Genre Woes

Hi guys,

Sorry for the long break between real entries, but my husband and I have both been sick with some violent, horrific post-nasal drip/cough/overall lousy feeling thing since BEFORE our trip to New York City, and we’ve just started recuperating over the past day or so. If this is what the common cold is morphing into, dear God.

Anyway, today’s entry is going to be a big ol’ rant about GENRE. I’m in the unfortunate situation of writing a series that doesn’t comfortably fit into any one category. Although several of my characters enter the story as minors, my style of writing is not YA. It’s just not.Β  And although I know that modern YA stories address difficult topics like drug use and eating disorders and abuse etc. etc., I am positive that my scenes and situations are too graphic to be permissible. Besides, YA just isn’t my thing. I’ve only ever read a few novels in said genre and. . .I don’t know, I find them unfulfilling.

Then I heard about a “New Adult” category, and was intrigued. It sounded like a good match, sounded like my combination of young characters but adult-ish writing could perhaps fit in here. . .until I started reading more about it and found that 1) it’s usually reserved for romance novels and 2) it’s just not a very popular genre. Although I don’t intend to enter PitchWars in this go around, I’ve been following the hashtag and taking part on social media, and the number of mentors and agents who are interested in NA is very, very small. So although this sounded like an answer to my problems, ultimately, it’s not.

Now, as for straight up Adult, I am aware that there have been novels in this genre that take place from the POV of a child or teen, but the writing style is what keeps it in said category. Room is the one that immediately comes to mind. This would probably be my ideal, because my characters do deal with issues and situations that aren’t necessarily specific to their age group, but I feel like any reader or any agent who sees my story is meant to be Adult but starts reading about middle or high school students is gonna be like “wtf, no.”

My style is not fancy enough to be Literary, and I have no idea where it would land in the Commercial/Mainstream/Etc. realms. The best description I’ve ever been able to muster up for my series is “realistic, coming-of-age fiction.” But then my other huge stumbling block is that this IS a series and it HAS multiple POV, and I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve read that unless you’re in Fantasy, these things “just don’t work.”

Says who?

I guess my own reading habits are partly to blame. I freaking LOVE huge, epic novels. I’ve read almost everything by Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. I’m reading Les Miserables for the second time. I’m probably the only kid in 10th grade who LIKED reading James Michener’s Centennial. Therefore, if someone told me about a series following several people over the course of ~30 years and how their lives combine and clash and interact, my reaction would be HELL YES. I don’t need fantasy elementsΒ  to hold my interest – fiction based on people and scenarios that could exist in real life is JUST as fascinating.

I can’t be the only person who feels this way.

I’m not giving up my series. I’m going to keep editing book one, and I am going to do a shit ton of research and work before I start querying. I know I’m going to get rejected 45,000 times. But I love these characters and I love this story. I know there is something WORTHWHILE here. If worse comes to worse, I’ll take the plunge into self-publishing someday, but this has been with me for over twenty years– I’m not giving up on it that easily.

Okay, rant over. Thanks for reading. And with that, time to go for a walk in the billion degree Boston heat.

 

 

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