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Thread: I don't know my story's genre.

  1. #1
    Everyone Must Pay Royale's Avatar
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    I don't know my story's genre.

    I want to submit my MS when it's done but I have no idea what genre it is.

    My plot is basically an alternate timeline from real life and the main plot is a mix of police and political characters.

    I had a google and alternate timeline fiction is generally under sci-fi according to wiki, which doesn't seem right.

    The only genre I can think to submit for is fantasy but I don't have dragons or magic or a medieval setting or any of the general fantasy stuff, same as for urban fantasy I don't actually have the fantasy elements.

    Help?

  2. #2
    Caped Codder jaksen's Avatar
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    Sounds like sci-fi to me.
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  3. #3
    Procrastinator idontknowwhatimdoing's Avatar
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    When you say alternate timeline, are the mechanics of the world the same as ours? Is history altered? Is there any basis in real-world history?

  4. #4
    Everyone Must Pay Royale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by idontknowwhatimdoing View Post
    When you say alternate timeline, are the mechanics of the world the same as ours? Is history altered? Is there any basis in real-world history?
    Yes, still the same things. Aliens, dragons, zombies etc didn't happen. I just destabilised a country in 1988 and fast forwarded a decade, then started my story there.

    So everything from 1988 onwards is my own timeline of economic collapse, feuds etc.

  5. #5
    The Crazy Man in the Sun. Feel me. WillSauger's Avatar
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    Doesn't sound SFF to me.

    What's the story about? What's the exact difference from our world?


    Sound more like crime fiction to me.
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  7. #7
    The King Who Bore the Sword J.W. Alden's Avatar
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    Sounds like Alternate History to me. Sometimes that's seen as a speculative sub-genre, but not always (depends on the elements of the story, me thinks). It's a wide enough genre that agents and editors would know what you're talking about if you listed that as your genre.
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  8. #8
    Everyone Must Pay Royale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.W. Alden View Post
    Sounds like Alternate History to me. Sometimes that's seen as a speculative sub-genre, but not always (depends on the elements of the story, me thinks). It's a wide enough genre that agents and editors would know what you're talking about if you listed that as your genre.
    Okay, so submissions wise. Which area do I submit for? There isn't a AF wing of agents awaiting manuscripts. Should I just submit to people asking for general fiction?

    Slightly at a loss.

    This feels like it's going to be a b***h to get an agent for.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Royale View Post
    This feels like it's going to be a b***h to get an agent for.
    Alt history is a tried, true and legit part of SF, such as Man in the High Castle

    Don't fret. Agents have no clue what they want until they've read it, passed on it -- and watched someone else sell it

    And to answer the question proper: any agent that lists "SF" without a major qualifier. There's a awesome sticky listing SF/F agents in the SF/F forums. Might give it a go.

    Nothings worse than not being flavor/genre of the week.

    Good luck

    *edited to add link to agents

  10. #10
    can totally spell Brobdinrgnagrian buzhidao's Avatar
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    Depending on other elements/tone/whatever or how it's written, etc, couldn't it be mainstream or literary, rather than narrowing it down further...?

    I dunno. Hard to tell from a quick description. But I have seen descriptions on agent sites that, in listing what they represent, get as general as "commercial fiction" or "literary fiction," if you feel your book does not have significant SFF/other genre elements.

    Quote Originally Posted by Johncs View Post
    Don't fret. Agents have no clue what they want until they've read it, passed on it -- and watched someone else sell it
    Or, you know, they just don't represent that genre.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzhidao View Post
    Or, you know, they just don't represent that genre.
    Or, you know, they're a real estate agent. Or secret agent. Or a double secret agent.

    The Mainstream That Through the Ghetto Flows An Interview with Philip K. Dick


    There's a bit halfway in or so where he talks about having to sit on two stools (SF and mainstream), and how a book might be seen different ways.

  12. #12
    Hopeful romantic/hopeless pedant ARoyce's Avatar
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    I agree with using "alternate history" in your query to identify the genre.

    Agents? Again, I agree about starting with agents who accept sci-fi/fantasy. But I also think you could target agents who represent contemporary fiction or fiction in general. (It's not before 1900...or before WWII, which are frequently used as cut-offs for historical adult fiction. YA "historical" can be more recent.)

    It won't hurt you to query agents who represent contemporary, as long as your're clear in your query that the novel does alternate history.

    And buzhidao is right that, perhaps based on how it is written, it could be literary, in which case you could also query agents looking for literary fiction.

    Really, I think that, as long as you aren't querying agents whose interests are wildly outside of your writing (such as agents who only represent non-fiction or mainly represent romance or thrillers, etc.), you're fine. The worst they can do is say no.
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  13. #13
    bushed Bushrat's Avatar
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    Sounds like a dystopia to me.

  14. #14
    My sarcasm got the better of me. Midian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushrat View Post
    Sounds like a dystopia to me.
    This. Call it Dystopian or Spec. Fic. and you'll be fine.
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  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin WriterJane's Avatar
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    I agree that it's an alternate history novel. For whatever it's worth, people looking for alternate history in libraries or bookstores often look in the science fiction section. Agents that represent science fiction & fantasy authors are probably a good bet.

    Sounds like an interesting book!

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