Write Your Novel Step by Step (Home Page)

Write Your Novel
Step by Step

By Melanie Anne Phillips
Creator of StoryWeaver

Click for Table of Contents

Read it free on our web site!

 Also available in Paperback
and for your Kindle

For Story



Home Mail: customer-service@storymind.com

For Story


Write Your Novel or Screenplay Step By Step

Try it Risk-Free for 90 Days

Contact Us - About Us - Lowest Price Guarantee - Shipping - Return Policy

Copyright Melanie Anne Phillips - Owner, Storymind.com, Creator Storyweaver, Co-creator Dramatica




Dramatica Articles on Writing Free Online Writing Classes in Streaming Video

Follow Us

Follow Us at Storymind.com Interactive Story Engine

Novel Writing Software

Write Your Novel or Screenplay Step by Step

Thousands of writers use StoryWeaver to build their story’s world, characters, plot, theme,
and genre.

Try it Risk-Free!
Click for Details

Try it Risk-Free!
Click for Details

Thousands of writers use Dramatica to find and refine their story’s structure and to find and fix holes and missteps.

Key Features Key Features

Free Bonus Package The Writer's Survival Kit Bonus Package

Try it Risk-Free for 90 Days!

Click for Details

Free Bonus PackageThe Writer's Survival Kit Bonus Package

Try it Risk-Free for 90 Days!

Click for Details

~ Step 32 ~


Many novice authors view Genre as a list of requirements or a box in which one must write.  Stories created this way are usually predictable and formulaic.

A better way is to see Genre as the overall "feel" of the finished work.  An author gives himself or herself the freedom to let the story grow in the directions it wants, without constraint.  Then what makes the story feel more like a horror story or a western are the storytelling elements peppered into it along the way.

Not all genres rely on the same kinds of elements.  Some genres, like Westerns, are based on a particular setting and often a particular time period.  Others, like action stories are based on the kinds of events that take place.  So, a Western like "High Noon" is not an action story, while a Western like "Shanghai Noon" is, thereby spanning two sub-genres.

Horror stories are about varieties of physical torment, Comedies are affecting the audience directly by making it laugh, regardless of setting, time period, or activities.

The point here is that one need not be confined to a single traditional genre.  In fact, the more blending you do, the more original your novel will come to be.

In this step we’ll begin the process of creating the unique feel of your novel by having you choose as many traditional genres that you might like to draw upon.

The following list covers a number of popular genres to get you started.


Western, Mystery, Horror, Comedy, Drama, Action, Romance, Musical, Biography, Thriller, Black Comedy, Situation Comedy, Comedy of Manners, Comedy of Errors, Tragedy, Period Drama, Historical, Epic, Science Fiction, Space Opera, Fantasy, Ethnic, War, Anti-War, Romantic Comedy, Spy, Heist, Spoof, Survival, True-to-life, Musical Comedy, Personal Growth, Relationships.

Now, write the names of all the different genres you might want to include elements of in your story.  Example: Horror and Comedy are two of the genres used in the Scary Movie series of films.

~ Step 33 ~

Genre Elements

Each genre brings to mind certain essential or at least common ingredients.  For example, the list of elements in the Western genre might include:



     Frontier Town




Some of these elements are characters.  Others are locations.  Some are events.

The elements in other genres may include storytelling style (such as keeping the audience guessing in a mystery), references to other stories (as in a spoof), or the relationships among characters (as in a Buddy Story or Romantic Comedy).

By creating an extensive list of genre elements, you will have a wealth of options for adding detail and richness to the overall feel of your novel.

Referring to your chosen genres from the last step, describe the elements you would expect to find in each.  List as many as you can.

~ Step 34 ~

Your Unique Genre

Referring to the collection of elements you gathered in the last step, use it as a shopping list, selecting only those elements from each genre you might like to include in your story.

By picking and choosing genre elements from several genres rather than adopting a complete set from a single genre, you will break out of formula and your story will seem far more fresh and original, even while still feeling familiar.

~ Step 35 ~

Revised Synopsis

Your list of genre elements currently stands by itself as components.  The idea here is to make specific reference to these elements throughout your synopsis whenever you can.

By spelling out specifically how each of the elements you'd like to include actually will be included, you lay the groundwork for your novel’s unique genre, not just a generic one.

Referring to your synopsis and your list of chosen genre elements, revise your synopsis to pepper it with as many those elements as you can.