So What, Exactly, Is My Genre?

by Apr 22, 2023Genre, Musings

I find it hard to categorize my fiction in a neat, marketable package that readers with a defined set of expectations can search for. It’s quite frustrating. But here are the major traits that define all or most of my fiction.

Dark Erotic Fiction

I originally separated “dark” from “erotic,” but I think the two are best left intertwined. I write rape fantasies, extreme power imbalance, breeding, and other eroticized content that mixes sex with horror, violence, and other unpleasant things.

Erotically, I write:

  • Noncon/force/rape fantasies
  • Dubcon
  • Relcon
  • Breeding
  • Slavefic
  • Free use

Dark Romantic Fiction

I felt like this aspect deserves to stand apart from the dark erotic because I’d write it even without eroticism involved. There’s something darkly fascinating about toxic, twisted, dark relationships of a certain type. I don’t go too far into realism or into really gruesome abuse, but characters who are manipulative, controlling, unstable, desperate, obsessed? All on the table.

Relationship-wise, I write:

  • Dark romance
  • Dark romantic fiction
  • Dark love stories
  • Enemies with benefits
  • Transgressive fiction


Pretty much everything I write falls into the realm of fantasy or paranormal fiction. I guess you could call it all fantasy. Sometimes (though rarely) it’s fairly traditional high fantasy. Sometimes it’s urban fantasy. Sometimes it’s contemporary fantasy. Steampunk. Other-punk. Most of my fiction takes place in a modern or modern-ish world—often Earth, often a secondary world that just has the equivalent of things like cars, international travel, and cell phones.

Speculatively, I write:

  • Fantasy
  • High fantasy
  • Dark fantasy
  • Gothic fiction
  • Aetherpunk
  • Urban fantasy
  • Contemporary fantasy
  • Paranormal fiction


This is the most wishy-washy of my fictional distinctions, but certainly an important one, especially for my erotica. I aim for strong writing craft, deep characters, full plots, and something more to take away from my stories than sexual arousal. I wouldn’t call what I write “literary,” but I might call it “upmarket” at least some of the time. It has aspects of literary writing without such a strong emphasis on themes involving the human condition or hard-to-grasp language/subtext.

Writing-style-wise, I write:

  • Well-written fiction
  • Upmarket

So. What’s My Genre?

At the moment, I think the most accurate way to describe the fiction I plan to publish is dark erotica and dark romance (with “fantasy” tacked on somewhere in there). If I chose to write anything in the world without a care for marketability, I would write dark erotic fantasy and paranormal fiction.

The dark erotic is probably the most essential element in my fiction. It’s the element that readers come for above all. It’s also the element most likely to turn readers off, to make it clear who I’m not for. Unfortunately, it’s the element I struggle the most with. Originally, because I was ashamed of enjoying it and wanting to read and write it. Then, because it made me a bit of a pariah in the writing community, made it hard for me to participate in pretty much any public writing space (contests, workshops, lit mags, MFA programs, etc.). And finally, because it subjected me to strict censorship that makes it very difficult to sell or advertise.

But whether my work is primarily erotica, romance, or fantasy, dark erotic fiction is what I want to write and efforts to excise it from my writing have left me blocked or with the work creeping in anyway. Like it or not, this dark muse chose me so I’m dedicated to the genre.