Generic Conventions Definition | Types and Importance

generic conventions definition

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Most students find it hard to comprehend the basic concepts and theories provided in their academic literature. The difficulty to understand is because these students excessively focus on mugging up the concepts without trying to relate it with their actual life incidents and mental creativity.

However, having a general idea of generic conventions can help you understand the context in which the concepts and theories are provided and in drafting creative content. If you are a student trying to master the concept of generic conventions, you have come to the right place. In this post, we tell you what the generic conventions are and what are the types of generic conventions and importance? So without much ado, let’s get started!

Generic Conventions Definition

Generic conventions are those elements of a sentence that help the reader or viewer in identifying the genre of the article. In a nutshell, they are those traits that are being portrayed by the context classifying it into a genre.

Understanding the concept of generic concepts is not a difficult task like most students think. Just try to remember a storyline of a novel or cinema and recollect the concept, which your memory has linked to it. You can easily connect to the story by asking yourself a question such as “What are the characteristics that made you remember the personalities?

By answering the question above, you will come to realize that you have categorized the storyline using certain features or factors unknowingly. Let’s say you thought about a horror storyline. The kind of memoirs coming to your mind is horrifying scenes or incidents such as ghosts, dead bodies, devastating destruction, nerve-chilling music, and more. The trait of these scenes is what is referred to as generic conventions. Generic conventions come in handy for students pursuing careers in literature or art subjects.

Generic conventions play a significant role in the audience’s preference for literature and movies. Its classification makes it easy for individuals to make desired choices without confusion.

As such, generic conventions enable the elimination of undesired works without reading, thus allowing readers to make an informed choice. Besides, generic convention makes tasks simple to the writers as it draws the attention of the intended audience.  

Now that you have a clue on what generic conventions are, let’s look at the different kinds of genres.

Types of Genres

A genre refers to the type of art or literature of saying something in simple words. For better understanding, here are some of the typical genres.

  • Tragedy

This is a genre where literature is usually severe and gloomy in theme, and the climax would be an emotional disaster. The theme is centered on a character that bears unanticipated bad luck. As such, the storyline revolves around terrible incidents a protagonist has experienced in a severe mood. This genre aims to bring the reader or viewers to an emotional and baffling stage with thoughtful questions in mind.

  • Mystery

This kind of literature typically focuses on themes such as unsolved crime cases, anonymity situations, mysterious circumstances, and more. The storyline revolves around exposing a criminal. The genre aims to empower the writer to cover both the real-life and that of supernatural aspects, thus enabling the writer to achieve an exceptionally innovative approach.

  • Mythology

Mythology is yet to be defined fully due to it is complex, and a big junk of the field remains under-investigated. Mythology refers to the story propagated by people in terms of cultures that are most virtuous.  These stories are referred to as myths, and a collection of myths is referred to as mythologies. Mythology aims to provide specific philosophical messages to humanity.  

  • Fantasy

This genre mainly focuses on unreal components such as imaginary creatures, monsters, magical illusory, among others. Fantasy is strongly related to the mythological genre. The storyline is created of supernatural aspects.

Fantasy is the most popular genre and is accepted among the audience of video games, movies, literature, television, and more. It aims to uncover the areas that humanity is yet to explore.

  • Science Fiction

Like the mythology genre, science fiction is difficult to define. However, it mainly focuses on fiction stories on science and technology. The storyline follows themes that are partially true and partly fictitious theories specified in science.

  • Adventure

The works of adventure genre revolve around a protagonist who has accidentally encountered adventurous circumstances. In this case, the protagonist can be portrayed bravely and in very dangerous situations, a great display of intelligence, executing a narrow escape, and more.

Types of Generic Conventions

  • Theme 

The theme is the main idea or view presented in the literature, which can be depicted either directly or indirectly. It is a primary topic of the work, which is specified in one word like rage, solitude, love, etc.   

By going through a piece of work, you can understand how the theme works. The aspect of the theme is classified into sets of thematic concepts and statements.  Whereas the thematic concept points to the understanding and grasp of concepts, the thematic statements provide knowledge of the topic in a question.

  • Iconography

Iconography is a generic convention that deals with recognition, narrative, elucidation of theme, categorization, visual context, and symbols. It identifies the concepts and imagination used by a writer in their works.

  • Characters

Among all the generic convention deals, characters stand out to be the most important. The character can be any animated person or thin in the storyline. As such, the character can be an animal, human being, or any creature. Through the use of characters, writers convey their ideas.

The characters are subjected to action and conversation for the flow of the story. A story is meaningful, even with a single character. As the storyline flows, the character is bound to display their conflict with the inner self or any other exterior situation or factor. The storyline is created around the protagonist – the main character using the other characters. 

 Often, there are two main characters in a story, one being a protagonist and the other an antagonist. The protagonist is often portrayed as the hero, while the antagonist is an adversary that creates challenges and hurdles to the protagonist.

  • Setting

This generic convention is where the plot or primary storyline is built-up. Choosing the right setting is very important for a well-organized artwork or literature. If the setting is not given enough effort, the entire effort of building work will end up in a disaster. The setting is what provides the main attributes like concepts, tone, emotion, and more in your literature or artwork. Therefore, the setting plays a pivotal role in establishing the storyline of any literature or artwork.


To this point, we hope we have provided enough information about general conventions. If you have been struggling to wrap your head around generic conventions, then this post would be a great deal.

However, bear in mind that keeping just a theoretical concept of the generic convention isn’t enough. Make an effort to develop practical knowledge of generic convention concept to cement your understanding. But should you find it hard to make use of the generic conventions in your work assignment, then don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help. Our professional assignment experts can help you through every hurdle on your way!