Is there a clear line between "Adventure" and "Fantasy" categories?

In my mind, there isn’t much distinction between Adventure and Fantasy because Fantasy has Adventure in it. In awards books, I often see Action and Adventure clumped together, and Fantasy and Sci-Fi clumped together, but then, what is Adventure and how is it not Fantasy…I’m confuzzled.

You can still call something Adventure even if the places are all made-up, right? Even if the story is fantasy? So…would that be considered a cross-over genre?

Is LOTR considered Adventure or Fantasy? They DO go on an adventure, don’t they?

My WIP has MC traveling. I categorized it Fantasy. But…can’t it also be Adventure?

Uhhh…thoughts please. I’m clueless.


Fantasy doesn’t HAVE to be adventure…

Any piece of fiction can (and usually does) fit in more than one genre. I call my fast paced fantasy novels ‘fantasy adventures’ to distinguish them from epics and other variations. However I also write adventures without the slightest trace of fantasy to them, in realistic (more or less) contemporary or historical settings. If there is a fantasy element, I do put them in the fantasy category/genre. If not, they will go in adventure or something similar (like ‘action’).



And neither does adventure need fantasy.

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Yep. In any case I don’t really get why adventure is a “genre” (sounds more like a storyline to me) but certainly a lot of fantasy stories have adventures in them


Makes sense.

My WIP’s MC is an anthropomorphic cat that has powers.

So you would probably say my story is more in the fantasy genre because of that? Even if there are travel/adventure elements in it?

I don’t get why adventure is a genre either.

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As Goodreads defines it:

Adventure fiction is a genre of fiction in which an adventure , an exciting undertaking involving risk and physical danger, forms the main storyline. Adventure novels and short stories were popular subjects for American pulp magazines, which dominated American popular fiction between the Progressive Era and the 1950s.

It doesn’t have to have fantastical elements to be an adventure. Nancy Drew stories could be mystery/thrillers as well as adventures. Just like that not each Fantasy story needs to have a dragon :slight_smile:

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Well hello Ambassador first time I’ve seen you around

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Well hello there

I am a lurker

or we probably just hang in different threads

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Both are possible
Is May your name?

Yes indeed. I had a username switch recently, so perhaps you know me by my old one

Ooh so maybe I do know you interesting :thinking:

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There are lots of Fantasy stories that aren’t adventure oriented. Some are heavy on romance, for example with no adventure at all.

And there are lots of adventure stories that aren’t fantasy as well.

It is all about what is actually going on in the story and most stories fit into more than one category.

Fantasy adventure
Fantasy romance
Adventure romance
Action adventure
Science fantasy
Action fantasy

Heck, they can even be more complicated that that…

Science fantasy action romance
Fantasy adventure romance
Adventure action romance
And so on…

Each genre and sub genre has their own definition … although as you see, a lot of times what that definition actually is is sometimes not overly well defined and there is debate as to what is and is not this or that.

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Very very very simply put:

Fantasy - all about magic

Adventure - all about the journey

Now Fantasy can have Adventure in it - but that doesn’t mean Adventure will always have Fantasy in it. It can be like Robinson Crusoe, getting shipwrecked at an island. Or it can be like Treasure Island - pirates looking for that treasure! But it doesn’t have to necessarily involve anything fantastical or magical.


Now I see it.

Sometimes I get so caught up in my story I forget the bigger picture of things.

Still, it makes me wonder about steampunk or urban fantasy which isn’t necessarily magical…right? I haven’t read many in those genres so I’m not sure…

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For Urban Fantasy to actually be Fantasy there needs to be some level of magic in it. It can be as big as Harry Potter - or it can be very very little - depending on the well… The levels of Fantasy. If it’s high or low.

Steampunk doesn’t have to have magic in it either on its own - but if it’s Fantasy there has to be some magical elements in there. That’s basically the only requirement for Fantasy: fantastical elements

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Okay. Got it! :smile:

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Look at it this way.

Fantasy - reality/setting of your story.
Adventure - external content of your story. might be helpful

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I differentiate it by whether magic and magical creatures are normal in the world or part of the world (LOTR, HP, Narnia) or whether it’s paranormal (Indiana Jones, Lara Croft).

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