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What are the types of novels? Categories

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The word genre is most often used to categorize different types of novels.  The easiest way to list the different genres of novels is to think about how books are organized in a bookstore.

First, novels by definition are considered fiction, which excludes any of the non-fiction categories that books may fall into.

Some of the most common genres for novels include:

  • Classics: a "catch all" genre which denotes a group of books considered "timeless literature."  Within the classics genre, a book could be further subdivided into one of the other genres below.
  • Historical fiction: often based on true events
  • Science fiction: includes futuristic elements
  • Fantasy: often includes magic and takes place in fictional worlds
  • Mystery: story where a problem or crime must be solved
  • Drama/Modern: real life events take place; story shows characters' emotional reactions to decisions
  • Romance
  • Horror
  • Comedy
  • Western
  • Adventure

The following could also be considered sub-genres for books, especially when categorizing for students:

  • graphic novels: based on comic book stories and superheroes; illustrations included
  • series books: groups of books written about the same characters; examples include Hardy Boys or Harry Potter
  • Fan Fiction: stories based on popular TV shows, movies, music, or famous people


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