I’ve recently entered a short story competition sponsored by NYC Midnight. They assign genres, topics and characters as prompts for your story. They have a list of genre definitions that I found extremely helpful. You can find it below and here as well.
A suspenseful story in which a mission involving risk and danger forms the primary storyline. The protagonist, who is typically operating outside the course of his or her daily life, embarks on a journey to confront obstacles and prove worthiness. Action sequences are frequently featured, especially those involving chases, explosions, and attacks. This genre has its roots in Greek and Medieval literature, including Homer’s classic epic poem, the Iliad, which tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles. (more…)