What is Genre?

The term genre is broader than most people think it is. At least, it’s more than what I thought it was. When I heard the word genre growing up, I would think of a category, particularly for books and movies: comedy, horror, thriller, drama, etc. In Creative Writing, genre is something that is discussed a lot. We’re sometimes steered away from genre-writing (fantasy, young-adult, etc.). That was my initial and only understanding of genre for a while.

In my Creative Writing class in high school, we were assigned a multi-genre project. For this assignment, we were instructed to pick a particular topic (as specific or as broad as you wanted) and compile different genres related to that topic into a scrapbook. My subject was The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. I wrote a short story told through Johnny’s perspective, I wrote diary entries from Cherry, I created poems and “wanted” posters for two characters, and I even made written radio broadcasts. This project was unique because we had to use so many modes. Text, pictures, stickers, and other forms. This was my second understanding of what genre is. It’s not just the style/content of text, but also the type/form of the text.

However, my understanding of genre has changed since reading the essays Navigating Genres by Kerry Dirk and Genre: What is a blog? What is a wiki?

In the essay Genre: What is a blog? What is a wiki? the author writes, “Genres are types of texts that share certain features because their users share certain purposes.” This goes along with my idea of genre, but expands it even further. I was strictly under the belief that a particular text fit a certain genre because, as Kerry Dirk puts it, it filled in the blanks. However, I believe that genre is more flexible than I thought. For example, in the essay Navigating Genres, the author writes, “Amy Devitt, a professor who specializes in the study of genre theory, points out that ‘genres develop, then, because they respond appropriately to situations that writers encounter repeatedly'”(“Generalizing” 576).

Some genres I would be interested in exploring for my project a beauty blog or a social media platform.


Word Count: 391

Works Cited:

Dirk, Kerry. “Navigating Genres.” Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing (2010). PDF.

Meyers, Greg. “Genre: What is a Blog? What is a Wiki?” The Discourse of Blogs and Wikis (n.d.).