Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

What genre is my novel? (1 Viewer)

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I understand that it is important to have a genre to pitch your novel to agents and eventually to market it effectively. I have been drafting my story for about 11 months and have just been listening to my own inner voice while writing. Basically, I established the ‘genre’ by writing something that I personally would like to read. But now, I’m uncertain what to call it, so that agents can recognize where it might fit into a popular genre.

The story takes place in New York, and Vegas. The plot is based on true events of a white collar crime that took place in the financial industry, i.e. Wall Street, during 1999 to 2002. All of the corporations and characters are fictitious, but I have used actual timelines of the events and many of the characters are loosely based on real people. The protagonist is a financial journalist, and the POV is limited to her and two of her close friends. These three ladies are all connected to other people who get caught up in the crime inadvertently. So, none of the characters have ill intent. There’s only one sort of villainous character, but he’s not extremely evil, just misguided by greed.

The underlying theme of the story is how good people sometimes do bad things, without having malicious intent. There is a romantic element as well, as the protagonist has a steamy romance and falls in love. The motivation of the three ladies is explored, so it likely leans to a female readership. Also, one important aspect of the plot is that at the beginning of the story, someone gets arrested but you have to read to the end to find out who. And sort of like a cozy mystery, there are a number of potential candidates, so this creates some suspense.

Here is my conundrum. Whenever I read the synopsis of other novels in the various genres that are about crime, someone always gets murdered or killed. However, nobody dies in my story.

What genre do you think would be the best fit?
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Political thriller.

Posssibly. However, when I think of a political thriller, I think of politicians or those around them trying to gain power within a government. Although some of the resolution has to do with Washington politicians, the crime has to do mostly with the stockmarket and financial greed. The characters who get involved in the crime are all lawyers and accountants working in private sector corporations.

Thanks for your response! :)
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
That's what I thought too. A classic political thriller imo is the movie the Wolf of Wall Street. But it was labeled with other categories such as drama, crime thriller, comedy. It has to do with Wall Street. I haven't been looking for political thrillers when I read books.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
That's what I thought too. A classic political thriller imo is the movie the Wolf of Wall Street. But it was labeled with other categories such as drama, crime thriller, comedy. It has to do with Wall Street. I haven't been looking for political thrillers when I read books.

Wolf of Wall Street is a good comparison. But the characters in that movie are much darker.

I think I just struggle with the word "thriller". I googled it and it is described as: "Thriller novels devote most of their focus to creating suspense and dread." My story is much lighter. And there are other aspects of the story, like female relationships and romance. I thought about a psychological thriller, but again the description of these is dealing with people who are really off. My characters are very normal generally, other than they live in high society, and feel the natural pressures that those in the world of high finance feel. I want people to relate to these characters...all of them. So there is no really nefarious people, just misguided. Much like real life for most people.

Thanks for your input! :)
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Ok, so far, two people think it is a political thriller. Do others think so as well?
 

Sam

General
Patron
I surmise the difficulty you're having accepting that your story is a political thriller is rooted in a common misconception about the genre. Political thriller does not have to involve the type of politics people automatically assume it does, i.e. presidential politics. A political thriller is any thriller involving a political power struggle, whether that be at the highest echelons of government, or the lowly canards of the office.

You said one of your characters is motivated by greed. You haven't specified whether that's greed for money or greed for power. Either way, they're intrinsically linked. Greed for money is almost always accompanied by greed for power, insofar as a position of power typically entails more money.

If you would rather avoid pigeon-holing your novel into one specific category, you could simply call it a thriller. Technically, I write military thrillers, but when someone asks me, I tell them I write thrillers.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PiP

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I surmise the difficulty you're having accepting that your story is a political thriller is rooted in a common misconception about the genre. Political thriller does not have to involve the type of politics people automatically assume it does, i.e. presidential politics. A political thriller is any thriller involving a political power struggle, whether that be at the highest echelons of government, or the lowly canards of the office.

Exactly..."government". Crimes in government are public sector, i.e. politicians, military, CIA, FBI etc. Whereas crimes in the financial industry are private sector, i.e. corporations, and financial professionals such as executives, accountants, lawyers etc.

I researched political crimes and they all have a government component:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/10-of-the-best-political-thrillers-ever/

You said one of your characters is motivated by greed. You haven't specified whether that's greed for money or greed for power. Either way, they're intrinsically linked. Greed for money is almost always accompanied by greed for power, insofar as a position of power typically entails more money.

Good point! In this case it's greed for money. In my extensive experience working in government and the financial sector, I can confirm that greed for power and greed for money are not always linked. I have seen people in both sectors stay in lower paid positions because they have built a huge center of power that they crave. I have also seen people who are greedy, simply because they want to have a lavish lifestyle. Yes, I agree that to a certain degree that may be linked to wanting power, the power to convince others to do business with them, or to convince others to promote them. But then I guess as I write this, I am leaning towards your position, that they are usually somewhat linked.

Ultimately though, I do believe that there are many people, and perhaps not worthy of a 'thriller villain', who crave money because they want to buy things that make other people jealous. I think the knowledge of knowing others are jealous of you, can be a confirmation that you are doing well in life and making good decisions. This is what I have seen in many people.


If you would rather avoid pigeon-holing your novel into one specific category, you could simply call it a thriller. Technically, I write military thrillers, but when someone asks me, I tell them I write thrillers.

Ok, I could go along with that. Here's a definition of a thriller:

"In a thriller, the protagonist is suspended in an almost constant state of danger. These stories create suspense more because of their quick-pace than the building of plot. Unlike mystery, thrillers are not about solving a puzzle, but rather about the pressure of high-stakes scenarios."

https://www.authorlearningcenter.co...-topic/1946/genre-basics---suspense---article

I think that fits well, because my protagonist is not a 'Nancy Drew' type MC. She doesn't try to solve the mystery, like a detective, but rather gets caught up in it herself. However, her danger isn't life-threatening, only the fear of personal loss of reputation, and money. And she is not fully aware of it, which is meant to resemble real life. Let's face it...many of us are flying by the seat of our pants...lol!


*raises hand* That was my first thought when I read your synopsis, as well.

Thanks for your response, please see my comments above re. the "political" aspect.

Still, I have to emphasize that I am finding it hard to find best sellers about crime that do not include a death of some sort or a very egregious villain or plot.

There are however, a number of blockbuster movies that have similar plots. They are described as "drama/crimes". For example, Wall Street with MCs, Bud Fox an agressive young stockbroker and Gordon Gecko the greedy boss.

There is also a TV show that is very similar to the style and intent of my story. It's called, Halt and Catch Fire, and it portrays the Dotcom bubble of the eighties.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halt_and_Catch_Fire_(TV_series)

They refer to it as a "period drama". It wasn't based on a book unfortunatley, because there would be my answer. But do you think that the book version would be described as a thriller? Or maybe a financial thriller. What do you think?
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator

Hey...I am really stoked about this! I researched some of the books referenced in the article that Lucky posted. I looked into who the agents were and what genres and specialties they listed on their websites. I found something called "Upmarket women's fiction. I googled it:

"Upmarket fiction is a subgenre of fiction books that incorporates elements of page-turning mainstream fiction, while still showcasing the more nuanced prose and complex character development more often found in literary fiction. Upmarket is that crossover between literary and commercial fiction. It's also been defined as book club fiction and a lot of women's fiction is considered upmarket. The writing in upmarket fiction has a style that's more literary-leaning. The hook or plotting is more commercial."

https://www.google.com/search?q=upma...hrome&ie=UTF-8

As an avid book club member, I knew there was a market here! Another article suggested you can combine the term with a genre. So I would set my sights on an Upmarket women's corporate thriller.

I know it's a lofty goal...and I'm sure some of you more experienced people are chuckling at me right now...lol! However, I've never been known to shy away from reaching for the stars. I don't always get there...but I sure have fun trying.
TVrC6hZ0Z8bwieHvEK9Ov7coHEDxPHLntuloyi_N4gRuR4hj8FUrOiFBVpMqvxk-vVRrKqfT5vVkMIGGrT3NXhg-gT_j3YKDomyUw3RqYVv4vN75X0W1fIKDj4L4b38DmKCOX1mk


That being said:

Has anyone read anything that they think would meet the "Upmarket women's fiction" description?

What do you think are the important elements to fit into the genre/specialty?

 
Last edited:

luckyscars

WF Veterans
Has anyone read anything that they think would meet the "Upmarket women's fiction" description?

What do you think are the important elements to fit into the genre/specialty?


A lot of mainstream bestsellers these days can be described as 'upmarket women's fiction'. While both genders read at roughly similar rates (73/75% for men/women respectively) women tend to read more books than men generally. A 2018 survey showed that 11 percent of U.S. women read 31 or more books that year, compared to five percent of male respondents. Rather like how there are many more clothing stores targeted toward women than men, the market follows purchasing power.

Additionally, men tend to gravitate toward more niche genres such as science-fiction, horror, fantasy (it has changed a lot, but these genres are all still skewed slightly towards male readership) which means that those five percent of male readers tend to be rather more disparate. Women tend not to read things like comic books, for instance, so 'women's fiction' is a much easier concept to pin down.

In terms of titles, I'm sure there is lots of disagreement as far as what covers 'women's fiction', but I would consider it upmarket fiction (which is literary fiction with mass-market, mainstream appeal) addressing issues that are either unique to women readers or popular with them. Family/domestic drama is a common subject, stories that highlight sexuality and relationships but primarily from a female perspective. Women-in-crisis. Trauma involving a female character. Workplace politics, sure. Romance that isn't trash. Anything that passes the Bechdel Test

I suppose 'feminism' is a somewhat volatile label these days, but I have yet to read a half-decent book by a female author that wasn't essentially feminist in the traditional sense and I don't actually believe it's possible to write a semi-decent female character without incorporating feminist principles (regardless of whether the book is political or the author likes the term), so maybe whether a book is a 'feminist novel' would be an easier measure by which to judge 'women's fiction'? Dunno.

Some good 'upmarket women's fiction' authors IMO: Jodi Picoult, Jeanine Cummins, Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins. Toni Morrison and Margaret Atwood, why not?
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator


A lot of mainstream bestsellers these days can be described as 'upmarket women's fiction'. While both genders read at roughly similar rates (73/75% for men/women respectively) women tend to read more books than men generally. A 2018 survey showed that 11 percent of U.S. women read 31 or more books that year, compared to five percent of male respondents. Rather like how there are many more clothing stores targeted toward women than men, the market follows purchasing power.

Additionally, men tend to gravitate toward more niche genres such as science-fiction, horror, fantasy (it has changed a lot, but these genres are all still skewed slightly towards male readership) which means that those five percent of male readers tend to be rather more disparate. Women tend not to read things like comic books, for instance, so 'women's fiction' is a much easier concept to pin down.

In terms of titles, I'm sure there is lots of disagreement as far as what covers 'women's fiction', but I would consider it upmarket fiction (which is literary fiction with mass-market, mainstream appeal) addressing issues that are either unique to women readers or popular with them. Family/domestic drama is a common subject, stories that highlight sexuality and relationships but primarily from a female perspective. Women-in-crisis. Trauma involving a female character. Workplace politics, sure. Romance that isn't trash. Anything that passes the Bechdel Test

I suppose 'feminism' is a somewhat volatile label these days, but I have yet to read a half-decent book by a female author that wasn't essentially feminist in the traditional sense and I don't actually believe it's possible to write a semi-decent female character without incorporating feminist principles (regardless of whether the book is political or the author likes the term), so maybe whether a book is a 'feminist novel' would be an easier measure by which to judge 'women's fiction'? Dunno.

Some good 'upmarket women's fiction' authors IMO: Jodi Picoult, Jeanine Cummins, Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins. Toni Morrison and Margaret Atwood, why not?

Thanks Lucky! As usual, very well written and informative.

Interesting stats on male/female reading. I have heard that in general women hold 75% of the purchasing power for consumer goods. Being that books are a consumable, it makes sense. My own experience is that my female friends read far more novels than my male friends. Whereas I know of a number of all female book clubs, I know of no men in book clubs at all.

I see what you mean that women’s fiction is an easier concept to pin down. From what I see men’s fiction tends to be more formulaic, such as crime thrillers, dystopian science-fiction, etc. And women still read these, but there appears to be more unconventional stories that appeal to women as well. And since they read more books, you are casting a wider net. I guess you could also say that women’s fiction is simply fiction that men wouldn’t read. This whole book club thing plays into it as well. I cannot tell you how many books I have read, that I would not ordinarily pick up or finish on my own.

As to the impossibility of writing a semi-decent female character without incorporating feminist principles, I had to really ponder that one. When I think of feminism as an author’s voice, it speaks to sending a message of equality for women, in a world where it doesn’t already exist. There has been an important place for this type of message since the feminist movement of the 60s. I remember as a teenager being enlightened by Margaret Atwood’s The Edible Woman. Atwood may have been described as a feminist author at the time, but I believe most know her only as a best-selling author now.

So, I wonder if we are entering a new era where we no longer have to incorporate feminist principles, or even allude to them in writing fiction. I feel that the idea of feminism has evolved and is now just the accepted way of society. The recent indictments of moguls, Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein and our Canadian version Peter Nygard are indicative of the current intolerance to sexism.

I had not heard of the Bechdel test..interesting and helpful. My three female MCs talk to each other a lot, and often about business. They also weave in fashion, food, flowers and other passions, but I know that to be true of real life female conversations. I guess this is one area that I could still use some advice. Personally I love to talk and read about business, but many of my friends who also like to talk about business are not the big readers. My friends who don’t like to talk about business are the big readers. I’m already losing my beta reader, an ex-english teacher, who describes herself as being “lost in a chapter” because it is “too technical” for her, even though she admits to fully understanding it.

So I guess my next questions will be:

1) Are there enough women who will be interested in reading about business?

2) Will men read the book because of the universal plot, even though it’s through a woman’s POV?





 
Last edited:

luckyscars

WF Veterans
My three female MCs talk to each other a lot, and often about business. They also weave in fashion, food, flowers and other passions, but I know that to be true of real life female conversations. I guess this is one area that I could still use some advice. Personally I love to talk and read about business, but many of my friends who also like to talk about business are not the big readers. My friends who don’t like to talk about business are the big readers. I’m already losing my beta reader, an ex-english teacher, who describes herself as being “lost in a chapter” because it is “too technical” for her, even though she admits to fully understanding it.


It sounds like more of a problem of the material not being inherently interesting or relevant to the story than being too obscure or incomprehensible. I don't know if there's much of a market for novels that get into the minutiae of business, I know there are markets for 'hard science' novels but business is not the sort of thing that people want to read about it books because, well, most of us have some involvement in it as daily life. You would need to work hard to make business interesting for most readers, I imagine.

So I guess my next questions will be:
1) Are there enough women who will be interested in reading about business?

2) Will men read the book because of the universal plot, even though it’s through a woman’s POV?

I don't think there's any reason to believe women would be less interested in business than men. As mentioned, you probably have a more general problem of whatever business aspects you are using in your book either not being inherently interesting or, more likely, being spoken of in the unemotional abstract.

For example, talk to most people about the 2008 financial crisis and they will glaze over, but the moment you start to incorporate the human aspects suddenly it's interesting. People don't give a crap about collaterized debt obligations when written about in 'business terms', but people DO give a crap about collaterized debt obligations when it's being explained by Anthony Bourdain chopping vegetables and that's not even because Anthony Bourdain's vegetables are magically interesting but because we are being given the information in a manner that feels real and that has obvious meaning. So, maybe you're just being a bit dry?

Regarding men reading women's POV, I read women's POV all the time so yes.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Small talk is generally a mistake.

Ok, I see what you mean. I'll check myself on that.

When they do bring up things, like their love of fashion for example, it does tie into the plot. In this example, they have just met and their common penchant for expensive things is foreshadowing for the effect Brenda has on Lucy later on.

[FONT=&Verdana]
[/FONT]
 
Last edited:

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
It sounds like more of a problem of the material not being inherently interesting or relevant to the story than being too obscure or incomprehensible. I don't know if there's much of a market for novels that get into the minutiae of business, I know there are markets for 'hard science' novels but business is not the sort of thing that people want to read about it books because, well, most of us have some involvement in it as daily life. You would need to work hard to make business interesting for most readers, I imagine.

I'm not entirely certain it is a problem at this point, because the chapter has some foreshadowing that is the basis for the theme of the story. The beta reader made a comment in her critique that indicates she understood this theme. Frankly, to a greater degree than I would have expected at this point in the story, so I was heartened by it. I'm going to leave it for now, until a few more beta readers see it.

I agree you need to work hard to make business interesting. I started writing because it was hard to find books in this genre. And maybe that is because as you say, people aren't interested if they experience it in daily life. But for now it's my vision and my voice and I'm willing to work hard at getting it right. I'm using my own experience to bring readers a look into high levels of corporations and governments, which may be of interest. But I'll take your advice to stay out of the weeds!

I just finished Trade Secrets by Holly Rozner. It takes place in the Chicago Stock Exchange during the events of Black Monday. She sold over 30,000 copies in the first few months as a first time novelist. She does a great job of portraying the trading floor, something most people don't get to experience. So maybe that's the key to it.

I don't think there's any reason to believe women would be less interested in business than men. As mentioned, you probably have a more general problem of whatever business aspects you are using in your book either not being inherently interesting or, more likely, being spoken of in the unemotional abstract.

For example, talk to most people about the 2008 financial crisis and they will glaze over, but the moment you start to incorporate the human aspects suddenly it's interesting. People don't give a crap about collaterized debt obligations when written about in 'business terms', but people DO give a crap about collaterized debt obligations when it's being explained by Anthony Bourdain chopping vegetables and that's not even because Anthony Bourdain's vegetables are magically interesting but because we are being given the information in a manner that feels real and that has obvious meaning. So, maybe you're just being a bit dry?

I also ordered The Darlings by Cristina Algers. It was one of the references in the link that you provided. It takes place during the 2008 crash. She is a best selling author, so I will be interested to see how she handles it. But I love Anthony's explanation for CDOs...perfection! He is missed.

Regarding men reading women's POV, I read women's POV all the time so yes.

So glad to hear it!

You really did help me a lot with your post on Corporate Thrillers. I can't thank you enough for that. I have been dancing around singing "I found my genre"...as if I had just found my wings. :)
 
Top