I would say this sometimes happens to me. When I’m working on a novel, I do know the genre it is in. And the type of story I’m aiming for from the beginning. Then comes subgenres, where there are many, many of them. It is the more difficult to classify rather than fantasy.
I have seen really interesting subgenres, such as Literary Nonsense which I have no idea how does anyone write for this gebre. It’s basically a paradox for any writer. But writing the novel is also the same way, you have keep suspense all the while making sure the reader can catch on and keep up.
And choosing a genre can be quite the headache, but since I’m a planner, I would group it loosely to a genre which it would belong to. And maybe change once I discover more and more subgenres, apparently fantasy dealing with anti heroes are called grimdark instead of dark fantasy. And that it may also change over the course of a story. But sometimes you may never know the actual depth of a story until you go and tread into it, just like someone exploring a sea where there are bound to be shallow and deep waters. And deciding a genre can be hard, as there can be two separate genres for what you are writing.
The writing style also plays a part in deciding as most genres have different expectations. Fantasy would allow more worldbuilding and can even diverge depending on the work, humorous, poetic, straightforward. As it is a very big genre, and almost anything can be fantasy as long as it doesn’t exist in reality.
And how I decide is usually at the beginning since I write the premise and idea first before I write. It’s preparatory work for me, to see whether it’s viable. A lesson I learnt when I realised I did nearly 50,000 words and that the story had little going for it. Or when I spent over 30,000 words on a story with little tension and a long time before it comes into place.
What about you? What do you use to decide the genre? Whether it’s at the beginning of a story or the ending when you put the final word down. Leave your comments below.