We may think that author is a wise man who mastered the art of writing to create masterpieces, but it is not usually so. We all are authors in some sense. Composing letters, writing our diaries or posting a text in a discussion we become authors of our own writing works. If we try, we can even distinct the genre and classify ourselves, joining the famous writers of the past.
Usually writers are classified by date and by genre. But sometimes, the historical periods aren’t just date. They are remarkable for the whole new style emerging and flourishing. These styles became popular and they can also say a lot about time frame the author worked in. So, we can classify by century and say that Mr. X is a writer of XII century, and it will be precise enough, or we can say that Ms. Y writes in postmodernism genre, that most likely (but not for sure) places her into the middle of XX century when postmodernism became popular.
The three main branches that are usually referred are classical, modernism and postmodernism. Classical literature is pretty everything that was written during the history of humanity. Classical literature is neatly structured and divided to genres. A tragedy can’t become a comedy and vice versa. Modern literature emerged when the new authors started to shift boundaries and experiment with genres and writing styles, mixing them and relying more on feeling and emotions than precise and accurate descriptions. Postmodernism that came to life later took that even further, breaking the “fourth wall” between the setting and the reader, being an unreliable narrative or offering readers to solve some paradoxes – effectively making the audience co-authors too.
Classifying by form is similar to the artist classification. As an artist can be a modernist and also paint still life, or sea, or portraits, the writer also can use a certain style and be a short story writer, novelist, poet or satirist. The style defines how his works are written and form defines what exactly he writes. Poetry is the most compressed form that needs perfect sense of rhythm and metaphorical thinking, satire demands the excellent understanding of social events that are the objects of it. Novel should be structured in absolutely different way than a short story that needs a couple of hours to read.
We encourage you to try for yourself and examine this classification and your own place in it. Maybe, if you find the right genre and form, you will become a famous author too?