Merging Genre Categories?

Hello!

So, this came up in a thread elsewhere, and I’m curious to know if anyone behind the structure of the Community has considered it.

Most of the genre categories here are, to put it bluntly, dead. Stone-cold. I doubt people even visit them, on the simple expectation that nobody will see, let alone reply to, their threads. I am lucky to be at home in the Fantasy category, the most active by a long shot, and as we were chatting there, the possibility came up of merging genre categories with similar themes to reconstruct some semblance of community for the people who write in those genres.

For example:

  • Horror and Mystery/Thriller could go well together, and I might be wrong, but Paranormal often seems to share a lot with both of them.

  • Chick Lit, Romance and Teen Fiction probably have a lot of themes in common, and Chick Lit is a very inactive category.

  • Action and Adventure are almost always merged in user-run Wattpad contests already, and fit well together. Adventure also has major overlap with Fantasy.

  • Classics and Historical Fiction strike me as very similar, and the former has the dubious distinction of being the least-active genre category of all.

Merging categories would bring writers from smaller genres into conversation and engagement with much larger groups of people, allowing cross-pollination of similar themes and ideas, and overall giving them a more active place to belong. That said, I’d be interested to hear what people from those smaller categories might think of my proposal here.

Thoughts?

As much as it pains me…literally…like my chest and head hurt…I think you are right. I just moved my chick lit thread over to romance voluntarily. So many romance novels are also tagged chick lit and vice versa that it is now impossible to educate people that they aren’t, in fact, the same thing. I want to talk to other writers of comedic women’s fiction…so I will embrace the romance forums.

Right after my EKG and a couple, three aspirins.

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Oh no! *Gives aspirins and hot chocolate * I hope you feel better soon, friend.

That’s rough. Having your genre constantly confounded with another like that must be hard, not to mention frustrating! For me that would be one of the sticking points for merging things, as it could reinforce the idea that certain genres are synonymous. It would have to be used as an educational opportunity—I wonder, for example, what it could be like to have a pinned thread at the top of a merged Chick Lit / Romance category, explaining what the difference between the two was. It could also help put them on more equal footing as valid, separate genres.

What would be lost for you if there was a merge? It sounds like there’s something in this causing the pain.

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Thank you so much for your care and concern. I’m just sad that they genre I truly love is a no-go, sort of, on Wattpad even as it is SURGING in the real world publishing. Under the name “women’s fiction” but still. And romance off WP is co-opting the tag, too, because women readers are drawn to it…when they SEE it. Therein lies the key. When they see “chick lit” they want it. But if they don’t see it, they don’t actively search for it. They search for romance. And New Adult. And YA. But so many of those genre writers also tag their books #chicklit. It’s fine. We can make it work. Like you said, it’s education. I love romantic comedy, too, and there is some overlap in tone, voice, perspective, character types. I’ll be fine:)

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What are your genres? Are you in danger of losing autonomy, too?

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Which becomes an instant problem on Wattpad, of course *sigh *

I can see this being a product of how poorly known the Chick Lit genre is on Wattpad; people search for proxies because they don’t know the word itself, or think it means the same thing as their searches due to all that cross-tagging. Seems a shame… [deity-of-choice] knows, we could use more Chick Lit here than we could use some of those Romance stories Wattpad is so famous for!

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I say I write Fantasy, which has a huge and active community—nowhere close to losing autonomy—and mostly, I do. My subgenres, though, are Mystery and Adventure, and I have to admit I claim Fantasy in large part because both Mystery and Adventure are torpid on a good day. At least three books in my WIP series land me solidly in the Adventure category, and I place better in contests when I enter as Adventure than I do as Fantasy.

Right now on the forums, I turn to the Fantasy category for Adventure chats (coded into Fantasy lingo so they don’t get moved by the mods), and resign myself to the fact that I will never find a community for non-thriller Mystery. Adventure is arguably the most common subgenre in the Fantasy community, and the two have become difficult to separate at times, which suits me in some ways but not in others. Fantasy currently gets a lot of visitors from similar, less-active genre categories, so the idea of merging categories came in part because we already see it happening with our own.

Much as I hate it, I still think most Mystery writers are closer to Thriller than to anything else, so it’s probably the appropriate place for the genre—and even grouped as is, it’s pretty dead.

Exactly. [quote=“SmokeAndOranges, post:6, topic:162245”]
or think it means the same thing as their searches due to all that cross-tagging.
[/quote]

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See I can totally see how Adventure is like chick lit…just a certain type of general fiction book if there is no other, bigger umbrella genre over it. I like to think about bookstore placement when I think about genre.

Werewolves and witches and vampires would be found in the paranormal section.

Sci fi has its own section.

Fantasy has a section.

YA has a section.

Travel

Romance

Mystery

But historical, chick lit, thriller, literary, action, adventure etc are usually in “fiction.” Period. Even paranormal except for “spirituality non fic.”

It’s about finding what you are looking for—hence tags, I guess.

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So I get it…but please. Werewolf is still a browse genre AND paranormal? But no women’s fiction to be seen except romance…or even a general fiction browse category?

So what we will see are these bloated categories: fantasy and romance. It’s so interesting, really. Always changing.

On the forums, I wouldn’t call them ‘bloated’ yet, though. Right now I’d say Fantasy and Romance are the only genre categories big enough to have a decently active community at all… that’s a pretty low bar :joy:

And I like the bookstore arrangement, haha. I’d tailor it given the strong skew in Wattpad’s usership, user preferences, and writer base (ex. not a lot of Mystery writers, but lots and lots of Vampire ones), but overall I think it’s a decent division of genres.

That one I understand, actually. It’s catering to Wattpad audiences.

Made a poll for Fantasy! Turns out we get a lot of people from other genres (even some who don’t even write Fantasy books), and I was right about Adventure being the most common subgenre.

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Yup. I mean it makes sense that people go where other people are…unless they are trying to fly under the radar.

There are a lot of energetic chats in the Cafe section. And anytime a wp official starts a thread that gets some attention.

I don’t really think of the genre forums as a place to connect with readers as much as a place to connect with other writers and keep up with wp news.

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And by bloated I mean when books are categorized by genre upon inception. We are still asked to choose. Why not choose a popular, recognized by wp, browsable category? On WP proper is where the reader interface happens…and the ranking and browsing and “hot” list (which is still there under the browse tool no matter what anyone says about “it’s tags ranking now.”) If I were a new reader, I’d go straight to that browse tab. I wouldn’t know about tags. I’d look at browse to see what is “in the store.” And looking there, I’d assume there was no general fiction, no women’s fiction, but yes werewolves PLUS paranormal. Fantasy, yes. You see what I mean? If browse is the store map…some pretty big sections are missing.

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So, anyway, I like your idea of merging a lot if it means more interaction with other writers on Wattpad, especially for cross-pollination purposes. It’s fun to mash up genres. And you know our world is getting very non-binary in general, right? I’m surprised there ARE any “pure” genres anymore. Nobody wants to be labeled or put in a box. So maybe this is all reflective of societal changes. Still, traditional publishing likes/needs genres for marketing purposes. It’s a thin line to walk.

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