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How to Write a Novel: Types of Novels

I actually had to do a bit of research for this one because I wasn’t quite sure what was meant by the types of novel. When I say type, I generally mean genre fiction, literary, and mainstream, not the genres themselves. So I read a little bit of everything to see if I could find a consensus and this is what I found:

Genre Fiction:

It’s exactly what it is. It’s the fiction with the genres like romance, fantasy, sci-fi, etc and its commercial, meaning it appeals to the masses and is usually sold in more quantities that literary or genre. This kind of novel is all about plot, what happens, how it happens and exciting the reader to build tension, get to the climax, and finally resolve it (did that sound just a tad wrong to you?).
The thing about this one, so I’ve read, is that it generally has rules and conventions that you have to conform to and when I say that, I mean that if you were writing a fantasy novel the number one thing you have to have is the fantasy, a protagonist thrust into fantasy world or already in one and forced to find their way in it etc… In a typical romance, you need the guy and the girl who mutually like each other someone, the doubt and uncertainty of the relationship, the struggles and obstacles that can prevent them from being together etc. There’s usually a set way to write them and readers expect them. That’s not to say that you can’t break the convention every once in a while, but the reader has to instantly be able to recognize the genre.


This is the type of novel that’s driven by the characters and internal conflict more so than an external one. It’s all about people relating to each other and not so much what’s going on around them. In other words, there’s more emphasis on characterization that plot. More emphasis, but not that there isn’t one people. Things do happen in literary fiction, but they’re not nearly as dramatic as the plots in genre fiction
And this type of fiction doesn’t really have a prescribed set of conventions that have to be followed. You can break all the conventions of romance or a mystery in this one. But literary fiction is also more careful about the choice of words and what they mean. It’s kind of like writing poetry. Word choice is very important in it, but that does not mean it’s filled with purple prose and flowery wording. It would probably read something like the stuff that my college tends to make me study in my literature classes, but not nearly as boring I hope.
There is also a more prominent theme running through it. It’s always subtle, but not dressed up by everything else that’s going on. It’s written to make a statement about a theme or humanity in general.

Mainstream Fiction

This is difficult to define, but I’ll go with these definitions. Mainstream fiction is fiction that is genre fiction, but breaks the conventional rules, literary fiction that ends up appealing to the masses, or it’s something that’s not genre fiction as it doesn’t have a particular genre, but doesn’t make a statement about humanity or based on some theme and doesn’t have all the careful word choice... Confused? Me too. You know what? Just go to this link:

He took the time to explain all of that in more detailed sequence on that site. I just did a general sum up. If you’re still confused, don’t try to go looking for a concrete definition of mainstream fiction. Every agent, writer, publisher and editor is going to have a different idea…

Up tomorrow is something I’m more familiar with. Genres!

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