What Genre?

mysterysilhouetteI took a quiz on Facebook the other day entitled “Which genre of fiction should you write?” And of course, these quizzes are totally accurate and infallible, right? Seriously, though, I enjoy taking them and a lot of times I think the results are pretty accurate. Sometimes I think they’re just really generic and say cool things that we HOPE are true about us, so we automatically assume they ARE true about us, but sometimes I think they do have some interesting results.

Like in this case.

The questions asked about things like plot vs. character vs. setting (not in those words–it was more of a “when I write, these this is what I focus on” with various answers that reflect those elements), action vs. drama, realism vs. emotional impact, detailed vs. broad description of characters, settings, and drama, plus questions about romance, violence, dialogue, the world, the character arc, the theme, the message, the amount of research that goes into it, and style. Overall, I thought the questions were really detailed, and assuming the author of the quiz had any idea at all what they were talking about, pretty thorough. If nothing else, it helped me analyze my own writing and really think about the way that I write and the things that I focus on. One major bonus of that is it helps me see where I can improve. If I don’t put a lot of focus on something, then that probably means I could do better at that thing and really enhance my story by rounding it out a little more.

Anyway, after answering all the questions, I finally got my answer. The results said I should be writing mysteries, with the following description: ““Who-dunnit? And How? And Why? Your inquiring mind understands the secret workings of the villainous murderer and thief. You feel the need to build a puzzle so complex, and a villain so unsuspected that you leave the reader gasping in shock on the last page.” One of my inspirations should be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which is lovely because I LOVE Sherlock Holmes, and not just the newer incarnations of him (which are also delightful), but the original stories.

I thought about that, and how it compares to what I actually write, and it’s actually pretty close. I don’t write traditional “who-dunnit” stories, with a gumshoe or a crime to be solved, but I do write suspense. I have multiple sub-plots, bad guys and good guys, puzzles to solve, and shocking twists. Obviously, all with a Speculative flair. My first one has dragons, my second one has demons, my short story series is fantasy, and one that I’m working on has witches. And I don’t always write with the same style. “Dragons” has multiple POVs and lots of characters, whereas my current one is all in first-person. However, the things that I focus on, like plot over character, world over drama, dialogue over description, all tends to be pretty consistent.

It was an interesting quiz that I thought really helped me see my writing in a more analytical way, and I think will help me as I continue to improve my craft. For those of you who are curious to know what the All-Knowing-And-Wise Internet Quiz has to say about your writing career, you can find the quiz here. I’m interested to know your results. Do they match up with what you actually write? Let me know in the comments!


About Avily Jerome

Avily Jerome is a writer and the editor of Havok Magazine. Her short stories have been published in various magazines, both print and digital. She has judged several writing contests and is a writing conference teacher and presenter. She writes speculative fiction, her ideas ranging from almost-real-world action/adventures to epic fantasies to supernatural thrillers.

18 comments on “What Genre?

  1. Wow, this is a weird quiz. You would expect the answers to fill a continuum from not important to important, but they don’t. They seem kind of scattershot. For example, all the plot questions are variations on “plot is okay” except for one that’s “plot rules.” The romance answers really threw me off because I couldn’t agree with any of them. My answer to “Is falling in love an important part of your story” would be “love is important to life, so it’s important to my story.” Not an option. 😦

    I had trouble finding answers to any of these questions that really represent my view. Which may be why my result was “Comedy.” I try to use humor, but really?

    • LOL
      I had the opposite problem; I agreed with most of the options to an extent. I picked the ones that were most accurate.
      Isn’t that funny how different people/styles see the same things so differently?

      • I know, right? 😀

        What’s really amusing is that the front page of the quiz has a warning that it’s “text heavy.” Cuz us writers don’t want to waste time with a bunch of words an’ stuff.

  2. Horror? You’ve got to be kidding. It was that choice “the greatest monsters are in the human heart” which did it, I’m sure. That said, there is always that underlying theme wanting to express itself even as there is a larger sweep of sci-fi/fantasy/allegory going on.

  3. Neat how a simple quiz can spark some serious analysis and thought. I think you gained some good insights from your ponderings, Avily. Thanks for sharing them!

  4. The all-wise (ha!) quiz says I ought to do action-adventure (like Tarzan!).

    “Danger, hand to hand combat, climactic battles, and thrilling escapes with larger than life heroes and powerful villains fill the pages of the stories you yearn to write. Reality and the laws of physics are no match for pure Adventure!”

    It’s not wrong. It’s just missing the fact that my action-adventure might occur “IN SPACE!”, “ON DRAGONS!” or “WITH VAMPIRES!” 😉

  5. My result said I should be writing literature. I don’t know: is literature really a genre?

  6. I got comedy. Like some of the other comments, I am surprised, and also not surprised, that a quiz could spark serious self analysis. When I asked a few of my closest friends what my best quality was, they responded that I was funny. But I have never considered myself funny. Now off to reconsider why some of my more serious writings have stalled. Have I been forcing myself to write outside of my genre?

    • I think it’s certainly worth trying your hand at something you wouldn’t have previously considered. Then again, it is an internet quiz, so you probably can’t bank entirely on the results. But who knows?

  7. I found the survey too broad in some ways and too specific in others, but I came out Horror of course — what I call “that” — which is not looked upon with favor these days in the Christian community, though the Word of God has plenty in it and even some monsters…hmmmmmmm

    • Ah, you are in sympathetic company! I know how that goes.
      I like talking about “Christian Horror” and seeing the looks I get. 🙂

      • You should know by now in the common consensus there is no such thing. (I promise not to make this a soapbox). How many Christian publishers actually publish horror? And call it by its proper name? I can tell you some that specifically go out of their way to say “EXCEPT HORROR.” Furthermore, horror is ignored. There has not been one single mention of …that… over on Speculative Faith, true to form, for the last six months, and they proclaim they exist to promote “fantasy, science fiction and beyond.” No mention of …that… to be found. Those of us who write it and refuse to follow certain strictures (such as watering it down by calling it ‘paranormal’) are indeed “outside the camp.” Well, maybe it was a little soapbox. But I stand by what I have said, here and in times past. Christus victor!

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