Fiction is any writing which is made up or invented. Any creative text written using imagination is fiction, including poetry, drama and prose. This summary will explore some common genres of fiction and examine the conventions which allow you to recognise them.
Poetry is written using imagination. Poetry can tell a story, or it can be about a feeling or an idea. Poems are carefully written, often with short lines which can rhyme, have rhythm and use a lot of imagery. There are many different kinds of poetry, for example, haikus, limericks, sonnets and acrostic poems. Each different type of poetry has its own style and set of rules to follow.
The Owl and the Pussy-cat
A drama is another word for a play. A play is a story that is performed, usually on a stage. When a play is written down it's called a script. Dramas are mostly made up of dialogue, but scripts also include stage directions which tell the actors how to say their lines and move around the stage, as well as giving instructions about the lighting, scenery and props. If a play includes songs which the characters sing as part of the plot, it's called a musical.
An Inspector Calls
Romeo and Juliet
A story is a piece of creative writing such as a novel, a kind of book that tells a narrative. There are many different types of stories called genres. Every genre has its own style and set of characteristics which are called conventions. Below you can read about the different conventions of some common genres of stories.
Science fiction stories are based on scientific facts, theories and technologies, but used in imaginative ways. These stories often deal with the impact of science and technology on our world. Science fiction stories are frequently set in fictional worlds, contain elements of adventure, and can involve space exploration as well as time travel.
by Michael Crichton
The War of the Worlds
by H. G. Wells
Historical fiction is set in a real place during a culturally recognisable time. These stories mix accurate historical settings with creative plot lines. The characters in historical fiction are sometimes completely imagined, but they can also be based on real people.
The Thieves of Ostia
Goodnight Mister Tom
by Michelle Magorian
Stories in the romance genre are usually about two people meeting and falling in love. These stories about relationships often have emotional themes and are more centred around every day life. In romance fiction there is usually a love triangle or some sort of conflict which stops the couple from being together at first. Most romance stories have a happy, satisfying ending with the couple ending up together.
The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora
Pizza My Heart
by Rhiannon Richardson
Tip: In many cases, one of these genres overlaps with another genre. For example, both science fiction stories and fantasy stories regularly contain elements of adventure stories. It's also common for historical fiction to coincide with romance and mystery genres.
Poems, plays and stories
Question: What are the characteristics of historical fiction?
Answer: Historical fiction is set in a real place during a culturally recognisable time. These stories mix accurate historical settings with creative plot lines. The characters in historical fiction are sometimes completely imagined, but they can also be based on real people.
Question: How can I tell the genre of a fiction text?
Answer: Every genre has its own style and set of characteristics which are called conventions. For example, science fiction stories are based on scientific facts, theories and technologies, but used in imaginative ways.
Question: Can a story have two genres?
Answer: Yes. Stories can have multiple genres, in many cases one genre overlaps with another. For example, both science fiction and fantasy stories regularly contain elements of adventure stories.