Posted by: Jodi | October 6, 2010

French Underwater Nazi Zombies

Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about genres. Are you familiar with all of the genres of fiction? Have you tried anything new lately?

I had no idea that French underwater Nazi zombies was a specialized subgenre of zombie horror writing, but it seems there is a collection of such movies and fiction.  (Don’t believe me, check this out.)

Duotrope’s Digest lists these subgenres for the genre of fantasy alone:

  • Bizarro
  • Contemporary
  • Cross-Genre
  • Dark Fantasy
  • Fabulism
  • Fairy Tale
  • Gothic
  • Heroic Fantasy
  • Historical
  • Light Fantasy
  • Magic Realism
  • Paranormal
  • Science Fantasy
  • Shapeshifter
  • Shared World
  • Slipstream
  • Steampunk
  • Superhero
  • Supernatural
  • Sword & Sorcery
  • Urban Fantasy
  • Vampire
  • Weird Tale
  • Weird Western

In addition to these subgenres there are following styles to choose from:

  • Absurdist
  • Dark
  • Experimental
  • Humorous
  • Literary
  • Mainstream
  • Minimalist
  • Pulp
  • Quirky
  • Realist
  • Satirical
  • Surrealist

That means there are 288 subtle variations of fantasy to be explored.  Naturally, some of these have much larger demand than others.  I chose to explore the fantasy genre because that is my focus right now.   If you would like to explore the subgenres of other areas of fiction, head over to Duotrope’s Digest and look through the drop down menus for ideas of what’s out there.  You can get a good feel for the market saturation by running a search and seeing what titles come up.

On a separate note, I’m officially registered as a NaNoWriMo participant for this year.  You can be my buddy, I’m registered under Tsuchigari.  Come find me!



  1. Thanks for the excellent list of things that I should never (nor will) write about! Believe me, the world will be grateful. However, the writing styles are another thing altogether. . .especially since I thought absurdist was all there is (in my case, anyway!) For instance, I’ve had a number of suggestions to try the “minimalist” style!


    • Nah, you write the way you write and it’s great!

  2. I think most of us just write and wait for someone to tell us what style they think we have.

    See you in NaNoWriMo!

    • I think you’re right. 😉

    • That would be most helpful if someone told me what genre I write in. I have a hard time describing it.

      • For me figuring out genre is a no brainer, it’s the style that is harder to tell.

  3. A lecturer at university once told me that there’s only one story, on genre, and that everything ever written fits into it some way or another:

    There’s a character or group of characters in some kind of society. They are faced with a problem. A narrative then ensues, at the end of which either: the characters overcome the problem or the problem overcomes the characters.

    As much as I hate simplification; I’ve never been able to find a novel that doesn’t fit into this description.
    As usual, good thought-provoking post.

    Have tou read Hamlet? I love the scene in which Shakespeare mocks the idea of genre and how unhelpful it is, my compositing all the genres of the theatre into one long, meaingless label:

    It’s polonius who says it, introducing a troupe of actors:

    “The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral”


    • Ooops, sorry for the many typos in that post. I meant *have you and *by compositing.

    • Genres probably mean more to the folks in the marketing department than to the writer or reader.

    • Makes sense, all the stories I can think of fall into the “There’s a problem, we better fix it” category. Hamlet is my favorite Shakespeare!

  4. I want to be the first to write a “literary weird western”. That should keep me busy for a while.

    Seriously, as one whose first book is a coming-of-age romantic comedy, moving into epic fantasy, I can say that there is much different and much the same in writing both. In some ways fantasy is tough, with all the world-building stuff, but on the other hand it’s liberating because if you’re in the real world there is always so much to research anyway! In some ways it’s easier to just make stuff up.

    • The cool thing about imaginary worlds is your story is never out of date.

      If you write in the here and now (as I do), there’s always a risk that something or someone you reference will be out of date, dead, or destroyed in an earthquake.

    • A literary weird western…. hmmm will have to think about that. Epic fantasy does have the perk of not going out of date, hadn’t thought about that.

    • hasn’t Stephen King written the ultimate weird western in ‘The Dark Tower’ series?

      • Yes – he has.

  5. Well, I’ve written Vampire – Dark and Vampire – Humourous. Vamps everywhere for me but that’s no surprise. Just curious how you could have Vampire – Realist…guess that would be a vampire moaning about how hard it is to get blood these days and how it’s just so problematic with forensics and how you cannot just kill someone and leave them there…aw poor vampires, now I feel bad for them 😉

    • Vampire realist would be pretty funny. See! There is a fresh new angle you could explore.


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