How many YA genres are there?

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How many YA genres are there?

Post by klbritt » August 1st, 2012, 7:08 pm

I'm having a hard time placing my YA novel into a specific genre, as there seems to be a number of them. Any websites out there that classify the different genres? Or anyone want to have a go at listing them :)


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Re: How many YA genres are there?

Post by Shipple » August 2nd, 2012, 7:37 am

Do you want to tell us what you think the important elements of your book are? Then we might be able to take a shot at helping you define your genre.

Of course, you could always stick to one of the generic genres: fantasy, science fiction, romance, western, etc.

And if you're really, really struggling, you could simply identify your book as a YA so long as you feel you've really captured what the book is about in your synopsis. And, you could also identify what books your think your book is most like. That could help place genre (both for us or for an agent in your query if you're still shying away from a definite categorization by that point).
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Re: How many YA genres are there?

Post by Sommer Leigh » August 2nd, 2012, 11:22 am

This is my personal way of approaching genre - not sure if it is right or wrong or whatever. Just how I do it.

Look at the plot, the main thrust of your story. Remember that a story can have elements of lots of genres, but the point of the tale will tell you its main genre. It might help if you give us a summary of your story and the genres you're considering.

A story set in the future is not necessarily science fiction unless the technology and science play a starring role. If the tech and science are incidental to the setting, but the plot is about an elf-girl trying to live in futuristic Seattle, it is probably urban fantasy. Subplots that introduce a new potential genre (e.g. romance) won't be the main genre. If your story is mostly about a murder mystery whodunnit and one character happens to be half-goblin, it's probably mystery/thriller or urban fantasy, not fantasy.

Who is your audience? What kind of person would want to read it? A reader of sci-fi? Of steampunk? Or romance? Forget the "maybe a romance reader would like my horror novel because there's romance." Pick the main bulk of your readers, the maybe they'd like its will find their way to your novel or they won't.

It really depends on the most important part of your novel. It will describe the reader who will go into a store looking for a book like it. And in the end, once you get picked up by an agent and you've got an editor and publishing house, they might decide your book is a different genre altogether and market your urban fantasy as horror instead. Who knows?
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Re: How many YA genres are there?

Post by polymath » August 2nd, 2012, 5:00 pm

Genre in the sense of content--note, genre just means category--spans a variety of tiers, One top tier includes romance, mystery, thriller, horror, western, science fiction, fantasy, and literary categories. Literary isn't quite like the others in that its aesthetic value category is also strongly pertinent.

Genre could also span forms, like poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, journalism, and performing visual arts: written-word, oral, or visual media categories. Genre categories span short fiction to long fiction, essay to treatis, documentary to vignette to anecdote to sketch to drama, comedy to tragedy to bildungsroman. Categories also span age ranges, potentially early primary grades, middle grades, young adult grades, early adult, middle adult, late adult. Character genre and the several other situational emphases: setting, plot, idea, event, discourse. Voice is another category, narrator voice emphasis or character voice emphasis, and subjective or objective attitude, approving or disapproving. Character identity is yet another, sex, age, ethinicty, national origin, life station and status. As well, plot emphasis comes in a variety of categories: conflict resolution, problem solving or satisfaction, revelation, reversal, personal or external transformation, or inquiry.

Then there are subtiers within the top tier categories. Features like urban or suburban or rural or rustic setting emphasis, like character personality or behavior emphasis, like psychological or visceral stimuli emphasis, like who's responsible or what happened emphasis. Ostensibly, a narrative category could have an abundance of defining categories, conventions, and traditions, and ample modifiers used to describe focuses. Narrated middle adult urban fantasy literary fiction romantic character horror thriller, for example, could describe Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus.

One point to clarify, as has been noted by other responders, these kinds of distinctions are for writers to aid development and reworking an insipration's accessibilty, craft, voice, and audience appeals. Whatever a marketplace outlet, agent, editor, publisher, distributor, bookseller, audience, consumer determines a narrative falls into is what it is. For querying an agent or publisher, keep category definition simple and focused. Ideally, pitch and summary portions of a query will speak for themselves and obviate any need to declare a category.
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