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What is a genre? The word “genre” is a French word and its literal translation is “kind” or “sort.” In the literary world, a genre refers to any specific form of literature, music, entertainment and even art. A genre is determined by the content of the piece of art, music, book, etc.
For example, if you had a painting of a battlefield, the genre of that piece of work would be that of either “historical” or “political.”
Genres can also be categorized by a person’s age such that the material may be for “adults” or for “young children” or “children” or “young adults.” In other words, the content of the material is geared to a specific age group.
The purpose of categorizing literature into genres is to help the reader know in advance what kind of story they will be going to read, what they can possibly expect from the story or whether they even want to take the time to read the story. For example, if you love science fiction and you see that a book has been classified as “science fiction” then you are more likely to pick that book up and read it. On the other hand you may not like thrillers and if a book has been categorized as a thriller, then you can quickly decide that the story is not for you.
Most stories cannot be pigeon holed into one specific genre but will fall into two or more types. However, the overall intent of the story is the genre it will be placed in. For example, the story may include political values and views but is a mystery that needs to be solved. In this case, the book would be classified as a “mystery” even though politics may be involved.
There are many, many different types of genres and new genres seem to be constantly being added. However, there are several main genres that you will come across most often. These frequently used genres are:
LISTING OF TYPES OF GENRES
Action/Adventure – This is a fictional story that is filled with adventures and actions as the genre states. A good example of an action/adventure writing would be the James Bond series of books.
Drama – These are fictional stories that can be based off of real stories and they hold a great deal of suspense and unknown for the characters and the readers. A good example of a drama is that of Romeo & Juliet.
Fantasy – This is also known as fiction and entails telling a story of made up people, places and events. A good example of a fantasy is that of the Lord of the Rings series.
Fable – These are stories where animals can speak and where supernatural powers are given to either animals or man. Examples of this genre would be Alice in Wonderland and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Fairytale – These are stories that have fairies, witches and warlocks in them or other magical creatures such as trolls or leprechauns. Good examples of this genre are the story of Cinderella and the Harry Potter series.
Horror/Thriller – This is a fictional story that is meant to frighten both the characters and the readers. It can include monsters, ghosts, vampires, amazingly large insects, etc. Examples of this genre would be the Friday the 13th and the Twilight series.
Humor – This type of genre is usually, though not always, fictional. The story is meant to make people laugh. An example of this genre would be 50 First Dates.
Legend – This is similar to a biography, meaning the story is about a real person. However, how the legend differs from a biography is that the person written about has become so famous that they transcend to an almost god-like quality. They have become bigger in death than in life. Elvis Presley would be a good example of this. Although he was immensely popular in life, since his death his popularity has soured to explosive heights. Even Michael Jackson is now beginning to follow into this genre.
Mystery – This is a fictional story that has to do with solving a crime. The author John Grisham is famous for writing mysteries. One of his more famous mysteries was The Firm.
Historical Fiction – This is the telling of a story about fictional characters and events but that occur in accurate historical settings such as on the Mayflower or during the Civil War. Good examples of this genre are Johnny Tremain and Gone with the Wind.
Historical Fact – This is the telling of a story about actual people, places and events that occurred in the past.
Mythology – These stories often entail having “gods” in them such as Thor or Zeus that have super-human powers.
Non-Fiction – This type of writing is to give information and instruction such as “How To” books or tourist guides or a story on whales, dolphins, etc.
Poetry – This is telling a story through verses and rhythmic writing.
Political – This is the telling of a fictional political event or events and characters. The author’s main objective is to get his/her own political views out in a storyline format. A good example of this genre is All the President’s Men.
Romance – This type of writing is usually written around a specific romance and how the relationship changes both parties in the relationship. A good example of this genre is The Notebook.
Science Fiction – This is a made-up story that usually contains gadgets and inventions that are solely made up in the mind of the writer. They are not real. Space travel is often a topic of science fiction but so are many medical stories. Two good examples of science fiction genres are that of Star Trek and Star Wars. Interestingly enough, many of the made up gadgets of the original Star Trek, such as their communicators, are now what we refer to as cell phones. So sometimes science fiction eventually can turn into fact.
Most people, after reading a variety of genres, will find one or two genres that they really like and will then seek out anything that can be found in those genres. As you will now be having to do a lot of reading, to make your reading assignments more fun, find a genre that you like and then those assignments won’t feel so difficult. Besides, reading is a lot of fun and extremely entertaining.
Now that you’ve had a chance to read about some different genres, let’s see what you can remember about them. Take a look at the following questions and see if you can locate the correct answers.