Genre Writing in Fiction: Pros, Cons & Practical Guide
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


  1. What is genre writing in fiction?
  2. Pros of genre writing
  3. Cons of genre writing
  4. How to choose a genre
  5. How to research for genre writing
  6. Writing techniques for genre fiction
  7. Editing tips for genre writing
  8. Publishing and marketing genre fiction

Have you ever wondered why some books feel like old friends, while others strike you as strangely alien? It's all about genre. Genre writing in fiction, to be precise. But what are its pros and cons? And how can you, as a writer, navigate these to your advantage? This blog aims to shed light on the merits and demerits of genre writing in fiction, guide you through choosing your genre, researching for your writing, developing your writing techniques, editing your work, and even marketing your final masterpiece. So, let's dive right in!

What is genre writing in fiction?

Let's start with a simple definition. Genre writing in fiction refers to crafting stories within specific categories, like mystery, romance, or sci-fi. Think of it as boxing your narrative into a specific set of rules and expectations that readers have for that type of story. Now, this might sound restrictive, but hey, rules are meant to be broken, right? You can always experiment and blend genres to create your unique tale. For instance, if you're writing a romance novel, your readers may expect a happy ending. However, a twist of fate could lead to a tragic end, giving your story a touch of the unexpected. So, genre writing is about both meeting and subverting expectations.

Why does genre matter?

Genre is like a secret code between you and your reader. If you've picked up a murder mystery, you know you're in for a thrilling ride. You're mentally prepared for twists and turns, for red herrings and shocking revelations. Similarly, if you're curling up with a classic romance, you're not expecting bloodthirsty vampires (unless it’s a paranormal romance, of course!). So, genre helps set the tone and mood of your story, and it also gives your reader an idea of what to expect. But everything is not rosy here. There are certain merits and demerits of genre writing in fiction that we need to consider, which is what we'll delve into next.

Pros of genre writing

So, let's jump into the benefits of genre writing. What's so great about it anyway?

1. Clear Expectations: The first pro of genre writing is that it sets clear expectations for your readers. When you pick up a sci-fi novel, you expect aliens, spaceships, and futuristic tech. As a writer, knowing these expectations can help you craft a story that your readers will love.

2. Easier Marketing: Genre writing also makes marketing a breeze. If you've written a horror novel, you know exactly who your target audience is. You won't waste time and resources trying to sell your spine-chilling tale to romance enthusiasts!

3. Dedicated Readers: Genre readers are incredibly loyal. Once they find a genre they love, they stick to it. This means if you're writing genre fiction, you have a dedicated audience ready and waiting for your next book.

4. Guidelines to Follow: As a writer, having guidelines can be a blessing. Genre writing provides a roadmap, a list of do's and don'ts that can help you plot and structure your story.

5. Room for Creativity: Now, this may sound contradictory. How can rules foster creativity? Well, think of it this way: having a set pattern or structure can challenge you to think outside the box, to subvert reader expectations in a delightful way. In the world of genre writing, the possibilities are endless.

So, those are some of the merits of genre writing in fiction. But as with most things in life, it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Let's move on to the cons.

Cons of genre writing

With the merits of genre writing in fiction now in plain view, it's time we turned the coin to inspect the other side. What are the pitfalls of genre writing that you might stumble upon?

1. Stereotypes and Tropes: The first demerit of genre writing is the risk of falling into the trap of stereotypes and tropes. It can be a challenge to keep your work original and fresh when the expectations of your genre are so rigidly defined.

2. Limited Scope: Another downside is the restricted scope. You might feel limited by the boundaries of your chosen genre, which can hinder your creative freedom. For instance, if you're writing a romance novel, a sudden alien invasion might not be the most fitting plot twist!

3. Difficulty in Cross-Genre Writing: Genre writing can make it harder to blend elements from different genres. Readers have certain expectations, and if you deviate too much, it could lead to confusion or disappointment.

4. Prejudice: Unfortunately, some genres face prejudice. For example, romance novels often get dismissed as 'fluff', while science fiction is sometimes seen as 'geeky'. This can impact how your work is received.

5. Oversaturation: Lastly, popular genres can be oversaturated. With so many books being published, it can be tough for your work to stand out amidst the crowd.

While these cons might seem daunting, remember that every challenge is an opportunity in disguise. With the right strategies and a dash of creativity, you can turn these demerits of genre writing in fiction into stepping stones on your path to success.

How to choose a genre

Choosing a genre can feel like trying to pick a favorite ice cream flavor at a new ice cream shop. It’s always a tough call, isn't it? But, don't worry. Here are a few pointers to help you choose the right genre for your fiction writing.

1. Identify Your Interests: Start by identifying what you enjoy reading. It's a good bet that if you enjoy reading a particular genre, you'd probably enjoy writing it as well. Just like how you'd probably pick your favorite ice cream flavor.

2. Consider Your Strengths: Reflect on your writing strengths. Perhaps you have a knack for creating tension and suspense, which would work well for thriller or mystery genres. Or maybe you're great at building detailed and imaginative worlds, making you a potential sci-fi or fantasy writer.

3. Experiment: Don't be afraid to try out different genres. Write a short story or a chapter in a genre you're considering. It's a bit like sampling different ice cream flavors before deciding on the one you want.

4. Market Research: Lastly, do some market research. Look at what's selling well, and if it aligns with your interests and strengths, it could be a good choice.

Choosing the right genre is a crucial step in your fiction writing journey. It gives you a roadmap, a set of guidelines that can help shape your story. But remember, while genres can guide you, they shouldn't confine you. So, go ahead, pick your genre, and start writing your masterpiece.

How to research for genre writing

Imagine you're building a house. You wouldn't randomly start hammering nails into planks, would you? Nope, you'd start with a solid foundation. And that's what research is when it comes to genre writing: your foundation. So, how do we lay this foundation? Let's explore.

1. Read Widely: Read as many books as you can in your chosen genre. This helps familiarize you with the common themes, character types, and plot structures. It's like learning the secret recipe of your favorite dish.

2. Understand Your Audience: Research the typical reader for your genre. What do they like? What don't they like? What are their expectations? Knowing your audience is like knowing what your guests prefer to eat before throwing a dinner party.

3. Use Online Resources: The internet is a goldmine of information. Use it to research your genre. There are genre-specific websites, forums, and social media groups filled with people who love the same genre as you. It's like having a study group that's as in love with your genre as you are.

4. Study the Market: Keep an eye on the best-seller lists. Knowing what's selling well can give you an insight into current trends and reader preferences. It's like checking out the most popular dishes at a restaurant.

Remember, every genre has its own nuances and subtleties, its own merits and demerits. So, take the time to research and understand these aspects. It's like getting to know the rules of a game before you play. And who knows? You might just become the next grandmaster of your chosen genre.

Writing techniques for genre fiction

Now that you've built your foundation with solid research, it's time to start constructing your story. But where do you start? Here are a few writing techniques specifically tailored for genre fiction.

1. Embrace the Tropes: Every genre has its own set of tropes. These are elements that readers expect to find in a particular genre. Think of them as your trusty toolbox. Use them wisely, and you'll create a story that feels familiar yet fresh to your readers.

2. Create Interesting Characters: Characters are the heart of any story. Make sure your characters are well developed and relatable. They should be real enough that your readers could imagine bumping into them at the grocery store.

3. Keep the Pace Moving: Genre fiction, whether it's a thrilling mystery or a sweeping romance, needs to keep readers turning the pages. Make sure your story has a good balance of action, dialogue, and description to keep things moving.

4. Stay True to Your Genre: This goes back to understanding the merits and demerits of genre writing in fiction. Stick to the expectations of your genre while adding your unique spin. It's like cooking a classic dish but adding your personal touch to make it stand out.

Remember, writing is a craft. And like any craft, it takes practice. So, keep writing, keep refining, and most importantly, keep enjoying the process. After all, you're creating worlds from scratch. And that's nothing short of magical, don't you think?

Editing tips for genre writing

Once you've written your genre fiction masterpiece, it's natural to feel like celebrating. But hold on. Before you pop the cork on that champagne, there's still an important step left—editing. Here are some tips to help you polish your work to a high shine.

1. Take a Break: It might seem counterintuitive, but the first step of editing is not editing. Take a break from your manuscript. This will give you the fresh eyes you need to spot any inconsistencies, plot holes, or awkward sentences.

2. Check for Genre Consistency: While editing, ensure your story stays true to its genre. This means checking that the tone, style, and content align with the expectations of the genre. Remember our discussion on the merits and demerits of genre writing in fiction? Keeping the genre's conventions in mind during the editing process can help you avoid potential pitfalls.

3. Trim the Fat: Cut out unnecessary words, sentences, and even entire scenes that don't contribute to the plot or character development. It might be painful to cut out that beautifully written paragraph, but if it doesn't serve the story, it needs to go.

4. Read Aloud: Reading your work aloud can help you spot awkward sentences and clunky dialogue. If it doesn't sound natural when spoken, chances are it won't read naturally either.

Editing is an essential step in the writing process. It's where your story evolves from a rough diamond to a sparkling gem. So, grab that red pen, take a deep breath, and dive in. Your story will thank you for it.

Publishing and marketing genre fiction

Alright, you've done the hard work of writing and editing your genre fiction novel. Now what? It's time to share it with the world, of course! Let's talk about publishing and marketing your work.

1. Traditional vs. Self-Publishing: Traditional publishing involves working with a publishing house that takes care of the editing, cover design, distribution, and marketing. Self-publishing, on the other hand, means you're in charge of these tasks. Both have their own merits and demerits when it comes to genre writing in fiction, so you'll need to consider which route suits your needs best.

2. Building Your Author Platform: Regardless of how you choose to publish, having an author platform is vital. This can include a website, blog, or social media accounts where you can engage with readers and promote your work.

3. Genre-Specific Marketing: Marketing a genre fiction book involves targeting readers who enjoy that specific genre. This can mean joining online genre-specific communities, attending genre conferences, or advertising in genre-specific magazines or websites.

4. Book Covers and Blurb: Never underestimate the power of a captivating book cover and an engaging blurb. They can draw readers in and compel them to buy your book. Make sure they clearly convey the genre of your book.

5. Reviews and Word-of-Mouth: Encourage your readers to leave reviews. Positive reviews can significantly boost your book sales. Also, don't shy away from asking your readers to recommend your book to others. Word-of-mouth is an incredibly powerful marketing tool.

Remember, publishing and marketing involve as much creativity and dedication as the writing process itself. It might feel daunting, but with patience and persistence, you can get your genre fiction book into the hands of eager readers. Good luck!

If you're intrigued by the world of genre writing and want to expand your skills even further, consider checking out 'Scriptwriting' workshop by Jessy Moussallem. This workshop will help you hone your storytelling abilities and apply them to the exciting world of scriptwriting, which shares many similarities with genre writing in fiction. Don't miss out on this fantastic opportunity to learn from an industry expert and take your writing to new heights!