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Thread: Need second opinion on genre.

  1. #1
    Life isn't all beer and skittles. lemonhead's Avatar
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    Need second opinion on genre.

    Ohhkaayy.

    I've got this little book thing. And I found this genre label...country noir.
    I'm pretty sure this describes my book pretty well. Well. My book is more like country not-quite-noir.

    But, I have two concerns about putting this as the genre.
    1. This genre is so specific, it consists of about five prolific writers. I don't want an agent expecting the next Flannery o connor or something.

    2. The book is NOT straight up country noir, as most of the plot hinges on a romance. And it kind of ends more urban crime. Romance could apply (but its NOT romantic suspense...read those and definitely doesn't fit beside them). Urban crime could apply, but only because it ends dealing with drug crime in west Baltimore. So I'm worried an otherwise interested agent might pass it but because they are thinking country noir on the rocks, not mixed up nice and commercial. It's written more literay fiction, but I'm just not so much in love with words and wandering enough for it to be lit fic.

    So should I just stick with country noir? Or wimp out with a commercial fiction or similar label?

    Here's my working "query" to help.

    RACKED & RUINED [country not-quite-noir]:

    Bekah had five years worth of federal time stuffed up in her wheel well and her arms around his neck when the man said he was cop.

    At twenty-two, she’s running dope with her uncles and wishing hard to get out. But Donny’s back from prison, and even though he says they’re good- that he doesn’t blame her–they aren’t and he does. Meanwhile, Jed’s cutting everything down to blood- people he knows how to hold accountable, and talking about a creepin’ sort of federal feeling. Bekah’s no fool, when Jed says that and tells her she has to do the dope runs upstate or else she’s out, he means Donny came home and demanded to know why she, the rat, was still breathing. She’d think of saying no, but beyond the desire to keep moving air into her lungs, her Mennonite farming family is relying heavy like on her lies and money for survival. Together, the shackles of money and blood are damn near unbreakable.

    When the cop she was never supposed to see again after the one weekend of rock climbing, steps up on her daddy’s porch looking to court her, she’s cornered. If he leaves without what he came for, Donny will kill her for sure. The only chance at keeping them both alive is to agree to the marriage and go to her uncles with a plan already hatched.

    But six feet of freedom might be the only freedom she has left, once she discovers her new husband is that federal shit prickling all them little hairs on the back of Jed’s neck.
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  2. #2
    I was only joking! Honest! mirandashell's Avatar
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    What the heck is country noir?
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  3. #3
    Stealing your twiglets. Anninyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mirandashell View Post
    What the heck is country noir?
    Seconded.

    What is the point in a genre if people don't know what it is?

    Besides, it's my understanding that you should narrow down your work too much when getting it out there - whether you're submitting or self-pubbing, you want as broad an appeal as possible, yes?

  4. #4
    Life isn't all beer and skittles. lemonhead's Avatar
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    Country noir is a term Daniel Woodrell essentially coined about his own work, and I've seen agents and reviewers use this to describe a specific subset of crime books which *best* describes the style and content of my book.

    But exactly. I don't want agents to read it, who aren't as familiar and pass it by because they go, WTF?

    But then the question is, what genre is it?
    There is no such thing as good writing, only good re-writing

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  5. #5
    a demon for tea EMaree's Avatar
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    Like everyone else, I hadn't heard of country noir, and I know a lot of obscure subgenres. I think you're better off with 'crime fiction' if you want to give your novel that slant.

    But crime isn't the focus of the novel, the people are, so I'd stick with commercial fiction (going by the query).

    Ugh, sorry, that's rubbish late-night wording. What I mean is: it doesn't fit what I'd expect from a crime fiction novel (keeping in mind I don't read much of it) so I would go for comm. fiction.
    Last edited by EMaree; 10-10-2012 at 03:33 AM.
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  6. #6
    Life isn't all beer and skittles. lemonhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMaree View Post
    Like everyone else, I hadn't heard of country noir, and I know a lot of obscure subgenres. I think you're better off with 'crime fiction' if you want to give your novel that slant.

    But crime isn't the focus of the novel, the people are, so I'd stick with commercial fiction (going by the query).

    Ugh, sorry, that's rubbish late-night wording. What I mean is: it doesn't fit what I'd expect from a crime fiction novel (keeping in mind I don't read much of it) so I would go for comm. fiction.
    Thank you, this helps!
    There is no such thing as good writing, only good re-writing

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  7. #7
    figuring it all out
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    Daniel Woodrell (born March 4, 1953) is an American writer of fiction. He has written eight novels, most of them set in the Missouri Ozarks.
    My guess:

    Country, because "most of them set in the Missouri Ozarks"
    Noir, because
    He has created novels based on crime, a style he termed "country noir", a phrase which has been adopted by commentators on his work.
    So, it would basically be crime fiction in a rural setting.

  8. #8
    figuring it all out Luprec's Avatar
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    I've never heard the term, but I like it. I found this:

    It's More Than Just Meth Labs and Single Wides: A Rural Noir Primer
    http://litreactor.com/columns/its-mo...al-noir-primer

  9. #9
    Knight Templar richcapo's Avatar
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    Crime fiction, I suppose. If it focuses on characters over plot, I suppose you could call it literary crime fiction.
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