Wattpad Creator Stef (@Wimbug) has been writing on Wattpad since 2015. Some of her popular stories include Right in Front of You and T.M.I. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Wattpad corp. or affiliated companies.
So you’ve decided you want to be a creator on Wattpad. Fabulous! Now you have to decide what you want to write about. But once you get into the nitty gritty of writing, you will find that it’s not just about creativity and putting words to paper (or, in many cases, that scary blank document with a blinking cursor). You must also get technical. And the first thing you will have to do is place your precious baby in a box.
What is a genre?
Very simply put, the genre is a category your work falls under which is determined based on the plot and the main tropes or elements of the story.
The basic genres for books are those which are also found on Wattpad, namely Action/Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance, General Fiction, Horror, Mystery/Thriller, Paranormal, Humor, Historical and your very popular Teen Fiction. Then, of course, there is Poetry which has a life of its own.
In theory, any story can fall under one of the above mentioned genres. So whether you want to write about Griffin Wars or the invention of the best new online virtual reality platform that is handled by a group of feisty teens, you will find your place in these (very large) boxes.
Can my story fit in more than one genre?
Genres are the biggest boxes in the store. There will be smaller boxes, or subgenres, that your story may also fit into. But what if your story is too large to fit into one of the smaller boxes?
Fret not. Crossing genres is possible and is also a way to further express your creativity. Yes, you can write Fantasy Romance or a Space Adventure. Genres are guidelines and not a mold you have to fit. Any combination is possible as long as your narrative pulls through and delivers a conclusion.
The definition of genres is only there to help you determine what your audience will be expecting of you and bring forth popular tropes you may want to work with. It helps you map your journey and lead you in the right direction (which is either completing or serializing your story).
What if my story doesn’t fit in any genre?
Sometimes, you may find yourself unable to put your larger-than-life story in any of the big boxes. This is especially true with sagas and slice-of-life stories which touch on a multitude of genres and topics.
To help you find the right fit for your story, it is important to sit down and consider the main message you are trying to convey.
What was the drive that had you writing the story in the first place? Was it to show that love conquers all (Romance)? To take the reader on an entertaining journey (Adventure)? To touch a subject that was important to you while growing up and which shaped you (Teen Fiction)? If all else fails, General Fiction has you covered. Do not fear it; many successful books have been marked general fiction.
Wattpad genres and you
The great thing about writing on Wattpad is that it gives you complete freedom over your content (as long as it respects the guidelines, of course). There is no limit to the genres you can write in or the plots you can come up with.
Wattpad has some unique genres for you to categorize your stories under, including the much needed Diverse Lit and LGBTQ+ Lit. Then you have the ever popular Werewolf genre which escaped its paranormal cage (pun intended).
You have the freedom to write the story you want to write. Wattpad provides the perfect box for you.
If you want to determine the popular genres on Wattpad (except for Werewolf which is a given), it only takes a sweep of the front page and the hotlists to see the type of stories that are trending. The curated lists also offer a great insight into what Wattpad is looking for at the moment.
So even if you’re like me and want to write a story regardless of what’s popular, Wattpad still offers the tools to choose to dive into something that is trending at the moment. It’s up to you whether you want to get on that bandwagon and produce the next big hit. Everything is there. All that’s needed is your story.
Finding your voice and your genre
That all sounds easy, right? Well, here comes the hard part. Writing the story in the genre of your choice.
Sometimes, it feels just right. Other times, writing in a certain genre (especially if it’s a new one) can be a struggle and writer’s block can paralyze your masterpiece. What is there to do?
Well, here are a few easy tips to get you going:
- Read in your genre of choice; pick up some hints on where a story should go and how to get there.
- Identify the elements and tropes that made you decide to write in this genre in the first place. Reminding yourself why you love this genre could help you unlock your creativity.
- Write the scenes you’re most excited about—this can help you get excited about the story again.
- Check out the writing journey of your favorite creators for inspiration.
- Try a different genre altogether. It will boost your creativity and you may find the next genre you want to tackle.
I, for one, have tackled many genres. From Action/Adventure to Paranormal, Romance, Teen Fiction, Mystery/Thriller, Humor and Fantasy, I’ve given them all a try. And what I found is that my unique voice could be carried into each new genre I tried.
From my experience, switching genres is a great way to find your voice as a creator. It’s an opportunity to learn new things about yourself and your writing, which you can then carry over to your next project. So do I recommend sticking to one genre? Definitely not. There is a world full of possibilities out there and I intend to chase them.
When choosing your genre, it’s important to keep in mind that readers will have certain expectations from your story. Romance readers will want swoon-worthy moments and heated scenes. Fantasy readers will want a new well-constructed world to delve into. Action/Adventure requires adrenaline spiking fights and chases.
Of course, that’s what we creators are here for. To provide our readers with a magnificent world to sink into.
It is important however to form a balance between what readers expect and what you want to convey with your story. Don’t feel shackled by expectations or the popularity of a few tropes. And if you choose to try your hand on the most popular genres, it is important to make your voice shine.
Readers love a heart-felt, honest story that has its own unique twists on what’s popular right now. Write with your heart and with passion. Make your characters shine and add a twist or two that will keep the readers on the edge of their seats.
Good stories are made by good voices, no matter the genre (or genres) you decide to write in.
Looking to better understand what Wattpad is looking for from creators? Learn more about Verticals: a new way to read and publish stories on Wattpad.