Genre? But I defy all genres; my story’s deeper than that!

Genre (sigh).

So, you’ve finished your novel.  What next?  This is the stage I find myself at, and it’s scary.  It’s scary for a few reasons: one; I now have to think about what comes next (next novel): two; I have the monstrous job of rewriting the thing that is supposedly finished: and three; I now have to try to get other people to read what I have written.

The last point is the scariest, because now something has to happen.  I have to start thinking about my novel and its relevant place in the real world.  That means I have to define its genre and the trouble with that is that up until now, I haven’t thought about the genre; like I said before, I just write what comes out.

Its one of the things I feel most unprepared for, and other writers I have spoken to feel the same, unless they are really into a particular genre.  People often ask me what I’m writing and I give those non-commital answers of, well its kind of… it sort of like… its a mix between…  And they are all dodging the subject of really categorizing my work.

I think it all comes down to the fact that my novel is my baby, and I am scared of it being mistreated by the big, wide world outside of my bedroom.  After all, if I call it something, it paints a specific image of what it is; but I’ve just spent all of those hours trying to make something different, something that will interest people.  Ah but if it’s too different, the world won’t accept it, comes the answer.

It’s all very confusing.  Is it a thriller, a literary thriller, a thriller with elements of crime and a literary undertone, a literary novel that emulates popular genres, a popular novel with ideas above its station, or is it just plain crap?  It wouldn’t be so bad if just getting the right person to turn the page didn’t depend on it.

So I’m off to try to work out how to categorize it: how about Trainspotting meets Fight Club meets anything by Murakami; what a menage a trois!  But what genre would that be?

Rob.

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7 Responses to Genre? But I defy all genres; my story’s deeper than that!

  1. adamarmour says:

    Defining your novel’s genre is a total bitch. For my novel (which is a mix of southern U.S. small town skullduggery and Japanese giant monster movies) I just made something up: “southern pulp sci-fi.” It’s not a thing, but then again, neither was my novel before I created it. Just do your best and people will read it regardless of the genre. Don’t sweat it.

  2. Pingback: Feeding Time and the genre-trap | Write!

  3. Jams N. Roses says:

    Nice article – I can relate to it.
    In fact I’ve got a guest post going up on ThrillerInk (no date as yet) which is pretty much what you’ve just been talking about.
    Apparently romance books are shifting a lot of units, so maybe just add a couple of hugs and kisses between your two main characters, stick it under that genre and see what happens 😉

  4. Pingback: Best Genre Treatment 1 | Barking up the Muse Tree

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