Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Defining My Genre

So what do I write?  This question is asked of me whenever someone hears that I'm writing a book.  I've dabbled in several different areas with my flash fiction, but in answer to my book?  Well, when someone asks me what I write, of course I say fiction.  After all, just about everyone knows that there is fiction and there is non-fiction.  However, what type of fiction do I write?  Ah, now that has been a little bit of a challenge until recently.  I think.  I'll explain.

First off, I need to know my genre.  This is extremely important when I finally wrap up this thing and start pitching it to agents.  I must know what genre my book falls under.  I have to put this in my agent query letter. So when I started trying to define this some time ago my head started to spin like a scene out of the Exorcist.  Why?  Well, you think there are two main types of fiction, commercial (larger audience) and literary (smaller audience).  But then you hear terms such as mainstream fiction (broad audience appealing to many), upmarket fiction (a combination of commercial and literary), genre fiction (western, romance, historical, horror, thriller, mystery, science-fiction, etc.).  Oh, but it doesn't stop there.  Take for example Romance.  Simple enough, right?  Nope.  Under romance you have sub-genres such as paranormal romance, historical romance, erotic romance, adventure romance, regency romance, fantasy romance, Gothic romance, contemporary romance . . . enough?  Okay you get my point.   So after screwing my head back on I calmly pulled out the laptop and started doing some serious research.  And what did I finally come up with?  Upmarket Fiction.  Yep, that's it.  And perhaps to take it one step further, Upmarket Woman's Fiction.  Think, for example, Water for Elephants, Memoirs of a Geisha, and authors such as Jodi Picoult, Anita Shreve, Sue Monk Kidd and other book club type authors.  It's actually quite a wide variety.   So since I am writing this book with multiple POVs (points of view) in the style of such authors as Jodi Picoult and Anita Shreve, and since I think my style of writing is a combination of commercial and literary, that is how I came to this conclusion.

So there you have it, my genre defined.  Uh, maybe.  You see, things change by the minute in the literary world.  In additional to YA (young adult) I recently just found out we now have NA (new adult).  But I'm going with Upmarket Woman's Fiction.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  (At least until an agent tells me I have it all wrong.)


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