Because a piece of literature may meet the description of more than one category of writing, or genre, it is important to assess the tone, setting, plot, and other aspects of a writing before classifying it according to specific grouping. Also, it may be useful to determine what distinguishing characteristics are prevalent in the work. For example, although To Kill a Mockingbird possess humorous scenarios and quips, it would be unlike for a reader to choose to categorize it as a comedy, since Harper Lee's purpose in writing was not merely to provide light-hearted entertainment; overall, she wrote a powerful novel that deals with serious historical and societal issues. Based on this knowledge, To Kill a Mockingbird would best be categorized in a genre other than comedy. If necessary, readers may wish to use the process of elimination to determine a work's genre, or may consider what descriptor(s) would best describe a work, then categorize the work accordingly.
The genre of a piece of literature is the category of writing to which it belongs. Just as there are many genres of music or movies, there are many genres of writing, such as horror, romance, comedy, historical fiction, etc. At times, a piece of literature may fit into more than one genre.