Friday, September 4, 2015

This Never Happens to Me ... Genre Question!

Being an author of historical fiction, I often breathe a sigh of relief when other authors must decide on the genre of a given piece.

For my non(professional)-writer readers, you would be absolutely astounded at how difficult this can be. For one, category and genre are often confused - "YA" (young adult) is not a genre, but it often manages to pass for one, right or not. For two, where does one draw the line between historical and time travel, when sci-fi is not the point nor even much featured in a story? Or between dystopian and science fiction? Literary and coming-of-age, women's fiction or commercial ... the difficulties are confounding, and I am frequently relieved my own work sits pretty clearly in its place.

Today, though ... I have issues! But it's kind of fun.

In contemplating submitting a first page for my upcoming conference, I'm looking pretty hard at a certain ghost story I've been toying with for a couple of years almost.

Is "ghost story" an acceptable genre choice? Should it be sci-fi (though there is no science whatever, only fiction)? It has a sensual strain running through it, but it is NOT erotica by a long shot. There is romantic tension, but no way is this thing a romance - to me, it actually is, but in marketing terms, what I've written would not be understandably shelved with what publishing calls "romance".

I'm looking at one of my Reider pals in particular and a certain deliciously intemperate friend of mine, who have read the thing themselves, but would love feedback from anyone.

Where should I "shelve" an eerie and slow-building ghost story in the vein of Chinese fox legends?

What genre would you suggest?


Colin Smith said...

Supernatural Realism? Spectral Fantasy? There are so many genre distinctions out there, why not make up one of your own that perfectly describes where the story fits! ;)

I know, I'm being naughty. Sort of. :)

DLM said...

Actually, my intemperate friend also suggested supernatural; that probably fits. Certainly REALISM doesn't!!! Colin, whatever were you thinking? I'd hate this to be reality ... :)