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100 Best Blogs for Book Reviews

Published January 1, 2018 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Update: 2017 12 10 -THIS WAS FREE TO Share this page with your friends, and still is, however, since it was done in 2009, I can’t swear that all the blogs are active now. FYI: most of these bloggers do have specific formats for review submissions. Please be courteous and obey the rules. Gail

It seems that a large number of book fanatics love to write about what they’ve read almost as much as doing the actual reading. That’s a good thing for the rest of the readers out there, because blogs about books are an excellent way to discover great books without wasting your valuable time on the bad ones. Along with reading top book review blogs, students are exposed to excellent classic and contemporary books through traditional and online master’s degrees in English literature. Check out these blogs that are all dedicated to reviewing books.

September 15th, 2009 written by

Staff Writers

General Fiction Reviews

These blogs feature book reviews across many different fiction categories such as classics, world literature, literary fiction, mystery, young adult, and more. The books read by these bloggers go beyond what you’d come across in typical English degree programs.

  1. Becky’s Book Reviews. Becky reviews all sorts of fiction ranging from classics to science fiction to young adult fiction.
  2. books i done read. Get plenty of witty humor with the book reviews on this blog.
  3. bookshelves of doom. This prolific reader reviews books of all kinds and includes the source of her books as well.
  4. Absorbed in Words. The reviews here have an emphasis on books translated from Japanese, but include many other fiction books too.
  5. Bookdwarf. A frontlist buyer at the Harvard Book Store, this book lover writes reviews on literature, book covers, and much more on her blog.
  6. Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?. Check out the literary fiction reviews here that come with ratings from 1-100.
  7. Here There be Books. Anastasia blogs mostly about fiction in young adult, fantasy, sci-fi, and adventure. BLOG HAS GONE PRIVATE – DON’T BOTHER
  8. Books and Musings from Downunder. The reviews here include tons of helpful information such as genre, opening sentence, and rating (A+, A, B, C, D).
  9. It’s all about me (time). These books cross genres ranging from chick lit to classics to world literature.
  10. Lynda’s Book Blog. This Welsh blogger reviews all types of books including thrillers, world literature, mysteries, classics, and even some non-fiction.
  11. Peachybooks. Blogging from Britain, many of the books Jo writes about here are from or about the UK.
  12. Stephanie’s Confessions of a Book-a-holic. Stephanie participates in many book challenges and posts about them all on her blog.
  13. The Book Nest. The books here tend to more young adult and fantasy, but a wide range of other genres are also covered due to the many challenges and book tours in which Corinne participates. The Book Nest Review Policy I do occasionally read review copies.  I am much more prone to accept your book if it is in the young adult genre.  I will give every book I read 50 pages to catch my attention.  I don’t review books that I put down at 50 pages but I review every book I finish and always give a fair and balanced review here on my blog.  I also post all my reviews on Goodreads, Facebook and Shelfari.  Feel free to submit to booknestreviews at gmail dot com.
  14. The Boston Bibliophile. Literary fiction, Jewish fiction and non-fiction, and graphic novels are all reviewed here.
  15. Caribousmom. The books reviewed here are generally literary fiction, mystery, and historical novels.
  16. Rhapsodyinbooks’s Weblog. Written by a husband and wife team, this blog covers all sorts of fiction.
  17. Whimpulsive. Mystery, young adult, memoirs, and historical fiction are just a few of the genres represented among these reviews.
  18. Rose City Reader. This prolific reviewer also includes links to other reviews–providing you with lots of information about books.
  19. Worducopia. Books and writing both get billing on this blog that features lots of fiction with some non-fiction also included.
  20. We Be Reading. K and Z are a mom and son team (with mom doing most of the actual writing) that cover both adult and children’s literature.
  21. A Work in Progress. Biographies, historical fiction, mysteries, and more show up on this blog.
  22. things mean a lot. The books reviewed here include historical fiction, general fiction, YA, graphic novels, and more.
  23. Books on the Nightstand. This blog features not only a variety of genres from graphic novels to “bathroom reading” to classics, it also offers options for how to get the book reviews with both written reviews and podcasts.

Children and Young Adult Reviews

Children’s literature and young adult literature are the focus of these blogs.

  1. Guys Lit Wire. This blog features books that are of interest to teenage boys.
  2. a wrung sponge. Get reviews of children and young adult literature and poetry as well as books for parents here.
  3. Book Nut. Melissa reviews adult fiction as well here, but the bulk of her posts are on children’s and young adult literature. She includes age ranges on each, too.
  4. Bookworm 4 Life. Written by a librarian at a public library, the books here focus mostly on teen literature.
  5. SherMeree’s Musings. This children’s and teen’s librarian reviews books from these categories. Reviews include number of pages, appropriate age range, and publishing information.
  6. Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. While not following the traditional book review format, this blog gives the low-down on authors, illustrators, and the books themselves from this genre.
  7. A Fuse #8 Production. Check out this blog for in-depth reviews of kid lit.
  8. Jen Robinson’s Book Page. Jen writes reviews about kid lit and includes age ranges, publication information, and sources of her books.
  9. Maw Books Blog. YA fiction, kid lit, and even a bit of historical fiction and author interviews end up on this blog.
  10. Shelf Elf: read, write, rave. Children’s and young adult’s books are featured on this blog as well as news and updates about books and authors in this field.
  11. GreenBeanTeenQueen. If you are looking for reviews on teen and tween literature, then let this librarian guide you with her reviews.
  12. The Book Cellar. The reviews of YA literature here are done by the 16 year-old blogger who posts a short excerpt from the book along with her review and a rating based on a 5-star system.
  13. Pop Culture Junkie. While most of the books here are YA, there are also reviews on other types of fiction as well.
  14. The Story Siren. The YA reviews here include a star rating system for separate components of each book, including overall, plot, characters, ending, writing, and cover.
  15. Tempting Persephone…. Written by a young adult librarian, the books here have a decidedly fantasy/alternate reality bent to them.

Collaborative Blogs

These blogs share the reviewing work with some blogs having many reviewers and others only a few. The differing perspectives from them offer a wider range of opinion.

  1. 26 books. What started as one reader reviewing 26 books in one year has grown to multiple reviewers and hundreds of books.
  2. BookFetish. This collaborative blog features reviews on mysteries and thrillers, young adult, fantasy, and more.
  3. Omnivoracious’ Amazon Blog. A collaborative effort from Amazon.com, this blog covers everything from cook books to fiction.
  4. The New Book Review. Readers, reviewers, and authors can submit their reviews here which cover a wide variety of genres.
  5. Book Nook Club. These 13 book reviewers cover many different genres and encourage their readers to leave comments to for further discussion.
  6. Five Borough Book Review. A group of 20-something New Yorkers, they review books as varied as they are.
  7. Shelf Love. Jenny and Teresa review everything from classics to contemporary fiction to children’s literature.

Industry and Professional Reviewers

From national newspapers to web magazines, these blogs provide reviews from professionals.

  1. ArtsBeat. This blog from the New York Times looks at books, their authors, and news surrounding both.
  2. Book Soup Blog. Book Soup is a book store in Los Angeles and they include reviews of new literature on this blog.
  3. New York Review of Books. The reviews here focus on non-fiction books covering topics such as health care, politics, and more.
  4. A Different Stripe. These reviews are from The New York Review of Books Classics.
  5. Blog of a Bookslut. The blog from this popular web magazine covers book reviews and book news.
  6. Critical Mass. From National Book Critics Circle Board of Directors, this blog not only features a wide variety of book reviews, but also news from the publishing industry.
  7. Jacket Copy. This blog from the LA Times features book reviews and other publishing and book news.

History and Historical Fiction

Fans of history and historical fiction will love these blogs, which provide a great diversion for those pursuing graduate degrees in history.

  1. Carla Nayland Historical Fiction. Carla writes about her favorite genre, historical fiction, on her blog.
  2. Age 30+…A Lifetime of Books. Memoirs and historical fiction both feature on this mom’s blog, with the occasional kid lit, too.
  3. A Reader’s Respite. Don’t expect any kind of dry account of historical fiction on this blog where high camp is king.
  4. Steven Till. Historical fiction, medieval history terms of the week, and a good dose of fantasy are all included on this blog.
  5. TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog. This blog is all about the Civil War and reviews mostly non-fiction works.
  6. News and Random Musings about Historical Novels. This blog from HistoricalNovels.info includes plenty of book reviews.
  7. Historical Tapestry. This collaborative blog features historical novels from several different eras.
  8. Julie K. Rose. Written by a historical novelist, this blog shares book reviews, definitions of obscure words, and sneak peeks at books-in-progress.
  9. Writing the Renaissance. While writing her own historical fiction novel, this blogger also reviews books and talks about renaissance history.
  10. The Biblio Blogazine. Historical fiction is this blogger’s book of choice, but you may see other types of books reviewed here too.
  11. Bookfoolery and Babble. Lots of different types of books are reviewed here, but historical fiction and history books tend to surface the most.

Mystery and Thriller

Whether mystery, crime, or thrillers are your thing, these blogs will offer plenty of great suggestions for you.

  1. Kittling: Book. Mysteries and thrillers feature highly here, but you can also find a smattering of historical fiction and biographies too.
  2. Bookgasm. Crime, mystery, thrillers, and even a bit of non-fiction turn up on this blog.
  3. Jen’s Book Thoughts. Jen reviews mystery novels and also includes author interviews.
  4. The Drowning Machine. Mystery and crime novels are the focus of this blog. Recent posts have featured a short story contest they’ve been running, but the book reviews should be back soon.


Romance novels seem to beckon a variety of different review styles and these blogs highlight some of the best.

  1. The Book Smugglers. Romance and fantasy books are both featured on this blog–and bonus points for romance fantasy books.
  2. Book Binge. These three women blog about their passion for romance novels.
  3. RipMyBodice.com. The three women here write reviews of romance novels and don’t take themselves too seriously.
  4. Babbling About Books, and More. Not only does KB babble about romance novels, she also has fun with words and silly photos.
  5. Gossamer Obsessions. This blogger offers an enjoyable breakdown of the cast of characters and the traditional romance novel devices used in the reviews here.
  6. Racy Romance Reviews. Here you’ll find a philosophy professor who reads romance novels and blog about the books themselves and the genre.
  7. ReadingAdventures. Romance and historical fiction are found on this blog.
  8. Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. These two smart women review romance novels and give them a grade from A+ to F.

Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Adventure

If you like your books a little out of this world, then check out these blogs that feature science fiction, fantasy, and adventure.

  1. BestScienceFictionStories.com. Science fiction short stories and novelettes are reviewed on this blog.
  2. Exclusively Books. Written by a group of Latter-day Saint women, these books are mostly fantasy and adventure. The ladies warn of bad language and adult content, too.
  3. Stuff as Dreams are Made On…. Chris enjoys reading and reviewing fantasy, sci-fi, YA, and even a bit of general fiction.
  4. Bold. Blue. Adventure.. Sci-fi and fantasy are the favorites here, along with a good dose of YA and graphic novels.
  5. The Book Pirate. While not all the books reviewed here are about pirates, it doesn’t hurt if they feature zombies, fantasy, or sea monsters.
  6. The Book Zombie. Eerie seems to be the tone of most of these books, which may include young adult and adult literature.
  7. bombastic bagman. These book reviews tend to fantasy and alternate realities. Comics and mysteries that overlap with fantasy are also represented.
  8. Bibliophile Stalker. This blog looks at books from the speculative fiction and fantasy genre.
  9. SciFiGuy.ca. SciFiGuy reviews focus on urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and speculative fiction and fantasy.
  10. The Galaxy Express. Science fiction romance is the genre de jour at this blog.

Graphic Novels and Comic Books

It’s time to take this genre seriously, and these blogs are a great way to learn about it.

  1. Jog – The Blog. Manga, old-fashioned comics, and graphic novels are just a few of the genres reviewed here.
  2. The Weekly Crisis. Get comic book reviews here from four reviewers that include Moments of the Week, Cover of the Week, manga, and more.
  3. Warren Peace Sings the Blues. Comics of all varieties, including manga, are reviewed here.

Unique Genres

From book covers to regional authors to terrible books, these blogs offer a perspective that’s a bit different from the rest.

  1. The Book Design Review. This blog proves you can judge a book by its cover. This blog is all about the design of books.
  2. Reading Local: Portland. Focusing on the literary world in Portland, Oregon, this blog features reviews of books by Portland authors as well as other news and events in the area.
  3. In Spring it is the Dawn. This Canadian blogger has been living in Japan for about 8 years and reviews a steady stream of books from Japanese writers or set in Japan.
  4. YA Fabulous. This blog reviews and discusses young adult books with GLBT themes.
  5. Awful Library Books. Two librarians have made it their mission to weed out terrible books that are actually on library shelves. See which ones they select on this blog.
  6. Judge a Book by its Cover. In the vein of awful books, this blog features books with really bad covers. Beware of some adult content.

Mixed Bag of Genres

These blogs cover a wide variety of genres and even stretch out into reviews of other mediums such as movies.

  1. Blog | Book Dads. This blog highlights books about dads and their relationships with their children. Adult, young adult, and children’s literature are all reviewed.
  2. Books, Movies and Chinese Food. Most of the books reviewed by this grad student are Christian fiction.
  3. it’s dark in the dark. This blog features scary books and rates them on creepy factor, suspense factor, weird erotic tension factor, and funny and/or strange factor.
  4. Dreadlock Girl Reads. Dreadlock Girl reviews everything from literary fiction to non-fiction to movies.
  5. S. Krishna’s Books. World literature book reviews are featured along with music and photography on this blog.
  6. The Bottom of Heaven. While book reviews are a large part of this blog, it also shares plenty of information and insight about black culture in America.


Published September 11, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Why is it important for a writer to have a comfortable space to write? As a writer, I have to say that if I’m uncomfortable physically, it makes it much harder to concentrate on being creative. If I am in the creative zone, I may spend 10 or 12 hours at my terminal with only short breaks for food or to use the restroom. Fatigue or even repetitive motion injuries from typing on a regular keyboard or sitting in a poorly designed chair decreases my abilities and concentration. However, these things can be avoided with a few inexpensive fixes.

Several years ago, I was introduced to ‘ergonomic furniture and computer accessories”. What is that you say? Ergonomic furniture and accessories are designed to reduce physical stress on the person using them, and help prevent repetitive strain (Carpal tunnel) or musculoskeletal disorders in those of us who spend a lot of time at a computer screen. Which is something I badly needed because I do spend a lot of time on a computer terminal: I write fiction, I’m a blogger, I run two online/print newsletters, and I am webmaster for several web sites. In between that, I am also my husband’s office manager in his business.

This brings up a comparison point: which system provides more comfort; a PC or an Apple product. I ask this because some time ago we made the decision to switch from PC products, which is supported by Microsoft to Apple products because of the increased security from online malware they offer.  The relative freedom from Malware attacks does have a drawback. Unfortunately, while Apple is way out in front in designing products for mobile use, they are far behind the PC industry when it comes to ergonomic accessories for its users. In fact, they do not actually offer any ergonomic keyboards or mice in the Apple Store (or is it mouses when talking tech?). While there are companies who do manufacture ergonomic accessories that are compatible with Apple products, they don’t integrate as smoothly with Apple as does Apples own products. Apples products are usually rechargeable; sadly, the substitute stuff sold by other manufactures is not.  Keyboards and mice are either plug in or if they are wireless, they require batteries.

Is it worth it? Well, that depends on how much your hands and wrists begin to hurt using a non-ergonomic keyboard for lengthy periods. The difference in appearance between a standard keyboard and an ergonomic one is obvious once you have seen or used one. The standard keyboard is flat and rectangular, whereas an ergonomic keyboard actually looks quite different. While it is still longer than it is wide, an ergonomic keyboard is slightly curved, allowing the user’s hands to rest at a more natural angle when typing. The keys are also slightly larger with a tiny bit more space between them. As you can see, Ergonomic keyboards also come with a wrist support.

I did a run on the internet and three Ergonomic keyboards that came most highly recommended on the reviews on Amazon are shown here. However, all the reviews did mention that not all of the keys were functional straight out of the box, but with the additional purchase of USB Overdrive (free program app) the keys worked fine. This was an overall view expressed on all of the keyboards I found.

This item Perixx PERIBOARD-512II W, Ergonomic Split Keyboard – White – Natural Ergonomic Design – Wired USB Interface – Recommended with Repetitive Stress Injuries RSI User. This one retails at about $50.00. 4 ½ stars on Amazon


Logitech Mk550 Wave Wireless Keyboard/Mouse Combo (It got 4 ½ stars on Amazon). This one retails out at about $50.00 on Amazon.com. Logitech is one of the most trusted computer accessory brands worldwide.


Adesso Tru-Form Media Contoured Ergonomic Keyboard (PCK-208B) got 4 stars on Amazon. This was the least expensive one of the three ($30). It was specifically mentioned however that this keyboard was not good for gaming.



Published August 7, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

The first question asked when a writer sends a manuscript to an agent, a publisher or a self publishing site, is “What genre is it?” Several Years ago, I wrote a blog defining the many Art Genres. This year, I decided to try the same with writing. I searched the internet and pulled up most of these definitions from Wikipedia, and various other internet sources who defined writing genre. It is by no means a comprehensive list, but it might help my fellow writers when asked by a publisher to define the genre of the book they have just written. There is an enormous amount of information about book genres, so I will be presenting these blogs genre by genre over the next few weeks. I limited myself to fiction. I may do a similar chart for non-fiction later though. I got the idea for the chart from a Facebook post, but I made some changes and additions to what was there. Please feel free to share or add to it.


Youth Fiction (YA): I made this a separate category because the plots of these novels span all the genres. Young adult fiction or young adult literature (YA) is fiction for readers from 12 to 18. However, authors and readers of “young teen novels” often define it as works written for age 15 to the early 20s. The terms young adult novel, juvenile novel, teenage fiction, young adult book, etc., all refer to the works in this category.  The subject and story lines of young adult literature must be consistent with the age and experience of the main character, but these books span the spectrum of fiction genres. Stories that focus on the specific challenges of youth or teens are sometimes referred to as coming-of-age novels.

Children’s Fiction: is a genre all to itself. These are children’s books written especially for children from 0 to 12 years old. Like YA fiction, they include a broad spectrum of the genres, with certain differences from YA and Adult fiction.

Picture Books: Children’s books that provide a “visual experience” – tell a story with pictures. There may or may not be very simple text with the book. The content of the book can be explained with the illustrated pictures.

Picture Story Books are Children’s books that have pictures or illustrations to complement the story and usually are aimed for a trifle older audience (7-10) depending on their reading ability. These are often done on a collaborative basis with the author employing an illustrator, or vice versa. Both the text and the illustrations are important to the development of the story. The pictures are the “eye-candy” that get children’s attention, but the text is needed to complete the story.

Traditional Literature, includes stories passed down from generation to generation. In many ways, the fact that they do change over time is what makes them so fascinating because of the link they provide to the past. To remain meaningful in different eras, the stories while keeping much of their original flavor and content, must evolve in subtle ways to be acceptable to current mores and culture. These are folktales, fairy tales, fables, legends and myths.

Children’s Historical Fiction are stories that are written to illustrate or convey information about a specific time or historical event. Authors use historical fiction to create drama and interest based on real events in people’s lives.

Children’s Fantasy is probably easier to define by example or by what it isn’t. The stories are contemporary or set in nondescript  time periods. These are imaginative tales requiring readers to accept story lines that clearly cannot be true. They may be based on animals that talk, facets of science fiction, supernatural or horror, or combinations of these elements. “Charlottes Web,” “Winnie the Pooh,” “Alice in Wonderland”, “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” and “The Wizard of Oz” are all examples of modern fantasy written for young readers up to 12 years old.

Children’s Realistic Fiction has main characters of roughly the age (or slightly older than) the book’s intended audience. The books offer a “real-world” problem or challenge and show how a young person solves that problem.



Published July 31, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

The first question asked when a writer sends a manuscript to an agent, a publisher or a self publishing site, is “What genre is it?” Several Years ago, I wrote a blog defining the many Art Genres. This year, I decided to try the same with writing. I searched the internet and pulled up most of these definitions from Wikipedia, and various other internet sources who defined writing genre. It is by no means a comprehensive list, but it might help my fellow writers when asked by a publisher to define the genre of the book they have just written. There is an enormous amount of information about book genres, so I will be presenting these blogs genre by genre over the next few weeks. I limited myself to fiction. I may do a similar chart for non-fiction later though. I got the idea for the chart from a Facebook post, but I made some changes and additions to what was there. Please feel free to share or add to it.


Don’t worry, you can usually just use General Fiction.

General: like Children’s and Youth Fiction, General Fiction can span all decades and genres. These are books that fall into the general fiction genre are often ones that straddle so many genres it’s hard to place them in any specific genre. The books in the general fiction genre can be a combination of any three or more genres of fiction that cause them to be outside the limits and rules of those specific genres. Examples of this: a science fiction, fantasy, romance that has strong elements of comedy and action and adventure. The Kite Runner, Water for Elephants, Life of Pi, The Great Gatsby, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and the Poisonwood Bible. General Fiction is that strange catch-all genre where titles no one knows how to classify end up. This section generally takes up about half a bookstore’s inventory. But even though it’s a vague term, there are some types fiction that are guaranteed to be found in this section of bookstores or libraries.

Classic Literature: Stories that are representative of the time in which they were written, but because they have a universal appeal, the books lasted in print and popularity. “Little Women” and “A Tale Of Two Cities” comes to mind.

Drama: A novel centered on the conflict or contrast of characters.

Humor:  A humorous novel has one goal:  to provide amusement and make the reader laugh.

Satire: This is category closely related to humor, but it has a more malicious edge. Its main elements are irony, sarcasm and parody. Unlike straight humor, satire is created to draw attention to social problems through wit. Satires always have a message of some kind.

Realistic Fiction: All realistic fiction has these three elements 1) a setting that can be found in the real world 2) the characters will be lifelike and fully formed 3) a conflict or problem that centers on everyday issues or personal relationships that could exist in real life.

Tragedy: A tragedy takes a reader through events leading to the self-destruction or catastrophe for the lead characters or those around them. It is sometimes referred to as a tear-jerker. A tragi-comedy is a combination of tragedy and comedy. To qualify as this type of fiction there must be an equal mixture of both tragedy and comedy.

Chick Lit or Women’s Fiction: This is fiction aimed at women and addresses a variety of subjects, i.e. from shopping to relationships. Think Sex and the City.

Inspirational Fiction: this type of novel has the goal of inspiring the reader. Its lead characters overcome obstacles and it can be set in the past, present or the future provided that the setting could occur in real life. Most Christian fiction will fall under this category.

Historical Fiction: we covered Historical fiction in the various genres, but there are some novels who simply don’t fit into them. The main idea would be to showcase the past in an accurate manner while making the characters interesting. If it involves real events, they must be reported accurately and without change. The most successful historical fiction sometimes tells the story of ordinary people and how they are affected by historical events.



Published July 24, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

The first question asked when a writer sends a manuscript to an agent, a publisher or a self publishing site, is “What genre is it?” Several Years ago, I wrote a blog defining the many Art Genres. This year, I decided to try the same with writing. I searched the internet and pulled up most of these definitions from Wikipedia, and various other internet sources who defined writing genre. It is by no means a comprehensive list, but it might help my fellow writers when asked by a publisher to define the genre of the book they have just written. There is an enormous amount of information about book genres, so I will be presenting these blogs genre by genre over the next few weeks. I limited myself to fiction. I may do a similar chart for non-fiction later though. I got the idea for the chart from a Facebook post, but I made some changes and additions to what was there. Please feel free to share or add to it.


Fantasy is a fiction genre set in an imaginary universe, most often without any locations, events, or people from the real world. Most fantasy uses magic or other supernatural elements as a main plot element, theme, or setting. Magic and magical creatures are common in many of these imaginary worlds. Fantasy is generally distinguished from the genres of science fiction and horror by the expectation that it will steer clear of scientific and macabre themes, though there is a great deal of overlap among the three, all of which are subgenres of speculative fiction.

Urban Fantasy:   is a subgenre of fantasy defined by place; it is a fantastic narrative with an urban setting. Urban fantasy exists on one side of a spectrum opposite high fantasy, which is set in an entirely fictitious world. Many urban fantasies are set in contemporary times with supernatural elements. However, the stories can take place in historical, modern, or futuristic periods. The prerequisite is that they must be primarily set in a city.

Contemporary Fantasy:  is generally distinguished from horror fiction—which also has contemporary settings and fantastic elements—by the overall tone; emphasizing joy or wonder rather than fear or dread. These are stories set in the accepted real world in contemporary times; magic and magical creatures exist but are not commonly seen or understood; either living in the crevices of our world or leaking over from alternate worlds. It has much in common with and sometimes overlaps with secret history. A work of fantasy where the magic does not remain secret, or does not have any known relationship to known history, would not fit into this subgenre.

Traditional Fantasy:

Please see the definition of Fantasy above.

Horror: is a genre of fiction which is intended to frighten, scare, disgust, or startle their readers or viewers by inducing feelings of horror and terror. Literary historian J. A. Cuddon has defined the horror story as “a piece of fiction in prose of variable length… which shocks or even frightens the reader, or perhaps induces a feeling of repulsion or loathing”. It creates an eerie and frightening atmosphere. Horror is frequently supernatural though it can be non-supernatural. Often the central menace of a work of horror fiction can be interpreted as a metaphor for the larger fears of a society.

Historical Fantasy: This is a category of fantasy and a sub genre of historical fiction that combines fantastic elements (such as magic) into the story. There is much crossover with other subgenres of fantasy; books classed as Arthurian, Celtic, or Dark Ages could just as easily be placed in Historical Fantasy. Stories fitting this classification generally take place prior to the 20th century.

Weird Fiction: is a subgenre of speculative fiction starting in the late 19th and early 20th century. It can include ghost stories and other tales of the macabre. Weird fiction is distinguished from horror and fantasy in its blending of supernatural, mythical, and even scientific elements. British authors who have embraced this style have published their work in mainstream literary magazines. American weird fiction writers included Edgar Allan Poe, William Hope Hodgson, H. P. Lovecraft, Lord Dunsany, Arthur Machen M. R. James, and Clark Ashton Smith.

Comic Fantasy:  is a subgenre of fantasy that is primarily humorous in intent and tone. Usually set in imaginary worlds, comic fantasy can spoof and parody other works of fantasy, detective fiction or other genres. It is sometimes known as Low Fantasy in contrast to High Fantasy, which is primarily serious in intent and tone. The term “low fantasy” is used to represent other types of fantasy, however, so while comic fantasies may also correctly be classified as low fantasy, many examples of low fantasy are not comic in nature. Two of the most famous examples in this genre would be the Myth Series which successfully spoofed Fantasy and the Garrett P.I. series which did a parody of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe detective series. Other writers of comic fantasy are emerging; notably Dakota Cassidy with her werewolf/witch spoofs and Amanda M. Lee’s Wicked Witches of the Midwest series.

Slipstream: Slipstream is a kind of fantastic or non-realistic fiction that crosses the traditional genre boundaries between science fiction, fantasy, and literary fiction. Slipstream falls between speculative fiction and mainstream fiction. While some slipstream novels employ elements of science fiction or fantasy, not all do. The common unifying factor of these books is some degree of the surreal, the not-entirely real, or the markedly anti-real.

Epic / High Fantasy: High Fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy, and is defined by its setting in a fictional universe or by the epic stature of its characters, themes, and plot. The term “high fantasy” was coined by Lloyd Alexander in a 1971 essay, “High Fantasy and Heroic Romance” (originally given at the New England Round Table of Children’s Librarians in October 1969). Epic Fantasy has been described as containing three elements: it must be a trilogy or longer, its time-span must encompass years or more, and it must contain a large back-story or universe setting in which the story takes place.



Published July 17, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

The first question asked when a writer sends a manuscript to an agent, a publisher or a self publishing site, is “What genre is it?” Several Years ago, I wrote a blog defining the many Art Genres. This year, I decided to try the same with writing. I searched the internet and pulled up most of these definitions from Wikipedia, and various other internet sources who defined writing genre. It is by no means a comprehensive list, but it might help my fellow writers when asked by a publisher to define the genre of the book they have just written. There is an enormous amount of information about book genres, so I will be presenting these blogs genre by genre over the next few weeks. I limited myself to fiction. I may do a similar chart for non-fiction later though. I got the idea for the chart from a Facebook post, but I made some changes and additions to what was there. Please feel free to share or add to it.


Science fiction or speculative fiction (often shortened to SF, sci-fi or scifi) is a genre dealing with notions such as futuristic science, technology, space travel, time travel, faster than light travel, parallel universes, and extraterrestrial life. Science fiction often explores the potential consequences of scientific innovations, and has been referred a “literature of ideas,” or future casting. It usually avoids the supernatural, and unlike the related genre of fantasy, science fiction stories were intended to have a grounding in science-based facts or theories prevalent at the time the story was created; a description now limited to hard science fiction.

Dystopian / Utopian: utopia and its derivative, dystopia, are genres exploring social and political structures. Utopian fiction shows a setting agreeing with the author’s ideology, and has attributes of different reality to appeal to readers. Dystopian (or dystopic) fiction (sometimes combined with, but distinct from apocalyptic literature) is the opposite. It shows a setting that completely disagrees with the author’s ideology. Many novels combine both, often as a metaphor for the different directions humanity can take, depending on its choices. Both utopias and dystopias are commonly found in science fiction and other speculative fiction genres and arguably are a type of speculative fiction. Apocalyptic Science Fiction is a sub-genre of Dystopian Science Fiction covering the end of civilization, through nuclear war, plague, or some other general disaster. The time frame may be immediately after the catastrophe, focusing on the travails or psychology of survivors, or considerably later, often including the theme that the existence of pre-catastrophe civilization has been forgotten or mythologized. Post apocalyptic stories often take place in an agrarian, non-technological future world, or a world where only scattered elements of technology remain.

Space Opera: is a subgenre of science fiction emphasizing space warfare, melodramatic adventure, interplanetary battles, risk-taking, and chivalric romance. Set mainly or entirely in outer space, it frequently involves conflict between opponents possessing advanced abilities, futuristic weapons, and other sophisticated technology. The term has no relation to music but was coined during the 1930s to indicate clichéd and formulaic stories in several genres. Space operas emerged in the 1930s and they continue to be produced in literature, film, comics, and video games. The most notable was probably produced by E.E. “Doc” Smith.

Cyberpunk: Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction taking place in a future setting. It tends to focus on society as “high tech low life” showcasing advanced technological and scientific accomplishments, such as information technology and cybernetics, creating a breakdown or radical change in the social order. Cyberpunk plots often center on conflict among artificial intelligences, hackers, and megacorporation’s in a near-future Earth. The settings are usually post-industrial dystopias but feature extraordinary cultural turmoil and the use of technology in ways never anticipated by its original inventors. Much of the genre’s atmosphere echoes film noir writers and often uses modus operandi from this genre of detective fiction.

Military Science Fiction: is a subgenre of science fiction that uses science fiction technology, mainly weapons, for military purposes. Its principal characters are generally members of a military organization involved in military activity. The action sometimes takes place in outer space or on a different planet or planets. It is found in literature, comics, film, and video games. A detailed description of the conflict, the tactics and weapons used, and the role of a military service and the individual members of that military organization generally forms the basis for a work of military science fiction. The stories often use events of actual past or current Earth conflicts, with countries being replaced by planets or galaxies of similar characteristics, battleships replaced by space battleships and certain events changed so that the author can induce what might have occurred differently.

Hard/Soft Science Fiction: is a category of science fiction marked by an emphasis on scientific accuracy. The terms were first used in print in 1957 by P. Schuyler Miller in a review of John W. Campbell, Jr.’s “Islands of Space” in Astounding Science Fiction. The complementary term Soft Science Fiction, formed by comparison to hard science fiction, first appeared in the late 1970s. It was created to emphasize the distinction between the “hard” (natural) and “soft” (social) sciences. Science fiction critic Gary Westfahl thinks that both terms are ways of describing stories that reviewers and commentators have found useful.

Alternate History: or alternative history (British English), sometimes abbreviated as AH, is a genre of stories in which one or more historical events occur differently than as history recorded them. These stories are set in a world in which history has deviated from history as it is generally known; more simply put, alternate history asks the question, “What if history had developed differently?” Most works in this genre are set in real historical contexts, yet feature social, geopolitical or industrial settings that developed differently or at a different pace from our own. This subgenre comprises fiction in which a change or point of divergence happens that causes history to diverge from our own.

Steampunk:  is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that refers to works set in an era where steam power is still widely used;19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West, where steam power has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that employs steam power in the same way. Although its literary origins are sometimes identified with the cyberpunk genre, it has marked differences. Inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne are often included. Steampunk encompasses alternate history-style elements of past technology like dirigibles or mechanical computers combined with futuristic technology like multi-function goggles, giant robots and ray guns. Steampunk may be described as neo-Victorian. It most recognizably features anachronistic technologies or retro futuristic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era’s perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art.

Romantic Science Fiction: This genre seems to be written almost exclusively for and by women. In most cases, it is simply a love story set in the future or a distant planet, although it can be set in the past or an alternate world as well. It centers more on relationships than on science, and any futuristic or fantasy elements take second place to the relationships. Usually there is no attempt to explain why the technology works; only its actions are described. A flying car or spaceship is simply said to go places, time travel simply happens without any attempt to describe the scientific method by which this might work. Probably the two most recognizable writers of romantic science fiction are Jayne Castle’s (AKA Krenz) books on Harmony and Diana Gabaldon’s Highlander series (now a TV series). Romantic Sci-Fi includes the sub-genre of Romantic Fantasy (virtually the same except magic is used rather than technology). A fuller description of this sub genre can be found in the Romance category.



Published July 10, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

The first question asked when a writer sends a manuscript to an agent, a publisher or a self publishing site, is “What genre is it?” Several Years ago, I wrote a blog defining the many Art Genres. This year, I decided to try the same with writing. I searched the internet and pulled up most of these definitions from Wikipedia, and various other internet sources who defined writing genre. It is by no means a comprehensive list, but it might help my fellow writers when asked by a publisher to define the genre of the book they have just written. There is an enormous amount of information about book genres, so I will be presenting these blogs genre by genre over the next few weeks. I limited myself to fiction. I may do a similar chart for non-fiction later though. I got the idea for the chart from a Facebook post, but I made some changes and additions to what was there. Please feel free to share or add to it.


Thriller is a broad genre having numerous subgenres. Thrillers are characterized and defined by the mood of fear and suspense they elicit, giving viewers heightened feelings of excitement, surprise and anxiety. A thriller generally has a more villain driven plot than adventure. This list is my no means all inclusive.

Eco Thriller: Eco thrillers are normally set around a threat (natural or man-made) to the environment, and combine action, adventure with maybe a touch of mystery. They are fast-paced and usually laced with science. The lead character must find a way to negate the threat.

Supernatural Thriller: Supernatural fiction or supernaturalist fiction involves plot devices or themes that contradict Ideas and assumptions commonplace in the natural world. It is very closely aligned with Horror though usually in a more inhibited fashion. This genre brings in an otherworldly element, Often the hero and/or villain has (or at least claims) some psychic ability.

Historical Thriller: This genre differs from other thrillers in that is set in the past, usually prior to 1960. It may also contain elements of espionage, military or other genres but should not be confused with political/conspiracy thrillers which occur in a more contemporary setting.

Medical/Psychological Thrillers: I have lumped these to together because they draw from similar backgrounds. In Medical Thrillers, a doctor’s life is often threatened (because they helped a certain patient), or a mysterious (usually artificial) disease has broken out. Robin Cook and Tess Gerritsen are leaders in this subgenre. Sandra Wilkenson’s novel Death On Call is an early example. (sometimes the authors are doctors themselves.) Psychological subgenre tales build up slowly, with ever-increasing doubt and tension, until some explicit action/violence takes place, usually at the finale.

Political/Conspiracy Thriller: This genre is very similar in some ways to the Environmental Thriller. Usually the hero or heroine confronts a large, well organized company, government dept., or group. The threat posed by this group is only perceived by the protagonist. A great deal of the plot revolves around a single individual defeating the above groups while encountering disbelief from everyone around him/her. Perplexing forces pull strings in the life of the lead character — if not throughout the world. Usually the hero becomes a threat to the conspirators, and must escape their wrath. Often these stories depict the aberrations caused by secrecy, and the corrupting influence of power.

Espionage or Spy Thriller: As a genre, spy fiction is thematically related to the adventure novel and involves espionage as an important background or plot device. It emerged in the early twentieth century, inspired by rivalries and intrigues between the major powers, and the establishment of modern intelligence agencies. The genre was given new impetus by the increase of fascism and communism in the lead-up to World War II. It continued to develop during the Cold War, and received a fresh impetus from the emergence of rogue states like ISIS, international criminal organizations, global terrorist networks, maritime piracy and technological sabotage as convincing threats to Western societies.

Techno Thriller: A techno-thriller is a hybrid genre drawing plot elements from science fiction, thrillers, spy fiction, action, and war novels. They include a lopsided amount of technical details on their subject matter; only hard science fiction tends towards a comparable level of supporting detail on the technical side. The inner workings of technology and the mechanics of various practices (espionage, martial arts, politics) are thoroughly explored, and the plot often turns on the of that exploration.

Military Thriller: the focus of this genre is on the development of the crisis, and the detailing of the military action. an aggressive move by the Bad Guys forces the Good to wage large-scale combat to stop them. This can also be found on a smaller scale with many novels set in WWII or prior. However, these are cross genre novels coinciding with Historical thrillers.

Legal Thriller: the plot usually is centered around courtroom action, with a lawyer as the protagonist. This is not to be confused with a Courtroom Drama. In a courtroom drama, the reader often doesn’t know who the villain is until the climax of the story. In a legal thriller, the reader generally knows who the bad guy is from the beginning and the action focuses on whether justice is served.

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