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What is fantasy fiction?

If writing, like any other artistic endeavour, comes from the imagination of a creative soul, isn’t all fiction fantasy?

We like things to be orderly, so we categorise everything, including our storytelling. Staying with the written form of sharing stories, the number of categories is near overwhelming.

Let’s take a quick look.


1. Fantasy

2. Literary

3. Romance

4. Science Fiction

5. Historical

6. Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Now, let’s dig a little deeper.

Fantasy Fiction

1. Historical

2. Contemporary

3. Literary

4. Romance

5. Science fiction elements

6. Crime/Mystery/Thriller

7. Epic or High fantasy

8. Urban

9. Horror

Historical Fiction

1. Fantasy

2. Literary

3. Romance

4. Science fiction elements

5. Crime/Mystery/Thriller

6. Epic or Saga

7. Period focused (Regency, War, Stone-age…)

Each of the main fiction genres also encompasses the other genres plus a few unique (almost) elements. Fantasy deals with otherworldly story elements such as magic, creatures, deities, Goddesses, and non-human races.

We could say that fantasy comes from pure imagination rather than based on known facts, evolving relationships, understanding and solving crimes, tracing family dynamics or personal growth or reflection or space travel (okay, that last often comes from pure imagination as well).

Breaking the genres down (even in the simplified form above) shows how Fantasy is a genre of fiction rather than the umbrella term for all creative writing. It also shows how intertwined the genres are.


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