural ability to do so…but if a brainless invention such as a stroller, she reckoned, could be capable of such power: then why couldn’t she, as well?
    Her train of thought jolted and derailed at the sound of the neighbor’s voice.
    “Hey there Mary Beth!” she shouted, unnecessarily amiable, in her opinion.
    “Oh, hello Becky. How do you do?”
    “I am just great! The kids are having so much fun in basketball and tennis, and well as for me, my garden is just absolutely blooming like you would not believe. You see, I have this secret trick I do where I….”
    Becky droned on about something for what seemed to be a very long time. Mary Beth didn’t have on a watch, but she knew a long time had passed because her legs began to get all tingly. That tended to happen when she stood too stiff for too long a while. She shifted uncomfortably when Becky remembered she had some real important errand to go run, and excused herself.
    Mary Beth was relieved. She didn’t know what she and the baby would be doing next, but she was positive that it ought to not concern Becky, or her big mouth. She continued to push the steady stroller up the unpaved sidewalk.

    Reply
    • Sue

      My favorite line was this one: “but whether this tune came from a place of mockery or irony, she could not be certain.” I love all the cycles you exploit here from the song in the opening to the droning of the neighbor causing tell-tale tingling in the legs. As I was thinking about this prompt, I imagined the times in my life when things have seemed absolutely mundane and repetitive and how the best surprises often come from those moments precisely because they are unexpected. I hope Mary Beth and the baby take the unpaved sidewalk on a new adventure. Thanks for sharing your practice. (I’m guessing women’s fiction for genre.)

  8. nancy

    Reader expectations are huge. I wrote what I thought was historical fiction. You can imagine how much research that takes to get it right. After two years, I learned that historical fiction topics must be at least 50 years old. Mine topic happened less than 30 years ago. So then I had to find a new genre. I’m still revising.

    Reply
    • Sue

      I didn’t realize that, Nancy. So anything within 50 years would fall into contemporary then? Interesting. Thanks for reading and sharing your experience.

  9. Colleen Wood

    Gloria griped the rubber handles of the covered jogging stroller, her palms sweaty and slippery. As she raced along the hot sidewalk, the sun glaring into her eyes, she felt a familiar movement. Pausing, she jerked the stroller sharply. She felt a tumble as an ‘ooph’ emitted from it bowels. As she turned onto Fifth Avenue, waiting with throngs of New Yorkers for the DON’T WALK signal to change, a muffled voice asked for some water. She reached into a diaper bag and shoved a 2 liter bottle of Pepsi into the stroller.
    “Are you supposed to give babies soda?” said a tall woman in a next to Gloria.
    “Mind your own damn business,” said a gravelly voice.
    “Who was that?” said the woman.
    Before Gloria could think of something plausible, the sound of soda hissing and spraying came from the stroller. A tiny man emerged, Pepsi dripping from his miniature physique.
    “I quit!” he said, throwing the spitting bottle at Gloria’s head as she ducked. It hit the tall woman, knocking her hat to the ground. “If you think I’m helping you hold up a jewelry store now, you’re crazy!”
    “Charlie, wait!” said Gloria.
    She and forty other people watched him stomp away as he tore off a little t-shirt that said, ‘Mother’s precious angel’.
    “They grow up so quickly,” said Gloria, looking around with apprehension. She turned and ran toward Charlie.
    The siganl changed. The abandoned stroller rolled into the street, underneath the tire of a black Escalade inching its way into the intersection. The driver stopped, raced from the car toward the stroller, fear glazing his face. He pulled out 17 wallets, three watches and a copy of Nudist’s Delight. He rooted around a few seconds more, looking for a baby, his arms sticky with Pepsi.
    I’ll be damned,”

    Reply
  10. Colleen Wood

    Gloria griped the rubber handles of the covered jogging stroller, her palms sweaty and slippery. As she raced along, the hot sidewalk blinding her eyes, she felt a thump. Pausing, she jerked the stroller sharply. She felt a tumble, as an ‘oomph’ emitted from its bowels. As she turned onto Fifth Avenue, waiting with throngs of New Yorkers for the DON’T WALK signal to change, a muffled voice asked for some water. She reached into the diaper bag swinging from one of the handles and shoved a 2 liter bottle of Pepsi into the stroller.
    “Are you supposed to give babies soda?” said a tall woman in a next to Gloria.
    “Mind your own damn business,” said a gravelly voice.
    “Who was that?” said the woman.
    Before Gloria could think of something plausible, the sound of soda hissing and spraying filled the air, momentarily drowning out horns and engines. A tiny man swung his legs out of the stroller, Pepsi dripping from his miniature physique.
    “I quit!” he said, throwing the sputtering bottle at Gloria’s head. She ducked. It hit the tall woman, knocking her to the ground.
    “If you think I’m helping you hold up a jewelry store now, you’re crazy!” His bald head shone in the July heat.
    “Charlie, wait!” she said. The crowd watched him stomp away as he tore off a pint-sized t-shirt that said, ‘Mother’s precious angel’.
    “They grow up so quickly,” said Gloria, apprehensively. She shoved the stroller into the intersection, turned and ran toward him.
    The signal changed. The abandoned stroller was caught underneath the bumper of a black Escalade. The driver stopped, racing to the stroller, fear glazing his face. He plunged his hands in to pull out the child. Instead, he found 17 wallets, three watches and a copy of Nudist’s Delight. He rooted around a few seconds more, looking for a baby, his arms sticky with Pepsi. He looked around, folded up the stroller, stuffed it into the trunk and drove away.

    Reply
    • Sue

      This is terrific– died laughing at this part: “pint-sized t-shirt that said, ‘Mother’s precious angel’.

      “They grow up so quickly,” said Gloria, apprehensively.” So many great sensory details– I was there watching along in disbelief.

    • Colleen Wood

      Thank you! I wrote a weekly humor column for 9 years and it’s difficult for me not to incorporate humor in my work. Life is serious and way too short not to laugh.

    • drjeane

      I love the inclusion of humor in this. It is one aspect of writing I struggle with, but delight in finding it in other’s writing.

      I’m not sure about the genre of this piece – it could be moving toward the mystery genre, but there are other possible directions – perhaps legal thriller?

  11. Glorie

    The entirety of the walls were rusted over, along with the intense fall colors all around, it felt like a sea of fire and blood, my skin hot with it. The closer I got to the abandoned station the further away reality felt. It was strange to think I was entering this surreal space to get closer to the truth. A paradox.

    “Hey, pay attention to where yer steppin…” Derek growled at me from behind. “Now isn’t time for daydreamin’, look where yer puttin’ yer feet.”

    “Yah, I know. Sorry.” I muttered an insincere apology, taking in the sight around me. “Why would she have come all the way out here?”

    When I turned to look at him he was staring hard at the next car up. “Think we can manage to get that lock open? Probably rusted shut, ‘magine.”

    I saw where he was staring, and realized quickly that the trek up through this train car was going to be a treacherous one, and for the first time out in the woods I felt frightened. But I had to do this, for my little niece. I thought of her petite size, only 11 years of age, eyes big and blue and always watching… if I was scared out here, what in the hell must she be feeling?”

    “Maybe she didn’t come out here on her own.” Derek’s voice was quiet, careful. “You have to consider the possibility that she-“

    “I already talked to the police about this, and I don’t want to even discuss it.” I raised an eyebrow at him, doing my best to act like I wasn’t completely frantic at the idea that she could have been taken, instead of simply leaving on her own accord because of the fights we’d been having. Losing your mother can really mess you up, I imagine… I know losing my sister made me different… perhaps Sarah and I just didn’t like each other anymore. The thought made my head hurt. “Sarah’s a smart kid, and she’s an angry one too. She just ran off to give me a scare, that’s all, make me come chasing after her. It worked.”

    Once we’d reached the next car up I stood on my tip toes against the railing and peered inside, and what I got a look at hit me like a bus, so hard I fell back on to the metal spoke sticking out from the busted up balcony. I saw the blood through my shirt before feeling anything. Derek looked me over I’m guessing, I couldn’t speak, all I could see was the dingy train car with nothing but men’s clothes drying, a makeshift woodstove, books… a living space. A living space with one large mattress, and a camera pointing directly at it.

    “The blanket… it’s stained.” Derek sounded ill.

    “But it’s empty. Right?” He nodded and I started to cry. “Is it what I think?”

    “Color of rust, it’s definitely blood.” He bent back down, staring at me sideways as he helped put pressure on my side, the wound started to decrease it’s flow. I just had to be careful. “Second thoughts on talkin’ to the police, Liz?”

    “Just get them out here, now, call.”

    I felt her in the woods just then, a soft word, a song I couldn’t quite remember, and for the first time the reality hit. Sarah, my little niece, my love and all that’s left of my family… was she gone?

    Reply
    • Sue

      The colors in this come through so clearly– such a striking and chilling parallel to the action. Thanks for sharing your practice. (Genre guess: suspense/ mystery)

    • Glorie

      Thank you so much for the wonderful prompt! And yes, you are 100% right on the genre, and knowing I have some sort of a grasp on it makes me feel so much better about the novel I’m working on. Love this page, btw, really helpful in a lot of ways

    • drjeane

      I agree with the genre being suspense/mystery. My attention was definitely captured by this intro. I want to read the rest of the book.

    • Glorie

      Thank you, maybe one day I’ll be able to write the rest of this story!! 🙂

    • Grace V. Robinette

      What happened? Did they find Sarah? Keep writing!

    • Glorie

      I haven’t figured that out yet lol. It’s sort of an off-shoot of a novel I’m working on, but it seems like a pretty good start to another novel!! I will keep writing, keep an eye out 🙂

  12. agomonee barbaruah

    He went into the jewellery store. He had seen the ad about 20% discounts on diamond jewellery, in the morning paper. This was it. He would buy the goddamn ring and give it to her in the evening. All he had to do was drop the kids off at the grandparents so he could have her to himself. Once the diamond got her attention, she wouldn’t realise if it was a divorce paper or the sale of her soul that she signed.
    “Good evening sir! What would you like to see?” asked the overtly courteous salesman.
    “I saw the ad in the paper today,” he began.
    “Oh yes, the diamond discount, is it?” the salesman enquired.
    “Yes, yes!” he replied.
    “Please come with me, sir. This way,” said the salesman, leading him to the first floor of the store.
    “Do you mind me asking if it’s for an anniversary or birthday?” the salesman asked.
    “None, really! I just wanted to take advantage of the discount,” he said.
    “Right then! You might like to take a look at the round-cut gold range then, sir,” said the salesman.
    “I need something below 50,000. Your choice!” he said, checking his phone for emails.
    “Uh, but how can I…,” said the salesman sheepishly.
    “Of course you can. Just close your eyes and choose one for me. I’ll take that,” he said.
    “Alright sir,” said the salesman.
    Ten minutes later, he had bought a decent-looking diamond ring for Mou, enough to catch her attention. The first phase of his plan was done.

    Reply
  13. drjeane

    Thank you so much for this post. It is extremely helpful and gives me the beginning process for my next writing project. Researching the genre, which, at this point I think is historical fiction, will be an enjoyable place to start.

    With the novel I wrote some time ago, I was definitely in the category of a “pantser,” answering, “It’s for everyone,” the first time someone asked about my potential audience. At that point the book had already been written and published on Create Space. I’m continuing to learn from my mistakes there and will someday do a revision – with a new cover.

    Meanwhile, my second book (written with my husband) is much easier to categorize, as you will see in the writing sample below. This is not from the book, but captures the general theme in a new way with your prompt.

    Here is my writing from this exercise. I don’t think you’ll have much trouble identifying the genre.

    Boarding a Train

    Boarding the train from Florence’s Santa Maria Novella train station brings sadness as this may be the last time I visit this beautiful city. I’m writing for those of you who have yet to spend time in Italy, sharing our adventures while giving you some practical guidelines on planning your trip and what to put on your “must see” list.

    We’ve been staying in the hills southeast of the city for a full month and ridden the commuter train from Incisa Val’darno into Florence five or six times. It is a forty-five minute ride through countryside that has begun to blossom into spring. The trips early in the month (March) were mostly in shades of gray. Now the chestnut trees are blooming in brilliant white, along with the hackberry bushes. Yellow blossoms decorate some of the fields and the varied greens of grape and olive leaves are filling in the blanks.

    Italy has a seductive quality that lures one into dreaming of staying here permanently, but you can get a taste in a well-planned two week stay. One note about planning. It is important, but don’t get too attached to your plan. Expect to be surprised and improvise as you explore. No plan at all will result in wasting a lot of your precious time here figuring out what to do, but being too attached to your plan will result in missing those special unexpected moments that are sure to make an appearance.

    I’ll give you some practical tips and lists at the end of this book. Come join us on our adventure and begin dreaming of your own.

    Reply

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  7. How To Write A Suspense Novel - […] I’ll address in this article is something quite different — how to write a suspense novel as a genre-based…
  8. How to Write a Book Outline (Even if You're Not a Planner) - […] essential elements vary according to genre. It’s important to include the conventions and obligatory scenes for the type of…
  9. Why Genre Mashups Are Not Just for Music - […] monster; rags to riches; the quest; voyage and return; comedy; tragedy; and rebirth. These are all plots we can…
  10. Why Genre Mashups Are Not Just for Music | rogerpseudonym - […] monster; rags to riches; the quest; voyage and return; comedy; tragedy; and rebirth. These are all plots we can…
  11. Why Genre Mashups Are Not Just for Music – Mr Crappy Lord - […] monster; rags to riches; the quest; voyage and return; comedy; tragedy; and rebirth. These are all plots we can…
  12. How to Sell Books to Someone Other Than Your Mom - […] If you want to sell books to someone other than your mom, you have to study and pinpoint your…
  13. How to Sell Books to Someone Other Than Your Mom | rogerpseudonym - […] If you want to sell books to someone other than your mom, you have to study and pinpoint your…
  14. How to Get Story Ideas From Unexpected Headlines - […] Identifying genre can be a short-cut to creating fresh ideas, simply because you can flip or twist what is…
  15. How to Get Story Ideas From Unexpected Headlines | rogerpseudonym - […] Identifying genre can be a short-cut to creating fresh ideas, simply because you can flip or twist what is…
  16. 3 Writing Challenges That Will Make You a Better Writer - […] writers find a genre and stick to it. This is wise, as many readers do the same thing and…
  17. Cliffhangers: How to Write a Story Your Readers Can't Put Down - […] best way to pull off a successful cliffhanger is to be aware of what the reader wants. Study genre…
  18. 3 Writing Challenges That Will Make You a Better Writer - - […] novelists find a category and stick to it. This is wise, as numerous readers do the same thing and…
  19. How to Research Your Genre to Write Better Stories – Books, Literature & Writing - […] writing knows where I expect to go, and it takes me there in an unexpected way.Tweet thisTweet Who is…
  20. Author Inspiration and This Week’s Writing Links – Staci Troilo - […] Research Genre to Write Better Stories | The Write Practice […]
  21. You Wrote a Novel. Now What Do You Do With It? – Lederto.com Blog - […] Writers are notoriously terrible at determining the genre of their own stories. This is an area where you might…
  22. You Wrote a Novel. Now What Do You Do With It? – Books, Literature & Writing - […] Writers are notoriously terrible at determining the genre of their own stories. This is an area where you might…
  23. What’s the most interesting writing tip you’ve discovered from this post? - […] here’s a shortcut for this step: ask yourself what the story’s genre […]
  24. How to Find the Best Fiction Writing Exercises in Your Favorite Novel - […] here’s a shortcut for this step: ask yourself what the story’s genre […]
  25. 3 Ways to Use the Rule of Three in Writing to Satisfy Readers - […] of these are the genre conventions and obligatory scenes so critical to providing a pleasing experience for the reader.…
  26. Hit the like button if you love this info! - […] of these are the genre conventions and obligatory scenes so critical to providing a pleasing experience for the reader.…
  27. 3 Writing Challenges That Will Make You a Better Writer - - […] writers find a genre and stick to it. This is wise, as many readers do the same thing and…
  28. 3 Writing Challenges That Will Make You a Better Writer – GaleForceNews.com - […] writers find a genre and stick to it. This is wise, as many readers do the same thing and…
  29. 3 Writing Challenges That Will Make You a Better Writer – Charlotte’s Blog - […] writers find a genre and stick to it. This is wise, as many readers do the same thing and…
  30. 3 Writing Challenges That Will Make You a Better Writer – Top News Rocket - […] writers find a genre and stick to it. This is wise, as many readers do the same thing and…
  31. 3 Writing Challenges That Will Make You a Better Writer – The News Stories - […] writers find a genre and stick to it. This is wise, as many readers do the same thing and…
  32. 3 Writing Challenges That Will Make You a Better Writer - News For the Informed! - […] writers find a genre and stick to it. This is wise, as many readers do the same thing and…

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