1. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Need Help With Genre...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by JJ_Maxx, Mar 12, 2013.

    Okay, I've dusted off one of my ideas from my slush folder and cleaned it up, but I'm not sure what genre it belongs. This will be important if I decide to send out query letters, etc..

    Here is the summary:

    So I think this is a romance, but obviously Colby is Thomas with a new body. I think the sci-fi of it is more of a setting and the relationship is the plot, so romance I guess?

    Thoughts?

    ~ J. J.
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Speculative fiction is a nice catch all.
     
  3. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    I was also thinking Science Fiction Romance?
     
  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Although it has romance in it, I would not categorize it as romance. My guess is that it would be called *cringe* Women's Fiction. I hate that categorization, and there are plenty of men who write stories that should appeal to both men and women that are categorized as such. You could probably also go with Commercial Fiction.
     
  5. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Hmmm... I know this will appeal more to women than men, but I don't wanna get pigeon-holed in obscurity.
     
  6. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    An agent is not going to take it if you call it Science Fiction Romance. They'd read the query letter, say, "Is it science fiction or is it romance? PASS." Although there are scientific elements to your story, I wouldn't, based on what you've said, call it sci fi, either.
     
  7. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I understand not wanting the designation -- I don't really want it, either. (Hey! *My* story should appeal to both men and women!)

    But it's one of the best selling genres. Who do you think makes up most of those book clubs?
     
  8. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I wouldn't be hung up on having it try to fit a genre - sounds like it's part sci-fi, part medical thriller, part romance.
    Unless of course you're thinking ahead to the query letter. Tell them it's a cocktail mix - a dash of sci-fi,
    a splash of medical thriller a jigger or romance - shaken not stirred. :)

    I don't really think in terms of genre - leaves me flexible and it would be cool to create one - like William Gibson and cyberpunk.
     
  9. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I also agree with Peach in that I wouldn't worry too much about it until after it's written. I'd probably then pitch it as Commercial Fiction (but be prepared if an agent says it would be Women's Fiction. Though if you get to that point, you'll probably be so happy that it won't matter as much.)
     
  10. Phoenix Hikari
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    Phoenix Hikari Contributing Member

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    I agree with peachalulu, it is hard to place this into a genre, but I think being honest is the best policy.

    Would you please finish this because I want to read it, like NOW!
     
  11. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    This is true.
     
  12. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not sure how you see honesty or dishonesty comes into play here.
     
  13. Phoenix Hikari
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    Right, I was going to edit my post but anyway. Maybe it's better to admit in the letter that he's confused about what genre to call it. I am not a published author, don't really have experience in this field but i think they will not dismiss the letter simply because the author was confused about the genre.
    That's my opinion, you might differ or you might not. Reality might be totally different, i got no clue. I posted to say that I like his plot.
     
  14. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    This I would definitely NOT do in a query letter. It would make the author look like he has no idea about anything in the business, and gives the impression of -- well, he wrote it -- he knows the story better than anyone. If he doesn't know, how can anyone know? A lot of agents don't even like it if someone says their story is sci fi/fantasy -- they say, well, is it sci fi or is it fantasy?

    If one is genuinely confused about how to categorize the story, the best course of action would be to attempt to ask some actual agents. Ideally, at a writer's conference, but also potentially do-able on twitter, or on some agency websites that have spaces for asking questions about publishing and representation in general.

    Another good route is to attempt to figure out what current novels exist that are comparable (something else agents always want to know, anyway). See how those novels are categorized, and you'll have a good idea about the possibilities for your own.

    Again, this is all best sorted out after the novel is written and ready for querying.
     
  15. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Well, take Twilight.

    Hmmm...
     
  16. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    They should create a genre for the books that don't fit anywhere else
    - Mixed Bag - of course they'd still want to sub-categorize that - is it
    Mixed Bag Horror or Mixed Bag Fantasy.
     
  17. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Mostly, I'd heard Twilight categorized as YA. You could further categorize it as YA with Paranormal Elements or YA Romance. YA is a little bit of a different genre, because it is age-based, and you are able to get away with slapping another genre onto it -- i.e. YA Sci Fi, YA Fantasy, etc. You're also looking at a wikipedia entry, which isn't the same as a query letter to an agent or a pitch to a publisher. After a book is published, it's categorization can be, if you will, 'deconstructed' as much as anyone wishes, and alternative categories that also fit the novel come up, as well.

    I'm just telling you what I've heard and seen agents say. If you really want to pitch your story as a Sci Fi Romance, go right ahead.
     
  18. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    No, Liz, I appreciate your insight. Very much! I'm just kind of thinking out loud.
     
  19. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    I wonder if mine could be YA. I think the fact that the age of my female protagonist HAS TO BE at least early 30's, it might be hard.
     
  20. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't claim to be an expert or to have much knowledge (on anything, really.) This whole process is really more art than science, much to the consternation of those of us trying to get an agent. It's certainly possible that an agent could be sitting at his desk one day, having just sold a book in a really nice deal, and just having read a fantastic sci fi book. The agent could say, "you know, I love sci fi and I love romance, and I wish there were more stories that were sci fi and romance together." He opens up his email and sees your query and voila! History is made. Do I think that scenario is likely? No. But I can't say it's impossible, either.

    I was at a writing conference a few months ago, and it really struck me just how subjective this whole business is. For one part of the conference, agents were asked to bring "query letters that worked." That is, they were supposed to bring query letters that they liked, and subsequently signed the writer as a client. These letters were put on a screen and discussed. I had a few conversations with some other writers about how these letters didn't seem so different from a bunch of potential query letters that were just critiqued (and largely eviscerated) by the same group of agents. This point was somewhat validated by the reactions of several other agents on the panel. It just so happened that this conference was in NYC just after Hurricane Sandy. So there were some logistical issues, and some agents who were supposed to attend could not, but some other agents who originally weren't going to attend were able to do so. This meant that there were some query letters that "worked" in this group of letters that were being shown on a screen and originally intended to be discussed by the agent who submitted them (i.e. the agent that was so intrigued and liked the letter so much that he or she wanted more and signed the client.) What was interesting was that in almost all of these cases, the remaining agents were baffled as to what it was the other agent liked so much, and couldn't point out anything particularly noteworthy or in some cases, even good about the query. Many of the other agents would have passed on the query -- yet, they were examples of queries that were successful.

    So, in some cases, it's almost a crap-shoot. But, in listening to a bunch of these agents, and in reading a lot of blogs and essays by agents, and following them on twitter (especially when they'll go through their slush piles and tweet basic things about query letters, indicating whether they requested more info or passed), I have formulated a good idea of what types of things are more or less likely to be successful. (Not that I've achieved this success yet, myself -- I have yet to do extensive querying, because I'm right now in editing hell.) I can tell you, however, that I've consistently seen them say that they really don't like it if someone does not know their own genre.

    As far as YA and your protagonist, I'd agree with you that yes, your protag is too old to make your's YA. I just said this recently in another thread, but again, from what I've seen from agents, the target reader, especially in YA is roughly the age of the protag (with more appeal to those the same age and a couple years younger.) So from what I've gathered, your story would not be considered YA, although that doesn't mean that there aren't teens who would enjoy it.
     
  21. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    JJ,a few questions.

    What's the drive of this story? Morality of doctors,morality of science, or straight up romance?

    If you plan on delving deeply into the surgery and science behind a brain transplant, developing an appropriate psychology for a man trapped in another man's body, punishing the surgeon for her morally questionably conduct, and possibly (but hopefully) making the romance end tragically,I would totally read this story, and want you to call it sci fi.

    If you brush past the science of the story,and instead focus on her salvaging her love life with the patient,I would call this romance.

    If you ignore the science and morality,make the woman beautiful, feminine,and intelligent, make the male romantic interest , sophisticated, "understanding", and handsome before and after transplant (all the other males are dolts), and focus on her being-able-to-sleep-with-two-different-men-without-being-labeled-loose,then yes, I would call it women's fiction.

    In short, I think your story could fit many genres, but its the fine points that matter,and only you know those.
     
  22. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    This would be more romance than Women's Fiction.
     
  23. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Write the story. Don't worry what genres it falls under until you are deciding what agents or publishers to submit to.
     
  24. mammamaia
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    as summarized, i'd classify it as 'romance' only, since that's the main focus of the story... the 'new body' bit doesn't change that...

    and do what cog says!
     
  25. jannert
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    It's all very subjective, isn't it? I just got out my copy of the Writer's Digest Complete Handbook of Novel Writing and it says this (paraphrased): A romance is present in every book that has a man and a woman falling in love, but a story is only a Romance if the main theme of that book is romance. If the main theme of a story is a man and woman falling in love with each other while they flee the Mafia, then it's probably a Thriller. If the man and woman fight each other as they try to flee the Mafia, it's probably a Romance!

    It made me chuckle, but I guess that made the point!
     

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