Definitions of Genres
Here is a glossary of the definition of the genres included in our drop-down menu for adding a story. If you are uncertain of which genres to choose, this may help. A story may be more than one genre, for example a story could be "Action/Adventure, Gapfiller, Friendship and Humor" or it could be "Drabble, Family, Fluff" or "Angst, Hurt/Comfort, Friendship and General". It all depends on which elements of your story you choose to emphasize. Remember that your choices of genre may influence a reader to read-- or not read-- your story when they are browsing.
Action/Adventure: A story in which the focus of the plot is on exciting and dangerous events, in which the protagonists must take vigorous action to evade or avert the danger.
Alternate Universe: (1) A story in which the events as they occur in canon are altered in such a way as to give a different outcome to the story. (2) A story in which the characters or events of canon take place in a different time or world. Also called AU.
Angst: A story focussing on the physical or emotional pain of the main character; usually contains intense emotional turmoil and suffering.
Anthology: A collection of stories. These may be united by a common theme or character, or may simply be a collection by the same author.
Character study: A story in which the focus is upon examining the personality and mind of one particular character; it may sometimes be a series of vignettes, or it may be the story of one particular event which sheds light on that character.
Childhood: Stories focussing on the childhood or youth of the characters.
Comedy: A story about a humorous situation in which the characters find themselves, characterized by jokes and exaggerated behavior.
Coming-of-age: Stories in which the main character begins to leave childhood behind and becomes a young adult.
Crack fic: Stories with a wild or crazy premise, usually (though not always) AU or crossover, and often very humorous. The name comes from "You must have been on crack when you came up with that idea."
Drabble or drabble series: A drabble is a ficlet consisting of exactly 100 words. A drabble series is a set of drabbles united around a common theme or character.
Drama: A prose or verse composition, especially one telling a serious story,
Epic: A long exciting story or poem usually telling of heroic deeds
Essay (non-fiction): A short literary composition on a single subject, usually presenting the personal view of the author
Family: A story in which one of the main themes is a family relationship
Filk: A song about a canon character or subject based on an existing well-known real-life song.
Fixed-length ficlet: Any story other than a drabble in which the word-count is predetermined before being written. Double drabbles (200 words), triple drabbles also called tribbles (300 words) and half-drabbles fall into this category. But a story of any exact predetermined word-count could also fall into this category. (For example, a challenge was once posed to write ficlets of exactly 111 words to celebrate Bilbo's birthday.)
Fluff: A short and sometimes pointless story, the main purpose of which is to evoke "warm and fuzzy feelings" in the reader. Fluff often (but not always) features children and/or baby animals, and is usually gently humorous or touching in nature.
Frame story (tale-within-a-tale): A story in which one or more of the characters tells a story. The most famous historical example of a frame story is Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, in which the characters on a journey take turns telling one another stories to pass the time.
Friendship: A story in which one of the main themes is friendship between two or more of the characters.
Gapfiller: A story which attempts to fill in the untold details of canon. This may mean covering a time in which events are not told in detail, answering a question which is left a mystery in canon, attempting to reconcile seeming contradictions in canon, or showing an event from a different point-of-view than was used in canon.
General: In the fanfiction context, "general", also referred to as "gen", means a story in which the main focus is not on a romantic pairing. This does not mean such pairings cannot exist in the story, but they should be peripheral to the point of the story.
Horror: A tale meant to evoke an intense visceral reaction of fear on the part of the reader.
Humor: Stories which are written to be funny; such a story could include comedy, but it can also include stories in which the humor is more subtle than comedy.
Hurt/Comfort: A story in which the plot is generally summarized by the name: one character is hurt or ill, and at least one other character provides comfort. The injury or illness can be minor or it can be severe and traumatic or even life-threatening. The story often (although not always) focusses on the worry and fear of the comfort-giver.
Mystery: Stories in which the main object of the plot is to solve a puzzle of some sort.
Novel: A long fictional story with multiple chapters, in fanfiction usually (although not always) longer than 20,000 words.
Novella: A shorter fictional story with multiple chapters, in fanfiction usually (although not always) shorter than 20,000 words.
Parody: A story that imitates the characteristic style of an author or a work for comic effect or ridicule.
Poetry: There are many forms of poetry; some include meter or verse, others rely on form. A poem is distinguished from prose in being written in lines, rather than in paragraphs.
Recipe fic: Stories which include as one main element a specific food, the recipe for which is given at the end of the story.
Remix: A story in which one author uses (with permission) the story of another author, to retell it with some difference, either by giving a different POV, slightly altering the events, or being an extension of the other story in some fashion. A remix story is usually written for a challenge or as a gift to the original author.
Research (non-fiction): While an essay is mostly written to give an author's opinion on a certain topic, a research paper is more work-intensive. It will include citations from canon and other sources, and it may or may not argue an opinion. Some research is more of a presentation of facts which may allow the reader to draw his or her own conclusion.
Romance--het: Romance in this context refers to a story in which the love of a couple is the major element. Het is a romantic story featuring a male/female couple.
Romance--slash: Romance in this context refers to a story in which the love of a couple is the major element. Slash is a romantic story featuring a couple in which both partners are of the same gender.
Saga: A long novel, often in a number of volumes, dealing with a cross section of society and several generations of a family. A well-known historical saga is John Galsworthy's The Forsyte Saga.
Satire: A humorous piece in which the main point is to poke fun at the accepted view of a situation, character or story.
Short story: A story told in one segment, not divided into chapters.
Song-fic: A story which is inspired by, or based on, a real-life song and which features the lyrics from that song as part of the story. However, not all stories which include songs are song-fics.
Stream-of-consciousness: A technique that presents the thoughts and feelings of a character as they occur, in a very intimate point-of-view.
Thriller/Suspense: Stories in which the main point is to create a tension within the reader as to the outcome, they are usually a form of adventure or mystery story.
Tragedy: A story with a tragic outcome, a tragedy is often marked by the deaths of the major characters, as in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
Vignette: A brief ficlet which focuses on one scene, and is often more evocative of a mood or feeling than of the event being portrayed.
Wing-fic: A story in which one or more of the main characters possess wings.