Adult fiction comes in many types. Each type can be expressed as a novel, short story, movie, television show, or play. There are four main genres of adult fiction — drama, comedy, romance and action, each with subgenres. In many cases, a particular book or story will blend elements of two or more genres for depth, comic relief, or simply to appeal to a broader audience. Each type of adult fiction incorporates characters in mature situations, as opposed to fiction geared toward youth, which tends more to simple narratives with binary moral lessons.
Drama is a wide-ranging genre of adult fiction that involves complex, nuanced narratives that feature a protagonist in a moral or ethical quandary. The narrative involves the resolution or failure of resolution of this quandary. Drama focuses more on the development of character than on the development of a series of plot points, giving this genre of adult fiction a deep focus on the human condition. An example of drama is the film Leaving Las Vegas in which the protagonist battles his personal demons and progressively worsening alcoholism.
Comedy provides a mirror image of drama. Rather than focusing on complex, dynamic characters in serious but often static situations, comedy as adult fiction involves the opposite. Static characters become embroiled in a serious of complex and often exaggerated plot points for comedic effect. There are several sub-genres to comedy, including black humor, satire, slapstick absurdism, and parody. Comedy can often blend with elements of the romance genre, as well.
Romance novels and stories comprise a large share of adult fiction. Romance narratives involve matters of the heart with a protagonist that either pursues a love interest, has a love interest thrust upon her, or must somehow reconcile one love interest with another. The plots of a romance narrative can run the gamut, from basic and straightforward to convoluted and cyclical. Popular romance novels often involve a female protagonist but this is not always the case. The novels of Danielle Steel are a typical example of romance fiction.
Action fiction has fast-paced narratives with static, heroic protagonists battling against antagonistic forces that are attempting to subvert some natural status quo. An action thriller novel often includes numerous plot points because the development of the plot is the driving force of the narrative. Events drive action fiction, leaving the protagonist to respond to such events. The Bourne Identity novels are a textbook example of action fiction.