Not sure what to call the genre of my story...
(East Lyme, CT, USA)
I recently decided to try writing a novel (wish me luck!). The main idea is a girl (college-aged) who is very shy and non-social, has a dreadful past, and doesn't trust anyone, etc. She ends up meeting a sweet, out-going guy and they "fall in love." But the focus of the story is more on her dealing with her past, breaking out of her shell, and finding the positive things in her life, all with the help of the male character. What specific genre would this most likely fall under?
The story you describe could fall into one of several different genres--perhaps romance, chick lit, or even literary fiction, depending on how you approach it.
Romance has strict plot and character guidelines set by each publisher. It is always good to read these guidelines before you start.
Chick lit is often humorous and focuses on a strong and independent female protagonist, usually with an important flaw, such as Bridget Jones' awkwardness and reliance on food for comfort, or Rebecca Bloomwood's financially challenged nature.
Literary fiction may be similar to either of the above, but will have deeper characterization and insight, and will have greater focus on original diction.
You also describe mostly internal changes for the character, and it is important for the protagonist to have a strong external
goal throughout the story. You can read more about this in the following question and answer
, and also in this article about Story Premise
Good luck with your novel!