As we begin to develop a literary work, choosing a genre is often the first step. Different genres have specific features that distinguish them from one another, and their function is to give readers an idea of the topics that will be discussed or the themes presented.
Readers who follow specific genres often have certain story expectations, especially when they have enjoyed similar stories in the past. Therefore, a story marked with an incorrect genre could make these readers confused or disappointed. To writers, you can use this to your advantage, as the boundaries are models on which to base your stories.
As we all know, romance is currently the largest genre of fiction and it is also the most popular on Dreame. Stories will involve a romantic relationship between two or more people. The bulk of the plot must focus on these main characters falling in love, and struggling to maintain that love. They can be apart for most or some of the story, but normally end up together at some point. Sensual tension, desire, and romanticism are the obvious themes represented in these kinds of stories.
Although its core is about the love between two people, other elements can exist in these stories that combine with other genres; for example, werewolves/vampires, billionaire, paranormal, and fantasy. As there is a wide range of such categories within the genre, it is advisable to learn the “formulas” that will make stories suitable for different romantic fiction lovers.
According to the tags on Dreame, below are brief definitions and examples to help clarify what sets different types of stories apart. The list is not completed, as there are so many other small sub-genres and crossover genres it would be impossible to list them all.
a) Elements or setting: Fantasy, Paranormal, etc.
b) Character type: Billionaire, Werewolf/Vampire, etc.
c) Characters’ age: Teen fiction, etc.
d) Audience’s sexual orientation: LGBT+, etc.
e) Characters’ experience: Steamy stories, etc.
Fantasy stories are mainly set in imaginary worlds where magic, magical creatures, and/or some other violation of physical laws are present. It often involves a struggle between good and evil. Example books include: A Slave to the Dragon King and The Innocent Mate of A Dragon.
Paranormal stories have some similar parts to fantasy, like certain elements beyond the range of scientific explanation, but are often set in the real world. For example, stories set on earth that include things like angels, demons, ghosts, psychics, etc. Example books include: Bear's to Mate and Dragon's Heir.
Billionaire stories mainly focus on building up a hero who is wealthy and/or powerful. The most typical model is a "Cinderella story," involving a heroine who is often poorer or has a lower social class than the hero. Example books include: His Purchased Wife and Resisting My Billionaire Husband.
Werewolf/Vampire, in fact, could be included in Paranormal, however, due to its specific character setting and popularity on Dreame, we gave it its own genre. There is often a relationship with a supernatural being, such as a vampire, werewolf, or other shapeshifters. It usually involves some typical settings such as Alpha, Beta, Omega, Luna, Rouge, Mate, etc. Example books include: His Mate And His Mistress, Alpha's Hybrid Mate, The Vampire Prince's Blood Slave, and Faded Dreams.
Teen fiction stories are mainly focused on character growth in the teenager protagonist. It typically includes themes such as friendship, school, first love, depression, suicide, drugs, etc. Example books include: The School Bully and The Bad Boy Next Door.
LGBT+ stories mainly focus on the experiences of gender and sexual minorities as a product of the broad gay liberation movement. Example books include: Love Begins On The Basketball Court and He’s My Mother.
Steamy stories focus mainly on sexual feelings. It usually comprises a passionate, romantic, or sexual relationship, which intends to arouse similar feelings in its readers. Example books include Doctor Vagina and Teach me, daddy.
After getting to know the differences among genres and what “formulas” are involved, you should then take these into consideration when choosing the genre for your book. However, some of you may still have questions to ask before picking up the pen. So here are a few questions and answers for your reference:
What genre should I choose? Which genre would be most popular?
If you have no ideas, you could study the market first and read popular books on our platform. Use this as inspiration to choose a genre that most appeals to you and build a story idea from that. There is no “best” genre; everyone has a favorite. You could choose the most suitable genre for you and use writing techniques to make your story become the most recognizable in its category.
Can I decide the genre while I’m writing the book or after I finish?
According to most writers, choosing the genre before writing is more helpful. It doesn’t mean that you limit your ideas; your book doesn’t have to fit solely into one genre. But choosing the correct genre is important to get your book into the hands of readers who are most likely to enjoy it.
How do I know whether the story I wrote meets the genre requirements?
First, get to know about basic writing techniques and “formulas” followed in the genre of your choice. For example, if your story is set in the real world while the most prominent aspect that makes the plot development is the interaction between two paranormal creatures, you should choose Paranormal. However, if the paranormal creatures are specifically “Werewolves/Vampires,” you might want to choose the “Werewolf/ Vampire” genre.
What genre should I choose if my books include many of the different elements mentioned above?
a) Identify the genre that will enable your ideal reader to most easily find your book.
b) Imply the sub-genre with comparative titles if necessary.
How can I write a great romantic story?
If you want your novel to stand out within its genre, the best way is to make some kind of unique setting or element in your novel. Sometimes, bending the conventions or rules is acceptable too. For example, the kind of hero used in the book “Alpha's Hybrid Mate” is different from the typical, powerful heroes in many other books. The heroine in this book is presented as the strongest character, which leaves readers with a deep impression.
On the other hand, the goals and complications of the plot are important in a good romantic story as well. You have to be clear about the plot points and build logical development for situations when outlining your story. Thus, when the plot points emerge, readers will be plunged into one by one uncertainty and would want to continue reading to find out what happens.
However, the two aspects mentioned above are not the only possibilities. For more writing techniques, you can continue reading our guidebook to learn more about them.
To summarise, if you’re a beginner, please be clear what kind of book you want to write and pick only one genre when you start the story. It will help you match the ideal readers that will most appreciate the elements of your writing and make more “reads” and “like” for your story.
This article comes from the Dreame Writing Guide, a guidebook that provides writers some writing techniques on creating online novels. It includes three parts that guide you through writing a book: a. preparation before writing; b. ideas and solutions you can draw from; c. how to earn likes from readers.
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