Wednesday, December 22, 2010

HELP! What Genre?

I can pick up any number of books from my bookshelf and instantly categorize the genre, but there are some that span several. I get to wondering, how did these authors pitch their work to agents? Under which genre did they categorize their work?

How the heck do I categorize MY work?

Can a novel be YA, Romance, Paranormal and Urban Fantasy at the same time? Sure. But you wouldn't want to turn off a potential agent by simply listing all. When you have to pick ONE genre, how do you pick?

I took this little quiz here (link to Timothy fish . net)

Uh. Unhelpful.

The Genre Wizard said my novel is 'Middle Grade Fantasy'.

My novel is standing at 100K words (but currently being edited ruthlessly). My protag is a twenty year old college student. There are issues of mental illness. Narcotics are discussed, there are (non-steamy) emotional love scenes... While perhaps a tween would enjoy, my guess is not.

So, back to the start. Can you help me?

Here is my (ever changing) extended logline slash synopsis:

Plagued by a lifetime of Déjà vu, hallucinations and fantastic dreams, twenty year old Lilly Young is determined to prove she’s not mentally ill. Eager to unlock the secrets in her mind and the identity of Lewis Hunter whose hauntingly familiar voice lives only inside her head and her heart, Lilly insists on undergoing hypnotherapy and discovers she does indeed have a mysterious past – several, in fact. Lilly learns she has been reincarnated – over and over – and in every instance, she dies on her twenty-first birthday.

Lilly has two choices: she must either come to terms with the endless cycle or find a way to break it – a feat that seems impossible, given the history and the fact that Lewis has been trying endlessly to do just that. But now Lilly faces another immortal – a vampire – whose specific mission could finally end the cycle for Lilly, but at what cost?

As her birthday is upon her once again, Lilly must decide if she will die and be reborn again, or if she will draw on the power of her past, her will to keep living and her desperate yearning for long lost love to overcome another ‘Reset’ and risk losing Lewis forever.

What the heck genre is my novel?
If you can help me, let me know!

Some links that may help: The Genre Hurdle and the Genre Table by Linda Rohrbough


  1. my vote goes to paranormal, possibly even paranormal romance since you hint at Lilly's romantic involvement with Lewis. the vampire (obviously, haha), the reincarnation, and the overall tone make me think paranormal, even if you have an "urban" setting. (anne rice's vampire chronicles novels are set in present-day New Orleans, and those still get the paranormal sticker.) you're playing with elements that are above the normalcy of everyday life, which is sorta kinda vaguely what paranormal's all about.

    and i'm not even sure i'd go the YA route since Lilly's 20 years old.

    so there's my two cents. paranormal romance. i hope that helped!

  2. Whew, Thanks! I was stumbling over the YA thing... Lilly's "voice" is young, but typical for a twenty year old with some manners ;) The love story IS the main element, but doesn't adult Romance typically have some steamy love/sex scenes? This does not have any 'graphic' love scenes, only really emotional ones... I wish the category "New Adult" would take off!

  3. Hey, Roberta--

    Adult romance can be anything from sweet'n'clean Christian or inspirational to flat-out porn. You write your book the way you want them to be, then go checking to see which lines it fits best. There are even sub-genres such as time-travel or SF romance. I'd go with paranormal romance for yours, too. If there's such a genre as paranormal suspense, yours might fit in there, too. I mean, she's running out of time to solve this very scary problem--so, suspense.

    BTW: Happy New Year! Keep us posted.

  4. Don't sweat it too much. It sounds very much like paranormal romance, which is an allied genre of urban fantasy, so there's no stretch there. As for the reading level (MG, YA, or adult), that's really a matter of who you're writing it for. If your target audience is young adults and this is informing your word choice and voice, then there's nothing wrong or complicated with YA Paranormal Romance with an urban fantasy feel. That's not a mouthful. It's perfectly fine! :)