Types of novels – commercial fiction/ literary fiction
Some major genres:
- Mysteries – A mystery is about a crime, usually a murder, and the process of discovering who committed it. The hero(ine) is usually a detective or an amateur doing detective work.
- Science fiction – Science fiction is fiction that imagines possible alternatives to reality. It is reality + “What-if.” For example: What if the world ended? What if there were life on other planets? The imaginary part of science fiction is based on known scientific facts. For example, if there is time travel in a science fiction book, it would be done with technology, not by waving a magic wand.
- Fantasy – Like science fiction, fantasy is about imaginary worlds. But the imaginary part of fantasy novels usually involves magic, where the imaginary part of science fiction involves science or technology.
- Westerns – Westerns normally take place in the Western U.S. (although sometimes in other locations), most often during the 19th century. Common elements include cowboys, ranchers, the difficulties of frontier life, frontier justice, and conflicts between natives and settlers.
- Horror – Horror fiction gets its name because it is focused on creating emotions of terror and dread in the reader. Horror fiction often accomplish this through the use of scary supernatural elements or gore, but, according to the Horror Writers Association, these elements are not required.
- Thrillers – Like horror, a thriller gets its name because of the feeling it creates in the reader. Thrillers are designed to make the reader’s pulse race, to keep him or her turning pages. Often thrillers are about a crime that is going to be committed or a disaster that is going to happen… if the hero(ine) doesn’t prevent it.
- Romance – Romance fiction is about love and passion. Normally, the focus is on two characters who fall in love but have problems or obstacles keeping them apart, and there is a happy ending.
- Historical – Historical novels are set in a past time period, normally at least fifty years before they were written. They combine a made-up story with realistic details of that time period.
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