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Summary - Genre conventions define the category of artistic composition of a particular content, such as a book, movie, audio, video, painting, podcast, etc... They guide the readers or viewers about the category or classification of the particular content they select to read or watch. So, genre conventions help us filter the content based on our preferences.

What are Genre Conventions?

Genre conventions refer to the expectations and patterns commonly associated with a particular content genre. These conventions often include theme, plot device, character type, situation, setting, and other elements typically found within a particular genre. They are found in many forms of media, including literature, film, music, and video games.

Some common examples of Genre Conventions in writing and films:

  • The romance genre often includes a protagonist who finds the love he was searching for and a happy ending.
  • The horror genre typically features suspenseful plot twists and frightening imagery. This genre often explores themes of fear, death, and the supernatural.
  • Science fiction often explores speculative technology and futuristic settings, while fantasy frequently includes magic and mythical creatures.
  • The crime genre depicts the antagonist committing heinous criminal activities, brutal murders, mysterious red herrings, etc., and in obligatory scenes, the hero defeats the villain.

Overall, conventions help define a particular genre and create expectations for creators and audiences. While some may criticize genre conventions for being too predictable, they can also be valuable tools for creators to communicate their ideas effectively to readers or audiences.

The Basic Features of Genre Conventions:

The conventions of a specific genre refer to a set of common features or elements – generic conventions – typically found in a genre of art, literature, or other entertainment forms. They express a pattern throughout the presentation and underpin the storyline.

Genre conventions can be distinguished into these 5 characteristics

Genre conventions can be distinguished into these 5 characteristics

Each genre typically explores specific themes of a subject matter. For example, action films certainly include breathtaking fighting, weapons, gameplay, etc., while romance explores the passion of love and relationships.


The background, settings, and circumstances of a creation are deeply associated with the genre of that creation. For example, science fiction often occurs in futuristic or space environments, while horror might occur in spooky areas like a ramshackle house or abandoned asylum.

Contextual textual evidence may not be explicit in the arts, but it is vital in other contexts. 


Specific archetypes or stereotypical characters are often created and associated with specific genres. For example, in the romance genre, you might see a ”good girl” protagonist, a “bad, rich boy” attracted to her, and another fair but poor boy in a love triangle.

While in the action genre, you might see a tough, rational hero who can fight and make strategies simultaneously. The villains are often too intelligent and physically strong, with bad intentions.


Genres often have specific plot devices or tropes that depict common sequences of occurrences. For example, in a mystery genre detective novel, a detective usually solves a crime through clues and evidence.

Here we must mention “Sherlock Holmes” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. His imagination created new tropes in detective stories and novels.

Tone or Approach:

Tone refers to the way of presenting a story or incident. And it helps to establish the mood or atmosphere of a specific genre. For example, comedy is often light-hearted and humorous, while horror is dark and foreboding.

A genre’s tone or approach also influences the viewers’ emotions and reactions. For example, a horror movie with a suspenseful tone may cause the audience to feel fear and anxiety. In contrast, a romantic film with a sentimental, emotional tone may cause the viewer to feel warmth and affection.

These are just a few practical and widespread examples of the common characteristics of genre conventions. While not all genres have all the above features, they are often valuable for identifying and understanding the different types. 

There is no such thing as a conventions genre: conventions don’t have their genres!

What is a Convention in Film Genres?

What is a Convention in Film Genres?

Film conventions can be developed from genres like romance, horror, crime, etc. As in film genre conventions, the obligatory scenes depict the action or life of the protagonist. 

Also, film conventions include similar types of characters, themes, props, plotlines, and other details related to a certain genre. We usually choose movies and web series based on our preferred genre. Filmmakers also follow genres when writing to define character archetypes for films or web series.

Some filmmakers focus on one genre, like a love story, love triangle, crime thriller, mystery genre, etc., while many others make movies in different genres. But they follow certain conventions whether working on single or many genres.

It is similar to an assignment service provider, where a mentor assigns tasks of generic lessons to students.

Some examples of genres conventions in movies:

  • Action: high-stakes situations, physical feats, and heroic characters
  • Comedy: humor, satire, and exaggerated situations
  • Drama: conflicts, emotions, and realistic characters
  • Fantasy: magical worlds, mythical creatures, and quests
  • Thriller: suspense, danger, and a sense of urgency

How are conventions enforced in film genres?

How are conventions enforced in film genres?

Genre conventions are not enforced on films, but can heavily influence films. Certain elements of specific genres or sub-genres are often followed in an action film, science fiction, a love triangle, or a mystery. 

 For example, crime stories usually include a good guy as the protagonist defeating the bad guy, the master villain. This trope makes the audience happy and satisfied.

Similarly, in romance stories, the hero influences his lover with certain elements and virtues of his character. Finally, in obligatory scenes, the story fulfills their romance, and the audience experiences a happy ending. 

Here are some genre conventions examples observed in movies.

  • Shootouts and remarkable stunts in action-packed plots
  • The protagonist of romance novels or love stories is often oblivious to everything else.
  • Detectives investigating suspense or crime thrillers 
  • Mythical creatures in fantasy movies or monsters in horror stories
  • Showcasing exceptional real-life incidents, adventures, and achievements
  • Alien invasions and outer space travel in science fiction genres
  • Warfare involving knights in a medieval background
  • Melodrama and sensational humorous exaggerations

Following a particular genre is often boring, so most people change their preferences occasionally. Some people like to stick to a single genre. But alliteration or repetition of a single concept is often boring for viewers. But what is alliteration?

What is literary genre convention?

What is literary genre convention?

Literary genre conventions generally refer to the generic features of literary works. It is a way to classify different forms of literary writing to guide readers on which type of story they can expect. It also allows writers to communicate their ideas and stories to satisfy readers effectively.

How do literary genre conventions influence readers to choose a story or other forms of literature?

As mentioned, genre conventions help readers understand what they can expect from a particular story genre and whether it will align with their interests and preferences.

For example, if someone likes to read a romance novel, they will be attracted to a book featuring a central love story, conflicts threatening the relationship, and a happy ending.

Often, writers follow particular genre conventions in their stories or novels, whether fiction or nonfiction. It significantly impacts readers, as they can get hints about the story, whether romance or horror. Also, researchers maintain genre features in every type of research papers to keep consistency and provide a complete sense to readers regarding the research topic.

What are the 8 main genres in literature?

What are the 8 main genres in literature?

There are eight genre conventions in literature.


Genre conventions help define and shape the audience’s expectations for a particular genre while providing a framework for writers and creators to work within. In fiction, writers use  imagination to build every character, activity, and plot.

This type of story is commonly found and created by writers worldwide. Conventions herein are used to build familiarity and consistency within this genre, or they can be altered to create something new and innovative.


Nonfiction creates a strong sense of reality among readers. It showcases authentic personalities, their notable deeds, and actual incidents. Writers create such stories with pragmatic considerations in a typical setting, like a research thesis, news reports, etc.


Several genre conventions examples are commonly found in dramas like tragedy, comedy, melodrama, farce, or historical. Genre elements, the key in performing plays, operas, and musicals, dramatically emphasize the story or topic. Such dramatical emphases may often be used to make the audience believe something, either through logic or temptation. Persuasive speech topics do the same.


Genre conventions have significantly influenced poetry, shaping its structure, subject matter, and style throughout history. Also, poets keep pushing the boundaries to explore and redefine the typical level of each poetry genre. Types of poetry genres include Epic, Sonnet, Elegy, Haiku, and many more.


The nature of melodramas is exaggerated emotions, typical plot twists, and a clear moral message creatively and dramatically. Genre conventions have influenced melodrama in depicting character archetypes, astonishing plot twists, themes or context, music, and the other vital play parts. 


Folktale is one of the most prominent examples of genre conventions, as these are traditional stories passed down generations by word of mouth. Folktales typically associate with specific cultures or regions and often feature astonishing, magical elements.

The conventions, through several generations, have influenced story structures, archetypal characters, contexts, and their unique cultural elements. 


Farce has a rich, conventional history. It is a type of comedy genre that emerged in the 15th century in France. It is identified by exaggerated characters, improbable situations, physical humor, and repetition, viz., repeating a phrase or action for comic effect. 


We see historical genre conventions in fiction, like literature, film, and TV series, set in a historical time frame and often involve fictional and historical characters interacting with authentic historical events, figures, and settings.

Writing in the historical genre requires attention to historical detail, using actual historical personalities, deep exploration of historical events, adopting their language and accents, and emphasis on the period’s social norms and customs. 

You may also use historical information in your Compare and Contrast Essay Topics of homework assignments. Your teacher will be impressed if you can write an essay on genre conventions. 

How Certain Genre Conventions Influence Our Preferences?

How Certain Genre Conventions Influence Our Preferences?

Genre conventions influence both creators and audiences. Audiences can use them to help identify and understand a specific genre and its themes. Creators can use these conventions to guide their story elements and provide a one-genre framework for their storytelling.

For example, your favorite is a romance novel, while your friend prefers a horror story, and it is due to the difference in genre conventions.

However, genre conventions can also be limiting. Creators may feel pressured to adhere too closely to these conventions, stifling their creativity and making their work feel formulaic. Audiences may also become bored with overly predictable plots and characters that feel too familiar.

Despite these limitations, genre conventions remain an essential aspect of popular culture. They provide a shared vocabulary and understanding that allows creators and audiences to communicate and connect through their shared love of their favorite genre.

We hope you now thoroughly understand the genre conventions definition and how it influences our lives, cultures, literature, movies, music, and other creative pursuits.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 4 genre conventions?

The four genre conventions refer to the most crucial aspects of literature, film, or other artistic works. Some of these aspects are the setting, characterization, plot selection, and presentation. These conventions help define and distinguish genres.

What are English genre conventions?

English genre conventions refer to the commonly accepted – conventions – features or elements that hugely impact English literature. These conventions have developed over time and are typically associated with specific periods, styles, or themes in English literature. Epic Poetry, Shakespearean Tragedy, Gothic Fiction, Modernist Literature, etc., are some key types of English genres.

What are the three types of conventions?

The three types of convictions include social, genre, and industry conventions.

What makes a convention?

A convention is typically an adoption of rules by gathering people who share a common interest or profession, often to exchange ideas, learn about new developments, and network with others in their field. A professional association, a company, or a group of enthusiasts can organize a convention.

How to identify the particular genre of a book?

You can identify the genre of a book following these tips: check the book’s cover and marketing material for visual cues, look for familiar tropes and conventions, check out the author’s style and themes, and read reviews and summaries regarding the book. 

How popular are the horror films genre?

The popularity of horror movies varies over time and across different regions and cultures. However, overall, horror films have remained a popular genre throughout the history of cinema. According to Box Office Mojo, horror movies consistently rank among the top-grossing generic choices.

Horror films are also popular internationally, with many countries producing horror films and audiences worldwide enjoying the genre. Some of the most popular international horror films include “Train to Busan” (South Korea, 2016), “Raw” (France/Belgium, 2016), and “The Babadook” (Australia, 2014).

How to identify if two books belong to the same genre?

If the two books have similar context, plot, characterization, style, and themes, they belong to the same genre.

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