Are you a genre writer? For National Novel Writing Month, anything goes, but it can often be helpful to choose a genre and associated sub-genre(s). With genres and sub-genres come associated formulas, tropes, and imagery that can be very helpful when it comes to planning and writing.

Here are some reminders and words of advice when it comes to genre writing:

Genre-less? – If you’re not sure what your genre is yet, that’s okay! You will ultimately discover it while you are writing. Make notes of any similarities.

And, if your novel ends up being a mix of genres, or doesn’t have a clear genre at all, that’s also great. Whatever you create

On the NaNoWriMo forums, there is a community for every genre, and advice for every sub-genre! Make sure you connect with your writing community there for more inspiration and motivation from those writing in your genre.

Read widely – before and after NaNoWriMo, read widely in a genre you are interested in. Dive deep into different sub-genres, and find out more about what is already out there. Chances are you probably already read a lot in your genre of choice, but it never hurts to branch out. Find new sub-genres or try a new genre altogether!

Many authors write multiple genres; check out the backlists of some of your favourite genre authors and see if they have some thrillers among those romance titles. Alternatively, check out their genre-specific pen names to see what you can find.

Try reading in entirely different areas, too! If you’re always nose-deep in prose, try some poetry. If you love historical romances, why not some historical non-fiction? Or, if you love genre books with lots of realism, check out memoirs or biographies. Expanding your reading habits can, again, really help with your writing.

Interested in a new niche? – By niche, we mean something highly specific, beyond a broad genre or even sub-genre. Perhaps you are interested in narratives where a former orc mercenary starts a coffee shop, or the sci-fi romances featuring adopted alien babies, or perhaps a romantic suspense featuring two undercover spies after the same double-crossing agent.

The more specific you can get with your plot and characters, the more “niche” it may become. There are readers for every area of a genre, so don’t be afraid to be as original as possible. You may just emerge with a book that readers didn’t know they wanted.

And, importantly: maybe this niche is what you want above all else. Write for yourself first and foremost, especially during NaNoWriMo, and see where your genre journey may take you!

Try these genre-savvy resources:

Reedsy’s plot generator can be a great help to you if you are struggling to streamline your plot. You can randomly generate until your heart’s content, or lock certain aspects of the generated plot before continuing to random generating other plot points or characters until you’ve discovered your new plot.

Try some other fun, inspirational and useful tools as well, such as Reedsy’s book title generator or their character name generator.

And check out these Kobo Writing Life podcast episodes all about genre writing:

KWL – 258 – Writing New Genres with Nalini Singh
KWL – 270 – From Romance to Fantasy with K.A. Tucker
KWL – 297 – The Business of Romance Writing with Nana Malone
KWL – 295 – Writing a Domestic Thriller with Samantha M. Bailey
KWL – 290 – Satirical Fiction with Zarqa Nawaz
KWL – 285 – The Blood and Guts of Writing with Catherine Spader
KWL – 278 – Plotting a Cozy Mystery with Alexis Hall
KWL – 266 – Retelling Myths and Fairytales with Katee Robert
KWL – 253 – Multiple POV Mysteries with Aime Austin
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