IWSG: Characteristics Of Your Favorite Genre

It’s that time again to gather together as writers and blog about our writing insecurities. The following post was written for the Insecure Writer's Support Group monthly blogging event created by author Alex J Cavanaugh.

Alex's awesome co-hosts for this month include: Tonja Drecker, Victoria Marie Lees, Mary Aalgaard, and Sandra Cox! Be sure to visit them. The IWSG website holds many helpful topics and a list of other bloggers participating. The optional question: What do you consider the best characteristics of your favorite genre?

First, I needed to ask myself, do I have a favorite genre to read, to write? Let’s step back in history (or you may skim to the bottom where I answer the question).

  • Elementary – Laura Ingalls Wilder books (That’s all I remember.) 
  • Junior High – Did I even read books for fun? 
  • High School – I read a lot! When our country store hosted a traveling library, I read mythology all that summer. Loved it. I started reading everything I could get my hands on when my English teachers required reading and book reports. I read the classics (i.e., Steinbeck, Austin, Bronte, Fitzgerald). I read Potok and current novels of that era. 
  • In my twenties: Short stories published in magazines and lots of mainstream romance novels along with historical romance. I started writing short stories. 
  • My thirties: Joined Book of the Month Clubs (the ones where you purchased books each month), read mysteries and anything that sounded interesting. 
From that point on, I read anything: mysteries, sci fi, apocalyptic, fantasy, literary and everything else. 

Except, I don’t read horror or books with violence, overloaded sex scenes or with a magnitude of cursing. No, I’m not a prude, well maybe a little. For me, those things interfere with the story. Also, I’m not so much into reading romance. Now, you might think that someone as awesome and loving as I am would like a good solid romance. Well, hold your ever loving horses! I do enjoy reading a good love story, but it needs to be woven into another storyline. 

My most favorite genres to read AND write are mystery, psychological thrillers and literary.

Finally my answerThe best characteristic of a psycho thriller is that it plays with my mind and my healthy imagination and usually scares the heebie geebies out of me. I prefer implied murder over explained details, but sometimes people need killing... for the story, that is. Only for the story. 

A good mystery can keep pulling you in and surprise you in the end, all the while you're guessing around every turn who did it.

The best thing about literary fiction is that it's mostly character driven. People can be both good and bad all in one day and that makes interesting story. My short story, The Man Next Door, shows the main character's struggle to be right in a world that's forgotten him. It also speaks to a social issue (kind of). 

What do you like best about the genre you read or write? 



I read from most genres and refuse to be limited by target age groups either. I am with you on (mostly) rejecting horror. And sexual violence. Consensual or not.
Hi Teresa - I enjoy a murder mystery ... but rarely read novels. All the best to you and your reading and writing stories - cheers Hilary
Natalie Aguirre said…
I read many genres too. I like all the ones you mention except for literary. The plots tend to move a little too slowly for me. I'll love to try to write a mystery series one of these days.
You certainly like a variety. With you on the romance.
I'm all for anything that takes me out of this crazy world.
Your genre I find is hard work, so I'm straying from the literary into a fantasy series next, a bit of light relief. Good luck with whatever you are writing. Carole.
Jemi Fraser said…
I read widely as well, but I can't do psychological thrillers - too scary for me! I'd never sleep :)
I love those multi-layered characters as well - so intriguing!
I've gotten really into psychological thrillers, too! I've always enjoyed them, but there weren't that many around back in the day...except Ruth Rendell and I read all her books!
Sandra Cox said…
I'm with you on the romance. I like it sprinkled through the story, but I want a story outside of the romance. I'm also not big on horror, with the exception of Preston and Child;)
Have a great writing day.
Carol Kilgore said…
I read a variety of genres too, but mostly in the broad mystery category. I used to like to read psychological thrillers, but after the world turned so crazy with covid, I needed more escapist fare. Lately I've enjoyed fun mysteries and rom-coms. Plus Kate Quinn books. I still love those.
Fundy Blue said…
Hi, Teresa! It was fun to learn about your reading and writing history and interests. I'm finally getting around. I don't recover from traveling as quickly as I used to. I have read voraciously across genres throughout my life ~ even in junior high ! I was a nerd!. I don't remember a time I couldn't read, and the first book I read was Bambi. I'm with you. I don't like to read graphic horror and violence, and sex can definitely be overdone. I can handle some cursing and vulgarity as long as it's not gratuitous. Have a happy and creative October!
Leigh said…
I've mostly write non-fiction, but I like to read well written historical fiction. By that, I mean that the story's world is faithful to the actual time it's taking place in. I think this is because I read just as much for learning as entertainment. Modern attitudes, mindsets, and language are not just a distraction, but boring.

I also love science fiction. Real science fiction. By that I mean I don't consider horror or monster based plots to be faithful to the science fiction genre. I look for something clever to keep my interest.
Deniz Bevan said…
I agree, mysteries and literary fiction are wonderful! I can never seem to guess what the twist will be in a mystery, so I always have to stay up late, reading!

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