How to Find Your Genre

Most authors have a favorite genre. Notice I don’t say they only have ONE genre because no author really pigeonholes themselves into one genre. High fantasy of Tolkien also includes tragic elements and romance. Stephen King writes in horror, thriller, and drama. JK Rowling writes fantasy mixed with elements of romance, drama, tragedy, and urban settings. No story can be told solely within one genre. Then it wouldn’t be a story. It’d be a 2D world. Sure, authors might have a favorite genre, a genre that you write in to get out of writer’s block, the genre you always wanted to write in ever since you were a little kid. So, in that vein, here are a few tips on how to find your favorite genre.

  1. Free write. The stories you find yourself free-writing the most are not entirely in one genre. Sometimes, free-writing tends to look like diary entries. But look closer. What elements of genre do you see in there? Is there a fantastical element? Horror?
  2. Don’t pressure yourself into only picking one genre. You can have a favorite genre. But your genre does NOT define you as a writer. It’s a guideline, not a hard and fast rule.
  3. Try and remember what your favorite books are. What have you been reading a lot of lately? What genre are those books mostly in?
  4. What did you read as a little kid? Sometimes reading habits change, but your inner child has a large say on what’s important in your life. Though, remember, no one thing defines you. It’s just a guide.
  5. If you could pick a music soundtrack for the book/story you’re writing, what would that song be? Now what genre story would that song fit best in?
  6. Do some research on genres. Obviously, a lot of genres tend to step on each other’s toes. For example, nobody quite knows where paranormal is in relation to fantasy. But it’s nice to know the general trend.
  7. Try and find other authors whose work is similar to yours. What genre are they in?
  8. What authors/genres do you take inspiration from?
  9. What genre(s) do you WANT to be in?
  10. Ask yourself number nine again, be honest with yourself, and see if you’re happy with your results.

Leave a Comment