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Thread: How would you categorize this book?

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW Lavinia's Avatar
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    How would you categorize this book?

    Hi. I'm just wondering what genre my current WIP is. I'd love to know what you think.

    Drawing Me Home: a Soldier's Story of Redemption and the Healing Power of Art is about a Seattle portrait artist. This man is a Vietnam Veteran who fought hard to get his life back after experiencing the trauma of war. But then he gave it all up to draw portraits of fallen soldiers. He's drawn more than 3,000 so far. I'm interviewing him for this book, so it's nonfiction, of course. It will include the story surrounding 8-10 of his portraits - lots of miracles and amazing things happen due to these drawings. I'd like it to read like a novel. It will cover his life from early childhood until now.

    So what would the genre be? Narrative nonfiction? Creative nonfiction? Or something else? I just think it might help me get my head around the project. Thanks in advance! ~Karen


    Breaking the Code: a Father's Secret, a Daughter's Journey, and the Question That Changed Everything (Sourcebooks 2011), http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Code-Daughters-Question-Everything
    Website: http://www.storymatters2.com
    NPR interview: http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPl...71&m=142072750

  2. #2
    Swan in Process Siri Kirpal's Avatar
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    Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

    Biography would be my choice.

    Blessings,

    Siri Kirpal
    "The only freedom any of us ever has is the freedom to choose how we will not be free."

  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW Lavinia's Avatar
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    Darn. I didn't want to call it Biography. Why? Because that's not where I want it in a bookstore. And where it sits in a bookstore is so important. But the audience for this book is not the people who search the Biography section for their next good read. Anyway, just a few thoughts from my brain. LOL Thank you for the response! ~Karen


    Breaking the Code: a Father's Secret, a Daughter's Journey, and the Question That Changed Everything (Sourcebooks 2011), http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Code-Daughters-Question-Everything
    Website: http://www.storymatters2.com
    NPR interview: http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPl...71&m=142072750

  4. #4
    Just the facts, please
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    I could also see it shelved in the War / Military / History sections of larger bookstores. I would imagine that it would depend on how much of the book is the veteran's story and how much is the stories of the fallen soldiers he paints.

    Narrative nonfiction and creative nonfiction really aren't ways by which to sort or categorize books. You don't wake up in the morning and say "I want to read a good narrative nonfiction book today!" You want to read a good story about X, Y or Z.

    What do you see as the audience? Veterans? Art therapists? People with PTSD from contemporary wars?

  5. #5
    figuring it all out Lia_joy's Avatar
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    I'd picture it in the art section, but maybe that's just me being drawn in to that aspect of the story?
    Lia Joy Rundle
    Typing one-handed with a baby on my lap. Please forgive typos and the hurried nature of my posts!
    Self Directed Woman -- Self Directed Childbirth

  6. #6
    Swan in Process Siri Kirpal's Avatar
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    Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

    Then my next vote would be for creative non-fiction/art.

    Blessings,

    Siri Kirpal
    "The only freedom any of us ever has is the freedom to choose how we will not be free."

  7. #7
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I would expect to see it under art/contemporary or history/war.

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW Lavinia's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the responses. The people who read this book would be people who enjoyed Laura Hillenbrand's, Unbroken. Both men and women, anyone touched by war would be interested in it. Actually, believe it or not - I hadn't even considered the art aspect, but yes, there is that too. It's a human interest story. There is a spiritual aspect, but like my current memoir, I do not want it marketed that way. I want regular everyday people to read it, not just those who shop at Christian bookstores. I would think that Vietnam Veterans in particular would like to read this book, since it's about their "brother" who found healing in a unique way. And God knows, nobody goes through war unscathed. So, does that answer the question? That was just off the top of my head.

    As for genre, you are right about people looking for a particular subject, rather than genre.

    Anyway, thanks for the input. ~Karen


    Breaking the Code: a Father's Secret, a Daughter's Journey, and the Question That Changed Everything (Sourcebooks 2011), http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Code-Daughters-Question-Everything
    Website: http://www.storymatters2.com
    NPR interview: http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPl...71&m=142072750

  9. #9
    Swan in Process Siri Kirpal's Avatar
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    Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

    You hadn't considered art? Then why is "Drawing" the first word in the title, and "Art" the last?

    Also, just for the record, not all spiritual books are Christian. Says someone who knows.

    Blessings,

    Siri Kirpal
    "The only freedom any of us ever has is the freedom to choose how we will not be free."

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW Lavinia's Avatar
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    I can't explain why I didn't think of it being with the art books. But it's an interesting thought. As you might have guessed, the word "drawing" in the title has a double meaning. The reader can guess the first, which relates to the art. The other they will have to read the book to understand.

    Believe me, I know that not all spiritual books are not Christian. The main character of the book is Christian, which is why I used that reference.

    Genre is a tricky thing. Where a book is on the bookshelf can make or break it. For example, my memoir is about my father, a WWII veteran. But if it had been put under history, it would have missed a large number of readers. Unfortunately, most bookstores have done away with a memoir section altogether, so you'll find them under biography. To me, it's not the same thing at all.

    Thanks for the thoughts, everyone. Very much appreciated!


    Breaking the Code: a Father's Secret, a Daughter's Journey, and the Question That Changed Everything (Sourcebooks 2011), http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Code-Daughters-Question-Everything
    Website: http://www.storymatters2.com
    NPR interview: http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPl...71&m=142072750

  11. #11
    On to the next one. Sunnyside's Avatar
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    I might be willing to call it narrative nonfiction, though if you're comparing it to UNBROKEN, that one generally (though not always) gets filed under biography.

    Alas, most bookstores don't have a "narrative nonfiction" section; it might be filed under art or history (or even "War" in some places). Just a thought.
    Brian
    www.brianjayjones.com



    Washington Irving (Arcade, 2008)
    Jim Henson: The Biography (Ballantine, 2013)

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