The science fiction genre involves elements based on science and technology. Stories can take place in an imaginary world or in an altered version of our current world, at times involving futuristic societies. Sci-fi is a subgenre of speculative fiction, along with fantasy and dystopia.

Some subgenres include:

  • Alternate history
  • Steampunk
  • Time travel
  • Space opera
  • Soft sci-fi
  • Robotic/artificial intelligence
  • Space travel
Romance Girl


Fantasy novels take place in an imaginary world that often includes magic or magical elements. It is a subgenre of speculative fiction, along with sci-fi and dystopia. Fantasy has many different subgenres of its own, including urban fantasy and contemporary fantasy. In these subgenres, stories take place in our world—only a slightly altered version that can include magic or mythological/supernatural creatures.

Some subgenres include:

  • Dark fantasy
  • High fantasy
  • Contemporary
  • Urban
  • Mythological
  • Historical
Romance Girl


The romance genre has many subgenres, but most importantly, they all involve romantic love. A novel fits into the romance genre if the main plot revolves around a romantic relationship, even if other subplots present conflict and story. A key component in all romance novels is the happily-ever-after (HEA) or the happily-for-now (HFN). The novel must end with one or the other in order to satisfy the genre.

Some subgenres include:

  • Contemporary
  • Historical
  • Romantic suspense
  • Fantasy
  • Paranormal
  • Military
  • Inspirational
  • Time travel
Mystery Man


Mystery novels often involve a detective solving a conundrum or case. The story should be full of clues, red herrings, and—obviously—mysteries. The story starts with an unknown that hooks the reader in, and the main character must solve the unknown by the end of the novel. The reader should be trying to solve the mystery along with the characters. Thrillers have a lot of crossover with mystery novels and can be considered a subgenre (albeit typically a darker and more suspenseful one).

Some subgenres include:

  • Bumbling detective
  • Cozy
  • Amateur sleuth
  • Caper
  • Hard-boiled
  • Historical
  • Legal
  • Police procedural
  • (Sometimes) thriller

Other Genres

There are many other genres out there. We can always discuss which genre best fits your novel.

Some more genres include:

  • Dystopian
  • Thriller/Suspense
  • Horror
  • Literary Fiction
  • Historical Fiction
  • Magical Realism

Many genres overlap and can be subgenres of each other. The above breakdown is not set in stone.
Your novel likely crosses over into multiple genres, but it is important to find the one genre that fits the main plot of your book.

Writing Resources

Grammar Girl - Quick and Dirty Tips:
Quick and Dirty Tips This is a wonderful resource for when you can't remember the difference between further and farther, breath and breathe, or your and you're (please tell us you don't mix up your/you're. It will make us very sad).

You will find almost all of your grammar questions answered here in a simple and easy-to-understand format. Check it out here.

The Editorial Freelancers Association:
Editorial Freelancers Association If we aren't a good fit for you (That could never be so! But actually, it is very possible. We'll just have to learn to deal with the disappointment) or you want to learn more about hiring freelance editors, check this site out. It is chockful of great editors and information on what to expect when you are hiring a freelance editor.
Check it out here.

Revise & Resub Contest:
Revise & Resub This contest says it is all about the editing (and it is), but it is mostly about the community. So many writers and editors come together to discuss writing tips and show their support.

In this contest, authors will win feedback and full edits on their manuscript from professional editors, ensuring their works are polished and ready for those agent inboxes. Authors will be immersed in a supportive community of their peers, they will also have the chance to learn more about how their story fits into the industry.
Check it out here.

Jane Friedman:
Publishing 101 Jane Friedman knows everything there is to know about publishing, agents, editors, and the industry as a whole. Anything you've ever wanted to know about the industry from writing query letters to what to expect when working with an editor can be found through her. She has written books on the topic and filled her website full of great tidbits to help you along your way.
Check it out here.

Manuscript Wishlist:
Manuscript Wishlist If you are considering submitting to an agent, Manuscript Wishlist is a great place to start. Most agents will tweet out their manuscript wishlist, which is just the books that they are on the hunt for, using the hashtag #MSWL. Many editors use the hashtag as well. If you don't have time to scour Twitter looking for the perfect #MSWL, this site compiles a lot of them.
Check it out here.

Just Publishing:
Just Publishing If you are considering becoming an indie author or you already are one, this is the site for you. Just Publishing is a blog maintained by Derek Haines, a grumpy, old English teacher, author and habitual blogger, who has a long held interest in self-publishing, as a means of freedom of expression rather than as an avenue to instant riches and fame.
Check it out here.


Two book editors binge-watch movies in search of storytelling gems. Their sacrifice is your novel’s gain.

Story Chat Radio

Join Book Light Editorial’s Carly Hayward and co-host Jeni Chappelle as they watch different movies with an eye for storytelling and novel writing. Then they use their training and years of experience editing novels to break down different storytelling elements to help you improve your novel-in-progress.

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Story Chat Radio