Categories of Fiction


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Categories of Fiction

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Editat: gen. 26, 2007, 7:30pm

I need some ideas for how to sub-categorize my fiction. Most of my fiction is science fiction or fantasy and those are mostly easy to tag.

How would you categorize Anna Karenina, Brideshead Revisited, Paradise Lost, Of Mice and Men, Heart of Darkness (classics?), Prince of Tides, Accidental Tourist (contemporary fiction?), Godfather (crime fiction?), Shogun, Sounder (historical fiction?), Jaws (horror?), Snow Falling on Cedars (mystery?), Full Disclosure (suspense?), The Firm, Red Storm Rising (thriller?). I also listed how I have them currently tagged but I'm not very satisfied with this breakdown.

gen. 26, 2007, 9:54pm

I am a minimalist when it comes to categorizing fiction. For the most part, I only tag fiction by time period (e.g., contemporary, 20th century, classic, etc.) and language of origin (e.g., Russian literature, French literature, etc.). I confess an inherent bias in that I do not label them US or English. I also tag mysteries as mystery. I do not attempt to tag fiction by "subject," as I do with nonfiction.

For your examples, I would categorize AK as Russian literature, Brideshead Revisited probably just as fiction, maybe by century, Of M&M as 20th century fiction, Heart of D as classic, Prince of Tides, Accidental Tourist, Godfather, Shogun, Jaws, Snow etc. as 20th century fiction; not familiar with Full Disclosure, Sounder, The Firm, Red Storm.

gen. 27, 2007, 12:21am

I'm a "literature-French", "literature-Russian", "literature-U.S." etc. person, myself, though I also use "mysteries" and a couple of others.

gen. 27, 2007, 10:06am

Well, my existing tags of science fiction, fantasy, and mystery are pretty firm, so I'd like the rest of the tags to be genre-based, not time or country-based. I'll take a look at what wikipedia has for fiction genres.

gen. 27, 2007, 11:40am

I use contemporary and historical for a lot of my fiction that isn't really a definite genre (sf, mystery, romance,suspense).

gen. 27, 2007, 6:00pm

I tagged all of my fiction that doesn't fit one of my main genre tags (romance, mystery, SF, age of sail) as just "genre". Which saves having to decide which genre they are, anyway, but matches how I think of fiction and keeps 'em together in case I ever get around to tagging them more specifically.

Editat: març 27, 2007, 1:00pm

1st: fiction
2nd: lit, sf (for science fic), fantasy, mystery, dramatic fiction, historical fiction, horror, erotica
3rd: if lit then -- English, French, German, etc
4th: if lit then -- Century (CE 02ndC, CE 20thC, BCE 5thC, etc -- the "0" makes sure that 2nd Century doesn't come between 19th & 20th)
5th: if lit then -- genre (drama, etc)
6th: if not adult book then -- children's, young adult, etc
7th: awards (Newbery:Honor, Newbery:Medal, Hugo, Nebula:Novel, etc)
8th: series (Discworld, Pern, Alvin Maker, Anne of Green Gables, Foundation, etc)
9th: ethnic/national/religious focus (African-American, Japanese, Arab, Judaism, Islam, etc)
10th: misc tags -- if a topic I read in nonfiction plays a prominent role, I tag it (Lynne Murray's mystery books featuring a fat female sleuth are tagged "fat studies"), I try to tag banned/challenged (still working on that), Disney, anthology, Pooh, humor, short stories, etc
11th: tags all books get -- own, read, TBR, wishlist, etc

I ususally end up with 4-8 tags per book, typically looking something like:
*own, read, fiction, sf, Homecoming Saga
*1st Ed, children's, Disney, fiction, Little Golden Books, own, Pooh, read

març 27, 2007, 3:38pm

What's the difference between lit and other kinds of fiction?

març 27, 2007, 4:09pm

Among literature types it is common to distinguish between literary fiction which is usally tagged by time period or country and genre fiction which means "non-literary" fiction such as mystery sci-fi, etc. I think the notion is that genre fiction is in some ways more determined by the conventions of the genre than literary fiction which is more open to a given writer's vision. But getting back to tags, I mostly use contemporary fiction (meaning literary fiction that falls outside of any genre designation), and literary period or movements: modernist fiction, 19th century russian novels.

març 27, 2007, 4:43pm

> 8

To paraphase a famous quote, "I can't define it, but I know it when I read it."

març 27, 2007, 7:49pm

8> lit is stuff you'd read in a Norton Anthology of English Literature (college-level intro to lit book), for instance. Classic lit would include Beowulf, Shakespeare, Milton. More modern literature would include Hemingway, Conrad, Fitzgerald. I'd have a hard time telling you what late 20th century lit would include.

Generally, commercial fiction (what is commercially popular) is not literature. I very rarely end up labeling something lit AND a genre such as sf, but it does happen.

març 28, 2007, 4:58am

I developing a wide range of fantasy and sf tags for other contempary fiction I also use:

Mystery, crime, thriller, adventure, contempary, politics, war, historical, honour, growing-up, and I'll probably add some more as I go through in detail, law or legal, discrimination maybe or somethign along those lines, underlying themes within the story.

Some combination of these should be usable in each case.

març 28, 2007, 1:21pm

Late 20th century lit or contemporary lit would include the authors that win or are considered for the big book prizes - - nobel, pulitzer, whitbread, etc. Some names Haruki Murakami, Caryl Phillips, Toni Morrison, Cormac McCarthy Zadie Smith. A notable crossover might be Walter Mosley whose detective and sci-fi fantasy books are generally well-regarded by lit types.

set. 10, 2007, 12:34pm

... another late post to the thread:

I use "narrative realism" to pick up non-SF-nal stuff. I toyed with "non-SF" and "SF". Most of my stuff breaks down into one or the other; occasionally, both.