Question about genre

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  1. #1

    Question about genre

    Hi all

    I've just finished my first novel at the grand old age of 53 (better late than never!) but I'm not sure which genre (if any) it belong in.

    At the beginning of the book a serious assault sets off a train of events that eventually pits my hero against the villain in a bloody and violent last-man-standing finale.

    From the very first scene every main character knows who committed the assault, and why he did it, so my book isn't a mystery novel or a whodunnit. It's not a police procedural or a cosy Miss Marple type of story. It's not a horror story. I don't think it's sufficiently gory or shocking to be considered a thriller, though I hope there's plenty of tension. The setting it quite gritty and modern.

    There's plenty of tension (I hope), which hinges around what will happen to the villain, what lengths he will go to in order to escape justice, and if he will get his comeuppance.

    In genre terms, would this be categorised as a suspense crime novel?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

  2. #2
    Hi Pepys,
    I'm very pleased to meet you.
    Thriller is a very wide category, I'm sure your book belongs in it somewhere.
    Good luck
    BC

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Pepys View Post
    Hi all

    I've just finished my first novel at the grand old age of 53 (better late than never!) but I'm not sure which genre (if any) it belong in.

    At the beginning of the book a serious assault sets off a train of events that eventually pits my hero against the villain in a bloody and violent last-man-standing finale.

    From the very first scene every main character knows who committed the assault, and why he did it, so my book isn't a mystery novel or a whodunnit. It's not a police procedural or a cosy Miss Marple type of story. It's not a horror story. I don't think it's sufficiently gory or shocking to be considered a thriller, though I hope there's plenty of tension. The setting it quite gritty and modern.

    There's plenty of tension (I hope), which hinges around what will happen to the villain, what lengths he will go to in order to escape justice, and if he will get his comeuppance.

    In genre terms, would this be categorised as a suspense crime novel?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
    First of all, congratulations.

    This definitely sounds like a mainstream thriller.

    It could perhaps also be suspense, yes, although I am largely taking your word that it is sufficiently suspenseful. The word suspense is horribly overused these days, often more a placeholder than a real genre. Most horror, mystery, crime, etc books operate with suspense.

    Crime? Doubtful. When I think crime I tend to think of something that involves interaction with the strong arm of the law, with police officers (or similar) playing a prominent role either as protagonists or antagonists. A book containing crime does not necessarily equal a crime novel. If it did then Treasure Island would be a crime novel. That doesn't mean the genre is bound to its tropes or need be a procedural, but I get the sense your story is more about the conflict between these two characters, neither of whom is necessarily on the right side of the legal system. But I am just guessing, of course.

    It's important not to stress over genre too much. Plenty of books are hybrids, particularly really good ones. I am guessing you are thinking about this now because you are unsure of where to send your work if pursuing an agent, or how to classify it for the purposes of self publishing?

    If the former, the best thing to do is to consider what books you have read that yours would sit quite happily beside, then try to find out who represents those authors and start there. Most agents specialize in multiple genres so it doesn't matter too much. Just pick whatever genre least contradicts your story. Remember the agent and ultimately the publisher will have the most over how the thing is marketed anyway.

    If you are going the self-publishing route you will obviously be doing much of the marketing and product design, in which case this stuff bears thinking about more. but I would once again trust your gut and go with the genre that fits best or, more likely, the one that seems least silly. Thriller is the broadest, safest and among the most popular "genres" so I would start there but it's your call. Remember, nobody cares what genre a book is so long as it's good.

    Best of luck.
    "All good books have one thing in common - they are truer than if they had really happened."

    Ernest Hemingway



  4. #4
    Lucky is right; study the current market and see where your story fits in.
    It will be important regardless of which publishing route you take: agents and publishers typically have specific genres they are willing to review, and if your story is outside of that they will just delete it.

    Without knowing how the story flows, it could possibly be a crime drama, or action adventure genre...

    But these resources may help you figger out what you done wrote:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_writing_genres

    https://storygrid.com/genre-in-writing/

    https://www.janefriedman.com/genre/

    I actually follow Jane on twitter. She's an interesting writer.

  5. #5
    Thanks for your input, everyone
    I'm not seeking publication (either traditional or self-publication) but I'm curious where it would 'fit'. Friends ask me what type of novel it is and I'm not sure what to tell them...I think I might just tell them it's a modern thriller.

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