Start writing fiction
Start writing fiction

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

3.2 The uses of genre

There are two central uses of genre for any writer:

  • You might wish to write within a particular genre; in which case, your question is – what are the defining characteristics, and possible ‘rules’ of that genre? Here, ‘reading as a writer’ is clearly important. The best way to see how to do this is to see how others have done it. Read and familiarise yourself with the specific ‘tricks of the trade’ to achieve that genre’s particular effect.
  • You might not wish to write within a specific genre. In this case, it’s useful to know about genre for a number of reasons. First, to avoid unwittingly writing in such a way that you will be categorised within a particular genre. Second, you might wish to ‘borrow’ characteristics from any number of genres. An example of this is Peter Høeg’s Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow, where elements of romance, thriller, crime and historical drama all feature in a bestselling literary novel.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371