The 5 Easiest Genres To Plot

The 5 Easiest Genres To Plot

In this post, we explore the easiest genres in fiction to plot.

Plotting Your Novel – The 5 Easiest Genres

‘Plot is a chain of cause-and-effect relationships that constantly create a pattern of unified action and behavior. It involves the reader in the game of “Why?”’ – Ronald B Tobias

Character Takes Centre Stage

In last week’s blog, we looked at the five most challenging genres to plot as a novelist.

In his iconic book, 20 Master Plots, Ronald B Tobias talks of character plots. In the book, Tobias introduces the concept of ‘plots of the mind’. These types of plots emphasise character motives, needs, fears, and instincts over action.

By focusing on these internal aspects, the reader is invited to explore the complexities of the characters’ inner worlds.

Here we have a list of five genres that often place character development, style, and viewpoint over ‘heavy’ plotlines. However, you can be sure they challenge any writer to stretch their skills in other ways.

Find out why plotting and character development is like a game of chess.

The 5 Easiest Genres To Plot

  1. Memoirs

Truly compelling memoirs, like Unprotected: A Memoir by Rae Lewis-Thornton, Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher, Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart, and Nowhere Girl by Cheryl Diamond, draw from personal experiences, keen observations and unflinching honesty.

These ‘slice of life’ stories are characterised by an organic narrative structure. The stories unfold naturally, guided by the author’s own journey. The memoirists skillfully weave their personal stories, allowing readers to connect with the authenticity and emotional depth of their experiences.

The narrative focuses on depicting everyday experiences and the ordinary moments of characters’ lives. The authors will often place character development and relationships over ‘plot’.

Discover How To Write A Memoir online.

  1. Modern Romances 

In page-turning contemporary romance novels like the Fixed Trilogy by Laurelin Paige, Reunited With Her Secret Prince by Susanne Hampton, The High Notes by Danielle Steel, Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, and My Fake Italian Marriage by Romy Summer, a strong plot is certainly important but the plot will often rely on a roster of popular tropes.

What sets these books apart is the elements of great characters, sensual tension, deep emotional connections and, of course, loads of passion. These writers bring together simple storylines but with intricate relationship dynamics – immersing readers in a world of love and wish fulfillment.

The plot often revolve around the development of a romantic relationship between two characters. While conflicts and obstacles may arise, the main focus is on the emotional journey of the characters – making the plot relatively straightforward.

Here’s your Quick Start Guide To Writing Romance. 

  1. Cosy Mysteries

Weekend reads in the ‘cosy’ genre, like Murder Mystery Book Club by Danielle Collins, The Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman, Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton, and Mango, Mambo and Murder by Raquel V. Reyes, do rely on a well-thought-out plot.

Just the same, they may not need the same intricacy as gritty police procedurals or other detective stories. In cosy mysteries, the focus often lies on amateur sleuths, highlighting their human foibles, humor, and offering a lighter touch in terms of plotting techniques. The plot serves as a backdrop to explore the charming and humorous aspects of the characters and their amateur detective work.

This budding ‘Miss Marple’ is often found solving a crime in a small village or town The plots tend to be less complex than those found in traditional mystery or thriller genres, with a greater emphasis on the charm of the setting and the relationships between characters.

Learn How To Write A Cosy Mystery

  1. Coming Of Age & Young Adult 

Engaging novels or memoirs that explore adolescence or young adulthood, like The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, What The Fireflies Knew by Kai Harris, The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, and This is Where it Ends by Cindy Sproles, grab the reader’s attention with plots centered around characters grappling with the loss of their innocence.

These remarkable narratives delve into the painful, poignant, romantic, and even hilarious moments that shape their transition to the next phase of their lives. While a good plot holds it together, the personal transformation is more the focus of the story.

Rather, these stories explore the personal growth and maturation of a protagonist, in an unusual or lyrical way. The style and viewpoint is often what makes it resonate with audiences. While conflicts and challenges arise, the ‘heart of it’ is firmly on the character’s emotional and psychological development – and seldom complex plotlines. 

  1. Comedy & Chic Lit

Humorous novels or memoirs, like Till Death and a Little Light Maiming Do Us Part by Kathy Lette, Foreskin’s Lament by Shalom Auslander, Less by Andrew Sean Greer, and Happy Place by Emily Henry, focus on character development and use fresh and quirky plots to illuminate their main characters rather than the other way around.

Instead of convoluted plotting, these types of stories often rely on hyperbole, witty dialogue, comedic timing, and clever misunderstandings to tell a great story.  The authors often draw from real-life experiences, which may explain why many take the form of a memoir.

Why not buy The Character Creation Kit?

The truth is… all plotting is tough

All stories demand a convincing plot. There’s no way around it.

Writing a novel is never ‘effortless’ and you can be sure each genre will present its own of challenges.

We hope these lists help you identify your strengths as a writer. If plotting isn’t your strongest skill, you may have to make peace with the fact that you won’t be the next Tom Clancy or JK Rowling.

The opposite is also true. Don’t choose a genre based on its perceived simplicity in plotting if you have no genuine interest or familiarity with it.

The Final Word

Each writer must find their own way to choosing a genre and plot. However, understanding the potential tests and challenges ahead help you avoid the pitfalls.

anthony ehlers

By Anthony Ehlers. Anthony Ehlers facilitates courses for Writers Write. He writes awesome blog posts and workbooks too.

More Posts From Anthony:

  1. The 5 Toughest Genres To Plot
  2. Action Is The Hero
  3. 5 Fears That Keep You From Finishing Your Novel
  4. 5 Ways To Look At Viewpoint (Slightly Differently)
  5. 5 Fresh Starts To Your Writing
  6. 8 Ways To Uncover Your Character’s Motivations
  7. Which Way North? 5 Methods To Outline A Novel
  8. Writer In Search Of A Novel – Finding Your Genre As A New Novelist
  9. Writing For Tweens & Teens? 8 Insights For Middle Grade & Young Adult Authors
  10. Ready To Save The Cat?

Top Tip: Find out more about our workbooks and online courses in our shop.

Posted on: 30th November 2023
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