Novels, also termed "fiction," may be categorized as literary, mainstream or genre. Literary novels focus on characters' internal experiences and personal journeys. They are often critically acclaimed for both subject matter and writing style. Genre fiction follows a specific storytelling pattern, and mainstream novels appeal to a wide audience.
Another method categorizes all novels, including literary fiction, according to genre. Commonly recognized genres include mystery, romance and science fiction. The narrative method classifies writing according to both story themes and writing style. One novel style recognized by this method is the "bildungsroman," or coming-of-age story, which follows the main character's journey to becoming an adult.
Novels can also incorporate aspects of several categories. Literary fiction can take place on an alien planet, and novels in all genres can become popular with a mainstream audience.