I was thinking about how to define what you write. Or how you decide what you want to write. I’m having a hard time deciding what genre I should submit my manuscript to when it’s finished. I’m about 2/3 of the way through the novel and I have, as yet, no idea where it should go. I know what it isn’t, but I’m not sure what it is. There is some romance in the novel, but not a lot. There are some fantastical elements but it’s set in “the real world” for the majority of the novel, but some scenes are in…alternate realitites. But there are also some quasi-religious overtones that may throw some people off, although it’s far from religious fiction as well. Also, my main character is young, but not really young enough to label it “YA” at least in my own standards of YA.
At first, I was leaning towards paranormal, until another aspiring writer reminded me of the connotations of paranormal to romance these days. I know that it isn’t horror, romance, or science fiction. It’s definitely not autobiographical in any shape of that category, but I’m still at a loss as to where I’d place my novel.
I suppose Fantasy would do, but that label doesn’t leave me satisified, more than likely it’s the lack of a real magic system that leaves me unsatisfied. There are three kinds of “paranormal” creatures, if you will, in this novel, and there are some fantastical beasts, although they are merely glimpsed. However, there’s no magic, wizards, dragons and the like and without those it just doesn’t ring “Fantasy” to me. I keep leaning paranormal, but there’s that stigma, as one friend once put it, of being a “bodice ripper.” Which doesn’t really apply to my novel. It could, if I had the mind to make it more concerned with the relationship, but the main thing about the relationship in this novel is that it doesn’t exist. And when it does, it still doesn’t, if that makes any sense.
So now, I’m 2/3 of the way through the novel and I still don’t have any idea who the intended audience is. I somehow feel that that puts me a bit behind. I’ve read about defining genre, and I suppose my novel is one of those that kind of mixes them a bit. It’s loosely based on religious mythology (not to be confused with religious teachings). In addition it has the elements of fantasy/paranormal. There’s a bit of SF (depending on the definition used) but mostly it’s paranormal. And I hate the unfair association of paranormal and romance. (I know I’ve said it before but I could rant for days on that association, besides being unfair, it’s also a bit stupid in my opinion).
I took my love of the supernatural and religion and fantasy and mashed it all up into one novel (hopefully it’ll become a series). The idea first came to me while I was taking a religious studies course which gave me the idea for the main paranormal creature. I’m even in the progress of writing the inception of the story. I’d say prequel…but I’m really talking about the dawn of my paranormal creatures, and I don’t intend to write about them in any particular order of time. My first novel, hopefully, will take place in present day. But some of my ideas take me back through history and natural disasters.
How do you define what you write? Do you start with a goal of writing for a specific audience? Or is it that you found something new and interesting and you wanted to write about it?
- Fiction Affliction: Diagnosing August Releases in Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance (tor.com)
- Because It’s Shiny (tor.com)