Literary Genres

Over the years, writing has taken on many different forms and styles. From the old, classic prose to the encapsulating novels of today, the literary world has changed and evolved in front of our very eyes more times than we can possible remember. Just like music, as the ideas expanded and more suggestions were attempted, additional genres appeared. For rock music, substitute an adventure novel. For soppy love music, drop in your “adult” novels. Literary genres have completely changed the scope and style of writing across the entire globe, and we want to try and explain some of these most common styles of writing.

To make it simpler, we have broken down literary genres into two factions – Fiction and Non-fiction. This will help you further understand the style that each format is built around;


Fairy tale – A story which tends to be based around magical creatures and fantasy worlds, usually written for children so are easy to follow and understand.

Fantasy – Based in a world completely separate from our own, this tends to include alien species or worlds vastly different to our own.

Folklore – Years of storytelling and changes have left myths over the years – these folklore tales tell the story of these myths over the years.

Historical – An altered sense of reality and story line using historical facts and happenings as a base for the writing.

Horror – Meant to bring on ideas of terror and dread, horror books are built around suspense and the idea that the end could indeed be nigh.

Legend – Based on the deeds of heroes of ages gone by, they tend to include exaggerated material to make the story that bit more gripping for the reader.

Mystery – From detective hunts to police crime scenes, these books tend to unravel slowly, allowing you to take in every aspect of the investigation.

Poetry – Written in a verse and rhythm it tries to invoke a more emotional, primal response from within our minds.

Sci-fi – Based on the potential future of our race, tends to be set far in the future or on a new world entirely.


Biography – A narrative of somebody, tending to be a celebrity or an athletes, life. Full of true stories and anecdotes.

Essay – A composition that tries to give a detailed and thorough outlook or opinion on a specific subject.

Narrative – Presented in a story format, the information is all completely accurate and true – just told in a more “exciting” manner.

Speech – A public addressing or ceremonial speech to give an answer to specific questions or demands.

Text book – A detailed and in-depth analysis or description of a specific topic, used to educate and improve others understanding of the subject.

Reference – Anything from an atlas to a dictionary.

While both forms of literary genres can go even further than the list provided above, these tend to be the most common forms of fiction and non-fiction that you are likely to come across. They offer a distinct way of understanding what you are going to be reading before you start to even read it. This is very important as having full understanding of the genre you are embarking on will save any disappointment in the quality or style of the writing.

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