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LJackson
05-16-2015, 09:15 PM
Hi, I took a long break from AW to focus on my project, and just life itself - work, other passions, etc. Went to a writer's conference, pitched to two agent/publisher. One asked for a full and the other partial. So since my query has resulted in decent result, I thought I should start casting wider net, and begin the dreaded query process. And this is where I'm stuck, how to pick my novel, as genre - or not.

At Nathan Bransford's blog (here (http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2007/02/what-makes-literary-fiction-literary.html)), he said, and I quote, "...So the plot in a genre novel usually involves things happening -- action sequences, love sequences, chases, shootouts.... In literary fiction the plot usually happens beneath the surface, in the minds and hearts of the characters."

He also said, "...the hybrid genre of commercial literary fiction. These novels tend to be told with more straightforward prose and are accessible, but they have a deeper emotional complexity. They fuse the out-in-the-world plotting of genre fiction with the in-the-mind plotting of literary fiction. The novels have traditional climaxes that also resolve the inner battles of their characters."

My question is, my book is plot heavy, but also has a lot of in-the-mind plotting of the main female character. Consider this: a college girl met a handsome stranger. She loathed him, but was also irrevocably attracted to him. At the same time, alarm bells went off in her for his "otherwordliness" (is this a word?). The plot then turns to dark side when she discovers that he is from the underworld, followed by internal struggles in her own feelings and resolution. Her resolution then induce more adventures (chase, fight, etc), interspersed with more internal struggles/resolutions.

So far, I've been pitching my book as a love story with fantasy and mystery elements. Reading the above blog makes me wonder whether I've been going to the wrong way. Perhaps it's a hybrid? Say, if it is indeed a hybrid, should I pitch to agents that are interested in genre novels, or the literary novels?

Help please???

Cassiopeia
05-16-2015, 09:40 PM
"otherwordliness" (is this a word?). Is it "other worldliness"? Meaning senses he's from another world, then I think it is. I'd like to know more about this too. Thanks for posting the question. I have a WIP that I thought was more of a romance genre but it's heavy in mystery/suspense and I'd like to know how the best way to pitch a cross-genre work. :)

Aggy B.
05-16-2015, 10:10 PM
Sounds to me like a paranormal romance or urban fantasy.

You could also call it Contemporary Fantasy (which is a broader umbrella). It definitely sounds like like genre fiction to me, but you might be able to query it as commercial fiction* (which includes genre fiction with the potential to appeal to a broader readership than a single genre). I would not query it as a "hybrid". It's okay to classify genre as something like "Mystery with Paranormal Romance elements" or "Contemporary Fantasy with Thriller elements", if you can't narrow it down to a single genre, but I think using the term hybrid will make agents look at you funny.

*Technically all fiction that is intended for publication and sales to a larger readership is commercial fiction, but some folks try and separate it from genre fiction. But a book that is somewhat cross-genre in a way that appeals to more readers rather than fewer can safely be queried to agents who rep commercial fiction. (I would decide on a genre though for the query.)

Thedrellum
05-16-2015, 10:18 PM
Sounds to me like you'd pitch it as contemporary fantasy, unless the romance is central in which case you're dealing with a romance subgenre. I don't know those well enough to give you a concrete answer, though.


So far, I've been pitching my book as a love story with fantasy and mystery elements. Reading the above blog makes me wonder whether I've been going to the wrong way. Perhaps it's a hybrid? Say, if it is indeed a hybrid, should I pitch to agents that are interested in genre novels, or the literary novels?

This makes me think that you're not dealing with Romance, per se, so you'd target agents who are interested in genre. Those agents who are interested in literary/genre crossovers (David Mitchell) usually say that, in my experience, and are probably interested in straight-up genre as well. Either way, researching the specific agent should give you an idea of the range of their interests--and if fantasy is one of them, I'd put that agent on your list.

ETA: Cross-posted, so what Aggy B. said.

Old Hack
05-16-2015, 11:22 PM
We can't tell if what genre it is without reading it but if I were you, I'd query everyone I think it might fit. The worst that can happen is they say no.

This doesn't mean query everyone: that's never a good idea. Just query all the agents who interest you who express an interest in the genres you think it fits into.

paddismac
05-17-2015, 12:49 AM
Just be very careful that you don't throw too many genre descriptives at it (in the same query). I understand that can be an auto-reject for many agents. It gives the impression that you either don't know what you're writing, or don't understand your market.

Good luck in your search! Researching agents is exhausting!

LJackson
05-17-2015, 03:09 AM
Hi, guys, thank you for the suggestion. Contemporary fiction sounds about right. Since it is central around romance, can I call it Contemporary Romance with Fantasy element? Is it too much?

Aggy B.
05-17-2015, 03:16 AM
Be aware that Romance has very specific expectations as far as the resolution of the plot. The big key being that the protagonist and love interest wind up together at the end of the book and in a "happy for now" or "happy ever after" conclusion.

(I only mention this because romance elements in a plot and being a Romance are not always the same thing.)

Aggy, writes quite a lot of the former

LJackson
05-17-2015, 03:21 AM
Yes, Aggy. The protagonists go to some very dark places before the end, but yes, happy ever after at the end. :)

Cathy C
05-17-2015, 03:35 AM
If the hero is actually from the underworld and there is a very real place that is an underworld--being not in the here and now, then you're in the paranormal realm of romance. If the underworld reality plays a part in the plot or resolution of the romance, it's paranormal. No contemporary about it and really no fantasy. The only real separation between paranormal romance and urban fantasy is how dark and violent is it, and do the paranormal elements clash with reality. Urban fantasy is also usually a series or has series potential with the same or similar cast of characters. Don't fear the paranormal label. Come to the dark side... :)

Roxxsmom
05-17-2015, 03:59 AM
Sounds like it could be paranormal romance to me, if there's a happily ever after. If not, maybe just paranormal?

gingerwoman
05-17-2015, 02:40 PM
It sounds like it could be paranormal romance, or it could be paranormal with romantic elements, or possibly urban fantasy if the romance is not strong enough, or does not conform to the expectations of romance. If it's commercial literary fiction then magic realism is a type of commercial literary fiction that is rather popular, and that your book might fit into.

If you feel that it is commercial literary fiction that maybe you should read up on magic realism and see if it fits. I've seen agents asking for magic realism lately because of a few recent break out novels.

As Old Hack said, we can't really tell without reading it.

TerryRodgers
05-17-2015, 04:06 PM
I agree with the later posts in it sounds like paranormal romance. The best way to figure out the genre is to compare it to other similar novels? When you think about your novel what does it remind you of?

LJackson
05-17-2015, 07:18 PM
If the hero is actually from the underworld and there is a very real place that is an underworld--being not in the here and now, then you're in the paranormal realm of romance. If the underworld reality plays a part in the plot or resolution of the romance, it's paranormal. No contemporary about it and really no fantasy. The only real separation between paranormal romance and urban fantasy is how dark and violent is it, and do the paranormal elements clash with reality. Urban fantasy is also usually a series or has series potential with the same or similar cast of characters. Don't fear the paranormal label. Come to the dark side... :)

Ah, thank you. Yes, the male protagonist IS from the underworld, and the premise of the book is that it coexist with this world, like two sides of the the same coin, coexist and interact, one cannot exist without the other, though undetected by people from this world.

The story follows her discovery of his identity (and her own,) the internal turmoil, the resolution, and all the dangers from it. It gets really dark in terms of the stakes of their souls, but not in the description of the violence. There are fight, chase, and monsters, but no vivid description of blood like you might see in Rambo movies.

I'm embarrassed to say that I rarely read paranormal. Twilight and Dracula is about it, and the moment I think of paranormal, I think of vampires and werewolves. Sound like I'm totally wrong?

If I were to compare my book to Twilight... Replace vampires and werewolves with underworld, add more internal turmoils of a strong willed and intelligent female protagonist, as well as those of the male protagonist, and put the readership to be about NA/Adult, then you have my book.

Could someone suggest a few good paranormal romance or magic realism so I can check them out?

JJ Litke
05-17-2015, 09:52 PM
I don't read much PR, but the Kate Daniels series might be a good try. It's usually classified as urban fantasy—the romance isn't primary, certainly not in the first couple of books, anyway. It does have vampires and were-thingies, but it also has broader paranormal elements.

Somebody else can probably come up with some better suggestions.

LJackson
05-18-2015, 09:42 PM
Thank you, JJ. I will check it out.

crb.writer
06-09-2015, 07:06 PM
Could someone suggest a few good paranormal romance or magic realism so I can check them out?

I've taken a couple of plotting classes with Suzanne Johnson (Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series) who also writes as Susannah Sandlin (Penton Legacy paranormal romance series.) Both share similarities with the way you described your book. For magical realism, try The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marion Keyes.

Good luck!

Jamesaritchie
06-10-2015, 09:10 PM
Read books, not blogs. Bransford sometimes gets it wrong, just like everyone else. And he's far too formulaic in his definitions, whatever he's talking about. Find books like your own. See how they're classified. This will tell you far more than any blog, or any forum.