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A Focus on Fiction for Novel Manuscript Writers

Happy New Year, novel manuscript writers! And Happy New Year, non-fiction manuscript writers too! We’ve got a great list of writing Definitions, Challenges and Rules lined up for 2018… not to mention plenty of other great blog posts that are editorial, publishing and marketing related.

This year, our focus is going to be on genres, starting out with the fiction side of things. So if you’re working on a novel manuscript, then Innovative Editing is making the first part of the year all about you!

Except for the Monday and Wednesday free-for-all blog posts. And the Professional Writing Tips on Thursdays. Those are for non-fiction manuscript writers too.

Speaking of such, non-fiction manuscript writers, your time will come this year! We’ll be delving into your various and very diverse genres later on in 2018.

For now, these informative posts are specifically geared toward novel manuscript writers. So if that sounds like you – or someone you want to be – then listen up! Because here’s your Definition:

Any book manuscript, no matter its length, is going to fit into one of two main categories. There’s non-fiction, which is centered around reality. And then there’s fiction, which is centered around an author’s imagination.

Those two are then subdivided into dozens of different genres. For fiction, that long list includes science fiction, historical fiction and Christian fiction, to name a few.

Yet no matter the word preceding it, if it’s really fiction, it has to contain certain elements... like these...

Those would be:

  • Character – who the story is about

  • Setting – where the story takes place

  • Plot – what happens in the story.

Dialogue isn’t actually required. Your character or characters don’t ever have to say a single word during the length of the novel manuscript you’re writing. Admittedly, it’s probably going to be a really boring read that way, but you’re not disqualified as a fiction writer if you choose to write in a hard-core stream of consciousness style. Or even if you’re writing about thoughtless mutes.

Then there’s the other aspect of today’s Definition. When I said, “For fiction, that long list includes science fiction, historical fiction and Christian fiction, to name a few,” I wasn’t kidding about those last four words.

Here’s a still incomplete list of the genres, including a few subgenres thrown in for good measure.

  • Literary Fiction

  • Historical Fiction

  • Crime/Detective

  • Mystery

  • Thriller

  • Horror

  • Fan Fiction

  • Science Fiction

  • Fantasy

  • High fantasy/epic fantasy

  • Urban fantasy/contemporary fantasy

  • Paranormal

  • Steampunk

  • Alternate History

  • Dystopian

  • Women’s Fiction

  • Chick-Lit

  • Romance

  • Christian Fiction

  • Historical Christian Fiction

  • Modern Christian Fiction

  • Board Books (under 3 years old)

  • Picture books (3-8)

  • Early-Level Reading (5-9)

  • First Chapter Books (6-9 or 7-10)

  • Middle-Grade (8-12)

  • Young Adult Fiction

I know there are at least a few genres out there I didn’t list, either because I couldn’t think of them, didn’t want to think of them (they’re just not my editorial cup of tea), or didn’t know to think of them.

But the ones above? We’ll be talking about how to best handle them over the next several months. So if you’re any one of those kinds of novel manuscript writers, keep a lookout! We’ll be tackling your topic soon enough.


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