When I finished my first book in the Pearseus universe, I was faced with an unexpected problem: everyone kept saying that identifying your genre was important. But my book crossed many genres. It was, essentially, a fantasy tale taking place in the future, with technology and a tiny bit of crystal magic. So, how the heck do you find a genre to shoehorn this kind of book into?
After several unsuccessful attempts to do so, I now describe it as science fiction fantasy (aka science fantasy) but wish I had come across this handy guide from Thoughts on Fantasy before I spent so many hours researching fantasy subgenres!
From Tolkienesque High Fantasy to Paranormal Romance, this is the ultimate guide for all things fantasy. Just click on a link below for a brief description of that subgenre, examples of books written in it, and typical elements that characterize it. And if you would like a definition of the fantasy genre as a whole, see: What is Fantasy Fiction?
- High Fantasy / Epic Fantasy
- Low Fantasy
- Portal Fantasy
- Urban Fantasy / Contemporary Fantasy
- Paranormal / Paranormal Romance
- Fantasy Romance / High Fantasy Romance
- Young Adult Fantasy (YA Fantasy)
- Children’s Fantasy
- Fairy Tale Retellings
- Sword and Sorcery / Heroic Fantasy
- Medieval Fantasy / Arthurian Fantasy
- Historical Fantasy
- Comic Fantasy
- Science Fantasy
- Grimdark Fantasy
- Gothic Fantasy / Dark Fantasy
- The New Weird
I always have trouble finding the proper Genre. I’m surprised there are so many subcategories of fantasy. Who knew?
And to think these are the more “mainstream” ones! I suspect there are dozens more (Craig’s flintstone fantasy comes to mind).
I had no idea there were so many! I think I write horror but I think it occasionally strays into some of these! I’ve still to find something I’m happy calling what I write. Great post!
I know what you mean. Looks like most of us have that problem. For some reason, it seems to be a particularly thorny one for Indies!
This is so helpful since I struggle with sub-genres as well. Fantasy is so darn broad! Saving this forever. Ha ha. Thank you.
Yay! So glad I could help 😀
That might come in useful. The ‘practice novel’ I began writing with is kind of fantasy, but I’d never want to call it that because it… well… isn’t. It may never see the light of day (it’s sitting in my folders pending a complete rewrite – or not) but if it does I now have at least a chance of categorising it. Somehow.
Yay! So glad I could help 😀
I have never written Fantasy as a genre. But those tips will be useful, if I ever decide to.
Best wishes, Pete.
Or if you decide that you like one particular fantasy book and wish to discover more in the same obscure subgenre 🙂
I’m happy for you that you found your subgenre! I’m still looking for mine. None of what I write fits into any of those descriptions. I write secondary world fantasy, which makes it sound like high/epic (the only one described as secondary), except that none of my stories are epic adventures, and the entire world is never in danger (only the lives or “worlds” of the characters). Low fantasy is probably the closest, but this list suggests that low fantasy is real world.
Wow, talk about a niche! Love it 🙂