Genres 101: Today’s Lesson – Say WHAT?

Filed in Genres 101 , The Quirky Lover Posted on July 20, 2011 @ 2:00 pm 8 comments

We’ve covered a lot of the popular genres in these posts, so I thought it was time to take a look at something a little different: weird genres or, more correctly weird genre names. As  I browse the net looking for source material and inspiration, I often come across literary “styles” that I’ve never heard of and, quite frankly, question the actual existence of. Here are some the genres that have made me ask, “Say what?!” (I’m going to link the source page at each unusual name)

Creepy Kids – “Creepy kids horror is defined by its name. Horror mavens have said that children are mysterious strangers coming into the world–and this subgenre takes that unspoken worry and runs with it. Stephen King’s short story and film Children of the Corn are straightforward examples. Many others, such as Richard Donner’s film The Omen, involve a child who is directly related to Satan.”

Pinhead – ” Pinhead stories (also known as ‘nanofiction’ and similar terms) is an informal yet widespread designation for stories under fifty words in length. Several venues promote this subgenre via contests and other activities. (To facilitate the creation of actual stories, with so little to work with, usually the editor will specify a theme in advance.)”

Howdunit -“Inverted or Howdunit novels begin with the reader witnessing the murder, thus the plot revolves around how the perpetrator will be caught. R. Austin Freeman’s 1912 novella “The Singing Bone” launched this subgenre. Anthony B. Cox (as Francis Iles) wrote Malice Aforethought, another early example. Cox/Iles’s novel Before the Fact was filmed by Alfred Hitchcock as Suspicion.”

Bangsian – “fantasy [that] takes its name from a 19th century author named Bangs. This subgenre deals all or mostly with the afterlife. Early legends speak of Hades, and it’s been going strong ever since. A modern example is Philip Jose Farmer’s “Riverworld” series. Though marketed as literary fiction, with its Heaven-dwelling narrator, Alice Sebold’s novelThe Lovely Bonesfits this category.”

Ruritanian – “[these] romances are a small subgenre. These older tales are set in fictional European countries. Usually they feature the affairs of the nation itself, along with the character’s specific love interests. The name derives from Anthony Hope’s The Prisoner of Zendaand its sequels. (The “Girl Genius” series of graphic novels have a similar setting.)”

Cowpunk – “a subgenre that derives its name (and irreverant tone) from science fiction’s ‘cyberpunk.’ These tales depict all sorts of bizarre happenings on the remote frontier. Elisabeth Scarborough’s novelThe Drastic Dragon of Draco Texasmixes ethnic mythology with comedy and horror, and a love story to boot. The TV show and movieWild Wild Westarguably fit this category.”

Feghoot – “describes a tiny yet distinct subgenre, rooted in the ‘fan fiction’ of serious fantasy enthusiasts. These ‘flash fiction’ (under 1000 word) tales are laden with inside jokes, and must feature a bad pun for an ending. The protagonist is always a loutish adventurer named Ferdinand Feghoot.”

So, I ended up sourcing one site in particular, Writing to Publish, because it had an incredibly comprehensive list of genres and sub-genres within its pages. Now, my questions for you are: Have you heard of these genres before? Do they sound legitimate, as literary genres, or are the definitions confusing “literary” with “fiction”, in a books versus movies (or other media) kind of way? Can you think of any book titles that would fit these descriptions?

I think it’s understandable that lines between gaming, comic books, movies, and literature can be quite blurry now. I wonder how effective any genre name is at actually defining a novel’s content these days with the various types of medias blending. There are so many labels that could easily apply to any given book, I imagine its getting harder to pinpoint. In the end, does a label make a big difference to what you read?

Personally, my fave of the list was Feghoot. I think I may just try and write one of those 🙂

About Jackie

Jackie is a quirky mom, living in Ontario, Canada. She's a bookkeeper by day and a book lover by night. She also blogs at The Novel Nation and writes occasionally for Heroes and Heartbreakers.

Share This Post

Subscribe and stay up-to-date

Via E-Mail:

Follow us via RSS, twitter and facebook:


Join the Discussion
  • Sniffly Kitty July 20, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I've heard of cowpunk although don't recall any books specfically, and pinheads is something I've read before although I didn't know what it was called.

    Thanks for the fun post ^.^

    Sniffly Kitty
    Sniffly Kitty's Mostly Books

  • draconismoi July 20, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    The Drastic Dragon of Draco Texas? HOW have I not read this book?! Must. Find. Now.

  • Ju Dimello July 20, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Loutish Adventurer??? LOL! Frankly, I haven't heard of these genres..not even in a random conversation! I feel so dumb now..for missing out on those 😉

    Some sound utterly hilarious while others seem more "snarky"…though I'm sure they are all good in their own stead! Well, after I stopped laughing, that is!

    Must. Check. That. Site.

  • Jackie July 20, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    @Sniffly Kitty – That's what makes me think more movie than literature in some of these examples. Though, the name cowpunk immediately had me imagining a bovine dressed in leather and spikes…. 😉

    @draconismoi – Let me know if you find it! I love alliterative titles 🙂

    @Ju – See? Now YOU can bring them up in conversation and sound wickedly smart, lol. And more info on Feghoot content can be found on the Wiki page which shows some big SciFi names that have employed feghootian devices…though I may just be making up words now, lol. The site is FULL of great/fun info; enjoy!

  • Melissa (My words and pages) July 20, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Um, weird. These are all new names to me. I think they are all kind of neat to hear. What people come up with. Huh. 🙂

  • Jackie July 20, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    @Melissa – I know; I feel almost sheltered, not recognizing any of these 🙂

  • Sheree July 21, 2011 at 1:11 am

    All these names are new to me although I have read some of them before (except the fanfic ones). Now I, too, can sound smart while talking to gaming nerds! Thanks!

  • Jackie July 21, 2011 at 9:28 am

    @Sheree – You're very welcome 🙂 I get a weird sense of satisfaction in sharing odd info with people, lol.

Previous Post
Next Post
Luvo designed by Internet Marketing In conjunction with Template Wordpress , R4 DS , Best SUV.