Chinese Webnovel Categories

A list of genres/categories on 17k, which is one of the largest Chinese webnovel sites aside from Qidian and Zongheng.

Translated by Epithetic

Translated from the outline provided on 17K’s news blog updated 2015-09-23, “Explaining the New Categories for 2015”. The article provided the new standardized story categories for novel works that are currently in use on their site. This translation has been updated from the one done for the previous article posted in 2011. Please keep in mind that some of these categories are named at least partially after the novels or websites that inspired them, or pertain to storylines that are popular in China, but less so in english-speaking countries. At least many of the categories will generally be found on other reader sites as well.


Young Male Categories (男生)


Fantasy (玄幻奇幻 – Xuánhuàn Qíhuàn)

Eastern Fantasy (东方玄幻 – Dōngfāng Xuánhuàn): Fictional stories centered primarily on Oriental myths, legends and fairy tales or using such elements as their basis.

Foreign Continent (异界大陆 – Yì Jiè Dàlù): Fictional stories set in a different world, in a different land, with clear supernatural elements.

Foreign World Power Struggle (异世争霸 – Yì Shì Zhēngbà): Fictional stories set in a different world, in a different land, with clear supernatural elements, and that are centered around a military power struggle.

Remarkable Power (异术超能 – Yì Shù Chāonéng): Fictional stories surrounding ordinary people where the protagonist has an extraordinary supernatural ability that is used to drive the plot.

Western Fantasy (西方奇幻 – Xīfāng Qíhuàn): Traditional Western fantasy stories.

Feudal Lord (领主贵族 – Lǐngzhǔ Guìzú): Foreign fantasy stories where the protagonist is a lord in a feudal society and the plot is centered around the development of power and influence.

Magic Campus (魔法校园 – Mófǎ Xiàoyuán): Fictional stories with a campus as the main backdrop.


Epic Hero (武侠仙侠 – Wǔxiá Xiānxiá)

Classic Immortal Hero (古典仙侠 – Gǔdiǎn Xiānxiá): Traditional stories about immortal heroes.

Modern-day Sage Cultivation (现代修真 – Xiàndài Xiūzhēn): Stories about immortal heroes set in a modern-day city.

Ancient Investiture of Gods (洪荒封神 – Hónghuāng Fēngshén): Stories about immortal heroes set in the early days of the universe where the storyline is based off of “Investiture of the Gods” or myths and fairy tales like it.

Foreign Fantasy Sage Cultivation (奇幻修真 – Qíhuàn Xiūzhēn): Stories regarding sage cultivation that involve somewhat combined eastern and western soul refinement methods.

Traditional Martial Hero (传统武侠 – Chuántǒng Wǔxiá): Stories containing traditional martial hero elements, the works by Liang-Jin-Gu (Liang Yusheng, Jin Yong and Gu Long) being representative of the genre.

Modern-day Remarkable Hero (现代异侠 – Xiàndài Yì Xiá): Fictional stories set in modern times where the main protagonist has the characteristics of a martial hero, replete with martial techniques and/or other, similar abilities.

Historical Martial Hero (历史武侠 – Lìshǐ Wǔxiá): Stories mainly about martial heroes that also incorporate history to a greater extent, or stories about history that are written straightforwardly in the martial hero style.

Chinese & Ancient Martial Arts (国术古武 – Guóshù Gǔwǔ): Stories set in a modern or future city where the world of martial practitioners is hidden within it and the refinement of martial artistry (Wushu, aka. Kungfu) has been developed into the common soul refinement methods known as “Chinese Martial Arts” (Guoshu) and “Ancient Martial Arts” (Guwu) respectively.


Gaming & Competition (游戏竞技 – Yóuxì Jìngjì)

VR Online Game (虚拟网游 – Xūnǐ Wǎngyóu): Fictional stories involving simulated reality (full-dive, etc.) online games.

Game World (游戏异界 – Yóuxì Yì Jiè): Fictional stories about being transported to the world of an online game.

Electronic Competition (电子竞技 – Diànzǐ Jìngjì): Stories about competitive gaming that focus to a greater extent on matches.

Gamer Life (游戏生涯 – Yóuxì Shēngyá): Fictional stories that focus on the life of a gamer.

The World of Soccer / Football (天下足球 – Tiānxià Zúqiú): Stories about competitive soccer / football.

Basketball Drama (篮球风云 – Lánqiú Fēngyún): Stories about competitive basketball.

Chess & Tile-Card-Board Games (棋牌桌游 – Qí-Pái-Zhuōyóu): Stories about competitive chess, tile, card and board games.

Sports Competition (体育竞技 – Tǐyù Jìngjì): Stories about other competitive sports.


History & Military Affairs (历史军事 – Lìshǐ Jūnshì)

Travel Through History (历史穿越 – Lìshǐ Chuānyuè): Stories where the protagonist is transported to a dynastic period that actually existed.

Fabricated History (架空历史 – Jiàkōng Lìshǐ): Fictional stories set in an imaginary dynasty, or perhaps a real one, without having been transported to it.

History Dramatization (历史传奇 – Lìshǐ Chuánqí): Stories driven by real historical events.

War Fiction (战争幻想 – Zhànzhēng Huànxiǎng): Fictional stories involving fictional war military campaigns or ones that present a different outcome for a real war campaign that has otherwise taken place.

Army Life (军旅生涯 – Jūnlǚ Shēngyá): Stories centering on life in the military, presented in the form of a soldier’s memoirs.

Spy Combat Agents (谍战特工 – Dié Zhàn Tègōng): Fictional stories of spy battles and combat between high-tech military forces.

Historical Battle Drama (战史风云 – Zhàn Shǐ Fēngyún): Stories describing real war military campaigns.


Science Fiction & World’s End (科幻末世 – Kēhuàn Mòshì)

World-Ending Crisis (末世危机 – Mòshì Wēijī): Catastrophe stories involving the end of the world or ones that portray a post apocalyptic wasteland.

Evolution & Variation (进化变异 – Jìnhuà Biànyì): Sci-fi stories about evolution, mutations and so on.

Interstellar War (星际战争 – Xīngjì Zhànzhēng): Sci-fi stories that describe wars in outer space.

Mecha (古武机甲 – Gǔwǔ Jījiǎ): Sci-fi stories with mechanical battle armour as the main plot driver.

Time Travel (时空穿梭 – Shíkōng Chuānsuō): Sci-fi stories where the plot involves pushing the boundaries of space and time.

Envisioned Future (未来幻想 – Wèilái Huànxiǎng): Sci-fi stories set in a futuristic world where advanced technology plays a significant role.


Urban Fiction (都市小说 – Dūshì Xiǎoshuō)

Hot-Blooded Youth (热血青春 –  Rèxiě Qīngchūn): Youth fiction narrative centered around the lives of young people.

Campus Drama (校园风云 – Xiàoyuán Fēngyún): Fictional stories centered on campus in the style of urban fiction.

Urban Rebirth (都市重生 – Dūshì Chóngshēng): Fictional stories centered on rebirth with a city as the backdrop.

Urban Special Abilities (都市异能 – Dūshì Yìnéng): Fictional stories centered on special abilities with a city as the backdrop.

Urban Battle (都市激战 – Dūshì Jīzhàn): Fictional stories describing fierce conspiracies, gun battles, fights in the criminal underworld and so on with a city as the backdrop.

Bureaucracy Drama (官场风云 – Guāncháng Fēngyún): Fictional stories depicting bureaucracy.

Entertainment Celebrity (娱乐明星 – Yúlè Míngxīng): Fictional stories featuring celebrities in show business.

Urban Life (都市生活 – Dūshì Shēnghuó): Stories depicting urban life.

Native Village (乡村乡土 – Xiāngcūn Xiāngtǔ): Fictional stories about villages.

Career Battle (职场商战 – Zhícháng Shāngzhàn): Fictional stories describing a person’s struggles in the workplace.


Young Female Categories (女生)


Period Romance (古装言情 – Gǔzhuāng Yánqíng)

Travel Through Time & Space (穿越时空 – Chuānyuè Shíkōng): Romantic stories where the female protagonist travels from the modern era to an older or fabricated era and the plot centers around the emotions experienced between the male and female protagonists.

Fabricated History (架空历史 – Jiàkōng Lìshǐ): Romantic stories set in a fabricated era, without having been transported to it, where the plot centers around the emotions experienced between the male and female protagonists.

Court Nobles (宫廷贵族 – Gōngtíng Guìzú): Romantic stories focused on houses of royalty.

Commercial Farming (经商种田 – Jīngshāng Zhòngtián): Romantic stories that especially focus on family gossip, life’s trivialities and what happens in the female protagonist’s struggle to prosper on her own.

Ancient Rebirth (古代重生 – Gǔdài Chóngshēng): Romantic stories set in antiquity, where the female protagonist is reborn and becomes a part of the world as it was then.

Virtuous Outcast (快意江湖 – Kuàiyì Jiānghú): Romantic stories about martial heroes set in the community of martial artists (also known as the Jianghu), where the plot mainly focuses on the grievances of independent martial artists who live by their own code of justice.

Household Grievances (家宅恩怨 – Jiāzhái Ēnyuàn): Romantic stories set in ages past that revolve around the female protagonist’s household conflicts, back garden dealings and grievances.


Urban Romance (都市言情 – Dūshì Yánqíng)

Modern-day Rebirth (现代重生 – Xiàndài Chóngshēng): Romance stories set in modern times, where the female protagonist is reborn and becomes a part of the modern world.

Big-shot Businessman (总裁豪门 – Zǒngcái Háomén): Romance stories where the main protagonist is tall, rich and handsome – the ideal man – while being the head of a company or something similar.

Entertainment Celebrity (娱乐明星 – Yúlè Míngxīng): Romance stories featuring celebrities in show business.

ROC Reminiscence (民国旧影 – Mínguó Jiù Yǐng): Romance stories that involve tales of the old nationalist Republic of China (ROC) which held power between 1914–1949.

Cross-Border Love Connection (跨国情缘 – Kuàguó Qíngyuán): Romance stories set in a foreign country, or where one of the main protagonists is a foreigner.

Urban Love Connection (都市情缘 – Dūshì Qíngyuán): Romance stories that focus on depicting emotions in an urban setting.

Career Beauty (职场丽人 – Zhícháng Lìrén): Romantic stories set in the city, with a professional, white-collar office lady as the main protagonist.


Fantasy Romance (幻想言情 – Huànxiǎng Yánqíng)

Mystic Fantasy & Immortal Hero (玄幻仙侠 – Xuánhuàn Xiānxiá): Romantic stories where events are pushed along by elements of mystic fantasy, immortal heroes, and other such elements of Oriental fiction.

Interstellar Science Fiction (星际科幻 – Xīngjì Kēhuàn): Sci-fi stories that take place among the stars.

World-Ending Crisis (末世危机 – Mòshì Wēijī): Catastrophe stories involving the end of the world or ones that portray a post apocalyptic wasteland

Gaming Love Connection (游戏情缘 – Yóuxì Qíngyuán): Romantic stories involving a game where the plot focuses on the feelings being developed between the main protagonists through the game.

Superpowers & Outer Space (异能空间 – Yìnéng Kōngjiān): Romantic stories where events are pushed along by fictional elements like superpowers and outer space.

Other World Magic (异界魔法 – Yìjiè Mófǎ): Romantic stories where events are pushed along by things like magic and other such elements of fantasy.

Western Fantasy (西方奇幻 – Xīfāng Qíhuàn): Romantic stories where events are pushed along by the various elements of Western Fantasy.


Youth Romance (浪漫青春 – Làngmàn Qīngchūn)

Effeminate Fraternity (唯美纯爱 – Wéiměi Chúnài): Stories about fraternal romance between boys (gay romance, BL, or Boys’ Love).

Lily Love (百合之恋 – Bǎihé Zhī Liàn): Stories about fraternal romance between girls (lesbian romance).

Online Dating / Jumping Through Space-Time (网配快穿 – Wǎngpèi Kuài Chuān): Romance stories that contain elements like online dating and marriage resumes, or romance stories where the main protagonist, because of having been given a task or some other specific reason, repeatedly crosses over to different points in space-time.


General Categories (个性化)


Personal Writing (自述小说 – Zìshù Xiǎoshuō)

Personal Worldview (臆想世界 – Yìxiǎng Shìjiè): Stories told from incredible, strange, artistic, and other such viewpoints, that may reflect a soaring and bold imagination and be filled with childish wonder, follow the warm and elegant style of Miyazaki Hayao, or be similar to Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” with its inner world and reflection.

Real-life Experience (现实经历 – Xiànshí Jīnglì): Stories set in actual situations that recount the experiences of the main protagonist.

Alternate Perspective (另类视角 – Lìnglèi Shìjiǎo): Stories where the main protagonist is something other than an ordinary human. The protagonist’s identity could be that of a lazy cat or a stray dog… all living things grow, and the world is rife with colour and variety, equally wondrous when seen through the eyes of each and every living creature.


Emotion (情感小说 – Qínggǎn Xiǎoshuō)

Mother-in-law & Daughter-in-law Relationship (婆媳关系 – Póxí Guānxi): Stories involving the family where events are pushed along by relationship between the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law.

Marital Romance (婚恋爱情 – Hūnliàn Àiqíng): Stories set in modern society that depict the married life of the male and female protagonists.

Family Ethics (家庭伦理 – Jiātíng Lúnlǐ): Stories set in modern times that revolve around emotional disputes within the family.


Suspense (悬疑小说 – Xuányí Xiǎoshuō)

Terror & Mystery (恐怖灵异 – Kǒngbù Língyì): Stories with a deliberately frightening atmosphere and a plot that is full of suspense.

Case Solving (破案推理 – Pò’àn Tuīlǐ): Stories that focus on the intricate plot reasoning involved in solving crimes and capturing criminals.

Adventure & Tomb Raiding (探险盗墓 – Tànxiǎn Dàomù): Stories brimming with mystery where the plot involves things like adventure-seeking, the unravelling of unsolved mysteries, and tomb raiding.


Humour (爆笑小说 – Bàoxiào Xiǎoshuō)

Fantasy Humour (幻想爆笑 – Huànxiǎng Bàoxiào): Fantasy-type stories full of comedic elements.

Reality Humour (现实爆笑 – Xiànshí Bàoxiào): Stories grounded in reality that are full of comedic elements, whether they be set in the modern era or times past.

Dry Humour (冷幽默 – Lěng Yōumò): Deadpan comedy, deadpan spoofs, or works filled with dark humour.


2D World (二次元 – Èrcìyuán)

Comic Fan Fiction (宅系小说 – Zhái Xì Xiǎoshuō): Stories where the contents and writing style match up with various cartoons and comics, but are not constrained by their elements or genre. A spirit of passion, healing, ridicule or selling out can all be included, while the setup can be anything such as using angels and demons, machine warfare, fighting matchups and so on. The story must be rewarding and respectful to the source.

Moe Fan Fiction (萌系小说 – Méng Xì Xiǎoshuō): Stories that are focused on taking what is current and casting it into female moe. The subject is designed to elicit a moe response to anything from the reader, including things like cutesy weaponry, female versions of famous characters, and cutesy war manifestations.

Soul Switching (灵魂转换 – Línghún Zhuǎnhuàn): Stories that involve body transitions, including things like soul exchanges and gender transformation.


Youth (青春小说 – Qīngchūn Xiǎoshuō)

Campus Youth (校园青春 – Xiàoyuán Qīngchūn): Stories with a campus as the main backdrop.

Fraternal Youth (纯爱青春 – Chúnài Qīngchūn): Stories that focus on sincere feelings between young ones.

Distressed Youth (悲伤青春 – Bēishāng Qīngchūn): Stories that portray the sincerity and hardships, affection and pain experienced throughout the adolescent years.