“Know Your Genre” (no, not an article by Sun Tzu) by Mary Deal

Know Your Genre

by

Mary Deal

Knowing your story’s exact genre is important when submitting your manuscript for acceptance.

Suppose your think you’ve written Literary fiction when, in reality you’ve written Commercial fiction. Your plot makes for a heart-rending true-to-life story. When you send out your manuscript—full of action and a plot that just doesn’t stop—to a Literary fiction agent and get the rejection, you wonder why. And they won’t tell you why. They just don’t have the time to respond to every submission.

For fiction writers, “genre” usually refers to Commercial fiction or Literary fiction. Within these two categories are found many sub-genres.

Commercial fiction is full of action, surprises, and at times, characters that defy reality. This class of fiction is full of excitement as each story propels forward. Story lines are all-important.

Some sub-genres in Commercial fiction are mystery, suspense, thriller, family stories, women’s stories, and adventure.

Another category similar to Commercial fiction is Mainstream fiction, which includes science fiction, fantasy, romance, and some mysteries.

Literary fiction concentrates on the quality of the writing more than the story line. Literary fiction examines the human condition. Unlike Commercial fiction, Literary fiction is not concerned with plot and commercial appeal. How the story is written and elevated prose is all-important.

Many themes can be found in one literary story. They are usually multi-layered, the narration descriptive, with true-to-life characters The narrator is descriptive and characters are as true-to-life as possible.

In that sense, literary techniques may merge with other fiction types to become literary mysteries, thrillers, family sagas and historical.

Be careful to determine into which genre your story fits. It will greatly reduce the number of rejections received when trying to get a manuscript published.

Please visit Mary Deal’s website for more wonderful articles like this one: Write Any Genre.

About Mike Angley

Mike Angley is the award-winning author of the Child Finder Trilogy. He retired as a Colonel from the Air Force in 2007 following a 25-year career as a Special Agent with the Office of Special Investigations (OSI). He held 13 different assignments throughout the world, among which were five tours as a Commander of various units, to include two Air Force Squadrons and a Wing. He is a seasoned criminal investigator and a counterintelligence and counterterrorism specialist. In his last assignment, he was Commander of OSI Region 8 with responsibility for all of Air Force Space Command. He’s fond of saying, “If it entered or exited Earth’s atmosphere, I had a dog in the fight!”
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