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Literary Fiction Genres


Full Genre List


Here is a list of all known written genres, as drawn from numerous sources. (We'd love to acknowledge and link to more of these web pages, but they keep on vanishing.) This list includes works of fiction and nonfiction, in short and long formats, with temporary or permanent media, and in venues for individual or personal or public use. This also includes spoken formats (live or filmed) that are typically written out beforehand.
Can all of these categories be regarded as genres? Perhaps. Each one is a distinct and familiar type, and many are included in the comprehensive Dewey system. People get paid to write (and/or to read and analyse) them; even build careers and businesses around their creation.
There is of course some overlap. While our intention is to be thorough, certain professions utilize numerous yet otherwise obscure textual formats.

While this list deals primarily with English, the same categories will apply to most languages. There are also Art, Film, Music, Video Game, Newspaper, and other broad genre types, however those go beyond the scope of this project.


The major descriptive and genre categories are in large print, and subgenres are in parentheses. Numerous fiction genres and subgenres are described in more detail on our Literary Fiction Genres list pages.

Major Print Genre Categories:

Broadcast

Business

Entertainment

Ephemera

General Use

Government

Internet or Digital

Jumbo

Legal

Periodical

Personal Use

Poetry

Publication

Scholastic

Scientific





Broadcast

{Text intended to be spoken aloud, and for a wide audience.}

Broadcaster's Script (radio, streaming, TV, etc.)

DJ's Playlist

Host's Monologue (interview questions, jokes, etc.)

News Report (scrolling ticker, etc.)

Quiz Show Questions

Sportscaster's Stats

Weather Report



Business

{Text used primarily by commercial enterprizes.}

Advertising Copy (jingle, print ad, promotion, etc.)

Bill of Lading (airbill, cargo manifest, etc.)

Business Card

Business Plan (agenda, guidelines, memo, etc.)

Business Sign

Call Center Script (reservations, tech support, telemarketing, etc.)

Catalog (industrial, redemption, retail, etc.)

Check (cashier's check, money order, etc.)

Job Application (cover letter, resume, etc.)

Insurance Document (actuarial table, appraisal, damage report, etc.)

Inventory (retail, wholesale, etc.)

Invoice (sales reciept, etc.)

Menu (placemat text, tabletop display, etc.)

Policy (HR guidelines, etc.)

Post Card Caption (photo caption, etc.)

Product Label (ingredients, instructions, origin, side effects, etc.)

Sales Pitch

Stock Certificate (savings bond, etc.)

Video Billboard

Want Ad (newspaper, online, etc.)



Entertainment

{Text related to the entertainment industry.}

Anime script (numerous subtypes)

Banner (marquee, etc.)

Betting Sheet (bingo, keno, lotto ticket, etc.)

Crossword Puzzle (other puzzles, etc.)

Opera Libretto

Playbill (program guide)

Script or Screenplay (film, speech, stage, TV, video game, etc.)

Song Lyric (cheer, choreography, etc.)

Storyboard



Ephemera

{Text intended for short-term use only.}

Announcement (poster, spoken, sports, etc.)

Fortune Cookie Text

Greeting Card

Instant Message

Luggage Tag (airline routing tag)

Instant Message

Shopping List (chore list, Post-it note, etc.)

Skywriting

Ticket (movie, sports, etc.)



General Use

{Text utilized in a wide variety of activities and venues.}

Application Form

Blueprint

Boundary Sign (no tresspassing, welcome, etc.)

Calendar

Character Sketch

Chart

Essay (informative, narrative, persuasive, scholastic, etc.)

Eyewitness Account

Frame Narrative

Humor (jokes, satire, etc.)

Index Card (file card, etc.)

Interview (transcript, etc.)

Language Lesson

Lecture (PowerPoint, etc.)

Log Book

Manifesto (treatise)

Map (atlas, GPS directions, guidebook, etc.)

Monologue

Oral History (narrative nonfiction, etc.)

Pamphlet (broadside, brocure, religious tract, etc.)

Plaque (commemorative, historical, etc.)

Press Release

Programming Language (Basic, C++, Java, Linux, etc.)

Recipe (cookbook, food preparation, etc.)

Review (art, book, movie, restaurant, etc.)

Schedule (airline flights, etc.)

Survey (census form, poll, etc.)

Technical Manual

War Correspondence



Government

{Text utilized by official and/or sovereign governments, at various levels.}

Constitution (amendment, declaration of war, treaty, etc.)

Currency (coins, bills, food stamps, etc.)

Customs Form

Law (ordinance, statute, UCMJ, etc.)

Legal Documentation (birth certificate, license, passport, etc.)

Legal Summons (jury summons, subpoena, traffic ticket, etc.)

Military Plan

Police Report

Political Speech (bill debate, campaign, inaugural, etc.)

Road Sign (electronic message, trail sign, etc.)

Tax Form (guidebook, official manual, work sheet, etc.)

Transit Schedule (route map, etc.)

Wanted Poster



Internet or Digital

{Text that is primarily in electronic form.}

Audio Book

Blog Post

Discussion Board Post

eBook

Podcast

Text Message

Web Page

Wiki



Jumbo

{Text with lettering and/or numbers over 12 inches in size.}

Billboard

Commercial Signage

Hillside Sign

Runway Marking (airmark)

Sports Field Marking

Traffic Lane Marking (RR crossing, speed limit, etc.)

Transport Marking (airliner, rail car, rolling billboard, truck, etc.)



Legal

{Text utilized for formal legal purposes.}

Contract (corporate, deed, employment, financial, mortgage, etc., etc.)

Lawsuit Papers

Legal Brief (amecus, appeal, etc., etc.)

Legal Disclaimer



Periodical

{Text that appears in semi-permanent media, and is published on a recurring schedule.}

Advice Column

Charticle

Cartoon (comic strip, editorial, etc.)

Editorial (newspaper, web-based, etc.)

Magazine Article (weekly, quarterly, etc.)

Newspaper Article (interest section, special feature, wire service text, etc.)

Obituary (epitaph, eulogy, etc.)

Opinion Column (commentary, etc.)



Personal Use

{Text utilized by, or intended for, individuals.}

Bumper Sticker (protest sign, slogan, etc.)

Diary (daybook, journal, scrapbook, etc.)

Genealogy

Graffiti (gang symbol, hobo mark, etc.)

IOU

Jewelry Inscription

Medical Report (prescription, test results, etc.)

Personal Letter (email, telegram, etc.)

Scrapbook (clippings, collage, etc.)

Self Help (presentation, quiz, text, etc.)

Sermon (invocation, ritual, etc.)

Tattoo Text

Trading Card (baseball card, etc.)

T-shirt Text

Yard Sign



Poetry

{Text in one of the very many distinctive styles of a poem.}

Acrostic

Aubade

Ballad

Cinquain

Clerihew

Diamante

Didactic

Doggerel

Epic

Epigram

Free Verse

Haiku

Iambic Pentameter

Lied

Limerick

Lyric

Ode

Quatrain

Rhapsody

Scifaiku

Sonnet

Speculative

Tanka

Tyburn

Villanelle

{There are many more types.}



Publication

{Text published in an enduring form, usually on paper, and for public use.}

Almanac

Autobiography (fake memoir, memoir, spiritual, etc.)

Book Jacket (album/CD jacket, blurb, TOC, etc.)

Bibliography

Biography (dossier, expose, etc.)

Children's Genre Fiction

Children's Literature

Computer Book (programing, etc.)

Creative Nonfiction

Erotica Genre Fiction

Experimental Fiction

Fantasy Genre Fiction

Graphic Novel Text (comic book, manga and its many subtypes, etc.)

Health Genre (diet, fitness, nutrition, sex, etc.)

Hobby Text

Horror Genre Fiction

How-To Guide (assembly instructions, DIY project, etc.)

Literary Fiction

Mainstream Fiction (blockbuster novel, etc.)

Mystery Genre Fiction

Mythology (ancient, fable, fairy tale, tall tale, etc.)

Nature Writing

Rhymed Prose (fu, maqama, rayok, saj, etc.)

Romance Genre Fiction

Rule Book (card game, parliamentary, sports, etc.)

Sacred Text (apocrypha, catechism, commentary, hagiography, theology, etc.)

Science Fiction Genre Fiction

Thriller Genre Fiction

Travel Literature (guidebook, travelogue, etc.)

Western Genre Fiction

Young Adult Genre Fiction

{Also see our Literary Fiction Genres list pages.}



Scholastic

{Text intended for educational and scholarly purposes.}

Curriculum (course list, syllabus, etc.)

Dictionary (glossary, thesaurus, etc.)

Encyclopedia Article (fact book, list book, quotations, etc.)

History Text (ancient, regional, national, world, etc.)

Manuscript (medieval, papyrus, scroll, etc.)

Museum Display Text

Philosophical Text (ethics, dialogue, logic, psychology, etc.)

Social Science Text (anthropology, economics, political science, etc.)

Test Questions (brain teaser, homework, etc.)

Textbook (flash cards, study notes, etc.)

Thesis (dissertation, etc.)

Yearbook



Scientific

{Text utilized primarily by scientists and related specialties.}

Medical Text (anatomy, diagnoses, field work, etc.)

Peer Reviewed Paper (research results, etc.)

Raw Data (equations, experiment, observation, etc.)

Scientific Text (astronomy, biology, chemistry, physics, etc., etc.)


Any corrections, additions, or great ideas? Suggestions are welcome. Email us at, ewriters \at\ aol /dot/ com, and please make your subject line distinct.


Adrianna Dane's great web site has a concise list
of fiction and nonfiction subgenres, with definitions and some examples.
The popular Goodreads project has a very long genre list, although because it's edited by numerous participants there are many errors, and no specific definitions given.


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