When you don’t normally write genre fiction, it can be difficult to talk to non-writer people about your work.
I love the classics, and have always worked hard to create modern classics of my own. You could call them Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, or just Fiction…but you wouldn’t call them genre fiction, as a general rule.
I guess my answers to questions about this stuff have ranged from inarticulate to downright surly.
Non-Writer Person: What’s your book about?
Me: It’s about 150 pages so far.
Non-Writer Person: What genre is it?
Me: I don’t know, the Awesome Genre, I guess.
I know, that doesn’t go over well, does it?
But What Genre Is It, Really?
My work in progress, Whizzers, is a case in point. When I started it, I’d never read, much less written, anything like it.
How do you define a novel about a guy who finds out that his six-year-old cousin converses with famous dead people, and hangs around with a golden-robed being known as The Coordinator? Throw in a wizard, and you’ve got a genre, right?
But what genre is it, really?
Defining The Indefinable
It’s probably less important to define something before you finish it. But once it’s done, the challenge becomes how to categorize it. In this day and age of sub-categories within sub-categories, it’s important to meet or even exceed readers’ expectations.
I always aim to exceed them, of course, which means I have to use extra caution when I finally put Whizzers out into the world. Readers of the Fantasy genre might be disappointed by a book that’s only 42K words, and has a heavy emphasis on the real world. Those who dabble in the Paranormal genre might be looking for something a little more on the scary side.
Like everything I do, however, there’s one thing that’s consistent even in my first toe into the genre waters. The themes of redemption, of comforting those who need to be comforted, and of spiritual awakening are always present in some fashion. That seems to be my wheelhouse, for better or worse.
Whizzers isn’t really a work in progress at this point, either. It’s in editing, and the story is finished. But when it launches into the world, I’m going to make sure my new baby gets into the hands of people who will like it. And that means I’m still learning, just like we all are.