I’ve come to suspect I may be miscategorizing myself.
(By the way, as I type this, I’m sitting on the couch, as opposed to at my desk, thanks to the BF and the two hours he spent last night setting up our wireless network. It’s good to have a nerd for a boyfriend!)
I was remembering a comment someone had made at the writer’s conference I’d attended back in October. Several of us had taken advantage of the one on one manuscript critique offered at the conference and were discussing the feedback we’d gotten. Mine was largely positive, but one dude was having some trouble with a question they’d asked him.
It had to do with the category his book fell into. He said fiction.
He was of the opinion it didn’t need a category. News flash, buddy: it does. How the hell else is the publisher supposed to know how to market it? How’s your agent going to know who to try and sell it to?
This got me thinking about categories of fiction, and why I always end up confused when I’m looking for the newest Chloe Neill in the romance new releases and end up finding it in the sci-fi/fantasy new releases.
A romance novel must have an emotionally satisfying ending. In other words, a happily ever after. I swear, one of these days, I’m gonna write a romance novel where the main character dies.
Urban fantasy, however, tends to follow one character throughout the series and while there may be a romance plot as part of the overall story arc, it’s not the main focus. Kicking ass and taking names is usually the point.
Here’s what I don’t get. Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series is considered paranormal romance, even though it follows the same character throughout all five books and not all of them end happily (in fact, some of them are pretty damn dark, which is why I loved them). Whereas Richelle Mead’s Eugenie Markham series is considered urban fantasy, and damn does that girl get laid a lot!
So where does that stick me? The Shadowdemon trilogy does have an eventual happy ending, but it doesn’t come until the end of the trilogy (duh). The series I have planned out for Brenna of Finders Keepers has a sorta happy ending in the first book, but I have every intention of screwing around with her head as the series progresses.
The problem is, I don’t really have a hell of a lot of time to sit around trying to figure it out. Shadowdemon is at the point where I feel comfortable pitching it, as is Finders Keepers. I don’t want to make some rookie mistake and call them paranormal romance when they aren’t.
I think they are. Just as in Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changling and Guild Hunter series, the relationship is just as important to the story as the…oh what the hell would you call it. The action? The plot device? You know. The other part of the story where stuff happens, shit gets blown up, people die, and that particular conflict is resolved by the time you reach the last page.
I totally need to write something where I get to blow a lot of shit up.
Anyway. It’s something that needs to be decided sooner rather than later. Is it cool to categorize it as two different things? Because that would solve my problem.
Next up: tackling the runaway story.