Challenge Yourself: Write in a Subgenre

4 Challenging Subgenres

Do you need a challenge? Find a subgenre to write in!





Written by Sofie R. E.





Challenge Yourself, blog post #1.


This is my first post in a new series of blog posts called "Challenge Yourself" and my hope is that these words and info will help you all grow as authors! Do you have any ideas for blogposts? Or do you want to write a guest blog? Send me an email at


The motivation behind today's post is to challenge your skills and creativity by writing a story in a genre or subgenre you wouldn't normally be interested in. Have an area of interest already? You'd also be surprised just how many options there are when it comes to writing in a subgenre and the endless possibilities for creating some great stories!


Here are 4 subgenres to consider writing in, hope you enjoy :-)


#1 - The classic: Steampunk

Steampunk is a genre made in the 19th century by authors like Jules Verne, but the genre as we know it today was created in the 1980s. The genre often takes place in a world inspired by the Victorian Era, but it can also take place in the medieval times or on a whole other planet in a far away future. You'll often see technology like steam engines (therefore the name), hot air ballons, or other kinds of "modern" things from the 19th century used in Steampunk culture.


In Steampunk the author often mixes elements from both sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction, thriller, and Alternate History genres - and it's therefore perfect, if you want to write it all!



1. In Steampunk you can create an awesome universe - but remember the story. After all, your audience reads your story to follow the protagonist's road through it, not to hear details about how a hot air ballon works! With that said, then use all the "steampunk spices" that you want to - because now when you have the opportunity :-)

2. Opposite of what I just said, then remember, that the settings and universe are very important and take a lot of planning. A fantastic steampunk story with an uncreative universe is not what the reader wants.



#2 - The cliché: Portal fantasy

We all know portal fantasy - books like Narnia, where our protagonist gets through some kind of portal and ends up in another world. Some of us - myself included - have written portal fanatsy in our younger days as aspriring authors. Because writing a portal fantasy is pretty easy, right?


No - it's NOT easy. Because people except it to be easy, there is written TONS of portal fantasies - and most of them are clichés and pretty bad. As soon as you mention that you are writing a portal fanatsy, people may have some prejudice.


But that's why you have to take the challenge and show the world that portal fantasys can be thrilling, amazing - and in no way cliché!


Tips and tricks:

Two things I've learned through the million blog posts about portal fantasy is:

1. The story will be a lot stronger if it's not just a human who has to save a foreign world. The human could just choose not to care, but instead make the drama in the foreign world have an impact on our world.

2. A lot of portal fantasy stories build it up so, if the protagonist does not fall through the portal, then there will be no story. That seems kinda lame. It's more cool if there is a reason, like why our protagonist ends up in the foreign world - and that there is a consequence, like if your protagonist stays in our world.


#3 - The unknown: Alternate History

Alternate History, what? Most of us have seen or read an alternate history book, movie, picture, infographic, etc. but the word is not something we know...


Alternate History, also called AH, is when you change a historic event, for example, if you write that Germany won WWII. Then maybe you'll write a story set in 1947 about a girl growing up in a Nazi world. The genre is often combined with fantasy, sci-fi, or steampunk.


Alternate History is hard to write and that's maybe the reason why it's still kind of unknown. You have to research A LOT, more than if you're writing normal historical fiction, simply because you have to predict an alternative future! But if you ask me, that makes Alternate History the most awesome thing you can write because you get to explore a whole unique historical universe, and it's totally worth it!



Above: An Alternate History pic that shows what would have happened if D-day was a fight against Aliens.


Tips and tricks:

1. It cannot be said enough times: it is probably the most demanding genre, so research, research, research!

2. Try to do a bunch of historical what-if questions and use the coolest answers to make a story. 



#4 - The upcomming: Minimalism

Minimalism is already seen here at Movellas in some poems with only small letters or no punctuation. However, most of the poems are not pure minimalism as it's not described the same way.


The genre is known for few effects, whether you write, paint, do movies, or draw houses. It is often only one genre - like realism. In minimalism it's not about what the text says, but what it does not say - based on the concept "Less is more". This is seen in six-word stories like “Wrong number,” says a familiar voice.


If you do not want to write just minimalism, then get inspired and try to keep your sentences short and precise - write all the good stuff between the lines ;-)



Tips and tricks:

When you write minimalism, try to take a look at each sentence - then try to delete it and see if the story is stronger without it. If not, you can always press ctrl+Z.



What is your favorite subgenre?





Thanks to Movellian Sofie R.E. for writing this blog (series) and designing the banner.


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