Humor

Your Definitive Guide to Categorizing Genres

Deepali Agarwal

Staff Writer

Deepali Agarwal has a Master’s in literary linguistics, which means that every person she’s ever known has, at some point, asked her to ‘edit a thing’ for them-- ‘just see if it reads okay?’ She doesn’t mind, because she believes that the world can be fixed one oxford comma at a time. Deepali lives in Delhi, the capital of India, where cows are sacred, but authors and poets exist and write brilliant things. She works as an editor with OUP India’s School ELT division, where she moves apostrophes, looks up pictures of cats, and talks about children’s books for eight hours. The rest of her day is spent reading, thinking about Parks and Recreation, and wondering if there exist jobs for English majors that pay more than peanuts. Twitter: @DeepaliAgarwal_

Deepali Agarwal

Staff Writer

Deepali Agarwal has a Master’s in literary linguistics, which means that every person she’s ever known has, at some point, asked her to ‘edit a thing’ for them-- ‘just see if it reads okay?’ She doesn’t mind, because she believes that the world can be fixed one oxford comma at a time. Deepali lives in Delhi, the capital of India, where cows are sacred, but authors and poets exist and write brilliant things. She works as an editor with OUP India’s School ELT division, where she moves apostrophes, looks up pictures of cats, and talks about children’s books for eight hours. The rest of her day is spent reading, thinking about Parks and Recreation, and wondering if there exist jobs for English majors that pay more than peanuts. Twitter: @DeepaliAgarwal_

Whenever we try to talk about sub-genres, whether old or emerging, Real Readers crawl out of the woodwork to tell us we’re very wrong, and don’t understand the Nuances of Literature. This is an especially strong tendency when it comes to the sub-genres of fantasy and science fiction (Hmm. Why, I wonder*). So while you debate the differences between low and high fantasy, or magic realism and urban fantasy, we’ll be here with some rock-solid, foolproof guidelines.

Fantasy

Romance

The romance is forbidden and off-limits
Everything else

via GIPHY

Historical Fiction

This ONE man from the evil side was actually really nice

Everything else

Science Fiction

Major confusion because someone meddled with time and space across multiple parallel universes
Everything else

via GIPHY

Graphic Novels

Fridging
Everything else

Memoirs and Biographies

My male pain was more important than systemic oppression
Everything else

via GIPHY

Young Adult

Has a protagonist holding their breath without even knowing it
Everything else

Mythology

A male god sets off a chain of tragic events; women are blamed
Everything else

via GIPHY

Mysteries and Thrillers

The narrator did it
Everything else

Horror

White person does something they shouldn’t have to set things off
Everything else

via GIPHY

Literary Fiction

These childhood memories will always haunt my existence
Everything else

via GIPHY

There you go; you’re welcome. The definitive, most no-nonsense way ever of categorizing your genres.

*It’s misogyny. It’s almost always misogyny.