Thursday, January 01, 2015


Different genres have different styles, expectations, and even word counts, and it can even be helpful to know where your novel fits before you even stat writing the first draft. Here are some articles that discuss the various genres and how they might apply to your novel.

A sampling of articles on genre

See all articles on genre


  1. If a story centers around a teenage girl as the main character, does that automatically mean literary agents would want to view the novel as only appropriate for YA or marketed as such? I suppose I'm having a bit of trouble determining precisely who my 'target audience is.' I've tried write a story that will appeal to both genders, as well.

    1. No, age is only one factor in determining which market a book is for. A YA novel has a teen protagonist, plus a plot that deals with teen issues in a teen-centric way, and has a teen voice. It's also a book written *for* the teen audience. For example, Stephen King often has young protagonists, but his work is not aimed at teens or consider YA.

      While everyone wants their book to appeal to "all ages" the reality is that what appeals to a 14 year old doesn't typically appeal to a 54 year old. Adults DO read YA, but they read it because they want the YA experience, not because they want adult stories with teen protagonists.

      Great stories appeal to both genders, so unless you're targeting one gender over the other, or a genre that's gender-heavy (say romance, for example, though men do read it) you should be fine there.

      You'd have to decide for yourself who you want to write the book for. It doesn't have to be super specific, but there's a difference in how an MG novel vs a YA vs an NA vs an Adult novel is written. The focus and how the problems are solved is different. And if you write genre, then there are further breakdowns to consider, as genres have tropes as well.

      You might start with thinking about who you *want* to write for, then try thinking about where you'd see this book in the bookstore, or what other books are similar and go from there.

      I did a few posts on this topic that might help. There's also a section on choosing your market and genre in my writing book, Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure, that isn't on the site.

      Writing For Your Audience:

      Writing For Your Reader:

      Hope this helps!

  2. Few blogs, conferences, or sites talk about verse novels. When I review the agent wishlist, most include poetry in their "Do Not Want" or "Will Not Consider" list. Should I consider self-publishing a YA novel in verse?

    1. You certainly could if you couldn't find anyone interested in it. You could also look at what verse novels have been published and see who the agent/editor was, and try approaching them.

      A verse novel is different from poetry, so unless they say "no verse novels" you might be okay submitting to them even if they say no poetry. You might also try Googling their name plus "verse novel" and see if they've ever mentioned it online. They might have stated a preference somewhere.