1. Timejockey
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    Timejockey New Member

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    Humor What genre is my book?

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by Timejockey, Aug 25, 2016.

    Hello all,
    I'm new here and currently working on a first draft of a novel, and I'm having some trouble figuring out exactly what genre to classify it as.
    The first book I wrote was science fiction, so I had no issues with that. This current novel mixes elements of horror with humor, but I'm just not sure what to call it. It has some chapters that there is strong humor and even some absurdity, while others are much more dramatic, serious, or scary. While I'm a long way from sending it out into the literary world, I would feel better knowing what to classify it as.
    Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Cheers,
    Mike
     
  2. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd send you over to the Writing Excuses website so you can listen to the Elemental Genres podcasts they've been producing this year, but the site has been acting up lately. :supermad:

    You can combine humor/absurdity and horror, no question. But each genre comes with certain expectations and tropes (which it's too late for me to remember and write out now :supersleepy:), and you'll have to decide which genre's themes you want ultimately to predominate. What feeling do you want your readers left with at the end?

    PS: Welcome to the forums, and if you haven't done so already, I suggest you ramble down to the "New Here? Read This" page (scroll down to the link at the bottom of the page). It has a lot of helpful information.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2016
  3. Timejockey
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    Timejockey New Member

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    I guess ultimately my question is does a book have to be funny all the time to qualify as "humor" in terms of genre. I know in television the term "dramedy" gets tossed about, but I was thinking in terms of writing a query letter for this down the road.
    Basically I'm debating if this book would be a horror book with humorous elements, a horror comedy, or a humor book with horror elements.
     
  4. HistoricalScience
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    HistoricalScience Active Member

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    Dark comedy perhaps? As Catrin Lewis said, what exactly are you trying to accomplish with your story? I add a lot of humor into my stories just because that's the kind of person I am but I would never label them as comedies. Where in the bookstore would you want your book to be placed/think it would reach the best audience?
     
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  5. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    A Lee Martinez mixes elements of horror with humour (and sometimes science fiction with humour) and he's considered a fantasy and science fiction author.

    Terry Practchett mixes fantasy and humour and his work is described as, "fantasy novels, especially comical works."

    John Scalzi writes humorous science fiction, but what he writes is most often called 'science fiction.'

    Also, Scalzi's work often starts with a tongue-in-cheek premise (like Old Man's War) while the actual execution is very much matter of fact or comes across as if he's telling the story with a smirk on his face. Other times, the tongue-in-cheek-ness invades the prose a little deeper as it does in Red Shirts, but not to the point where there's a funny situation on every page.

    I face the same dilemma you do, how to label my work once I'm ready to submit. I combine science fiction with humour and borrow from the horror genre to round out the structure of a story. If you can imagine a comical version of Alien or Aliens, that'd be what I do... more or less.

    The conclusion I came to was that I'd call it tongue-in-cheek science fiction which may be wrong, but it's the best I can come up with. I don't wanna label it as comedy because it's got a serious side, too.

    But other authors, such as those I've cited above, are known for writing science fiction comedy or horror comedy or fantasy comedy even though their books are all found in the science fiction/fantasy section in Canadian bookstores. (But I won't digress into talking about what a fiasco this combining is.)

    I'd be very interested in hearing what conclusions you come to.
     
  6. Sokoya
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    Sokoya New Member

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    While I'm far from an expert on the subject, my advice would be to classify the book as whatever genre you want it to be judged by. I know that's vague, sorry.

    Each genre has its own expectations, and your book will be judged against both these and other books within the genre. To give a basic example, if you classify it as horror you'll be judged on how much suspense and tension you can build (and how scary it is, obviously). However, if someone reading is expecting a horror story, but find that only certain chapters could count as such, and that these are broken up by absurd comedy, it may break their immersion and put them off. Similarly, if you classify your book as a comedy, then it needs to be very funny, and regularly so. Otherwise people will feel like it doesn't live up to their expectations, and nothing kills comedy like disappointment.

    It might be safer to pick a broader genre, something like sci-fi, fantasy, or even just adventure (depending on the setting of your book, of course). This way the elements of comedy or horror can be seen as bonuses that enhance the book, rather than what it lives or dies by.
     
  7. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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  8. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    Are you sure you book has cohesion? Trying to picture all that together sounds like it might be a mess. Obviously, I haven't read your book, but it sounds like you might have some more work to do before you try and figure out the genre.
     
  9. Malisky
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    Malisky Fuzz Overdriver Contributor

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    I think that it is horror. If you see it getting heavy and dramatic, horror most def. Humoristic instances and happy-go-lucky characters that end up dramatically squashed or traumatized, do not cover comedy. If the narration style is serious, then it is horror.
     

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