Writing Tips

Choosing Your Genre

Genres are those things you learned about in middle school that somehow categorize large numbers of books into one neat pile. Aside from being hard for middle schoolers to pronounce (it’s French for “type” or “kind”), there about a million genres out there and each can be mixed and matched to refer to a specific type of book.

Finding your own niche in the writing world can be hard enough without confining yourself to a specific genre, but understanding what you like to write and what you consider yourself good at writing are also important to becoming a better writer.

A good rule of thumb is that what you like to read is probably what you like to write as well. While it’s different for everyone, most people don’t read books in genres they don’t like, and they don’t write in genres they don’t like either. In order to figure out what you like, take a look at what you read and how you would feel about writing something similar. If you read a lot of YA books, is it something you would be comfortable writing? It may not be – some people prefer to be observers of certain genres instead of attempting it themselves. For example, I do read a lot of YA books, but I rarely write them. Instead, most of what I write is modern contemporary fiction, something I read a lot less of. I couldn’t say why that is, except that I enjoy a spectrum of things.

Sometimes you might feel as though you wouldn’t be good at a certain genre (I know I could never write mysteries), and that’s okay too. Choose what you enjoy and what you feel you could bring something new and interesting to.

Don’t be afraid to try new genres aside from your usual. Take chances and you might find that you’re really good at writing in that new genre. Plenty of big authors have switched genres and been successful in both. If you’re confident in your writing, you can write whatever you want and whatever makes you happy.


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