For some writers the most difficult part of describing their work is what genre is it? As we have seen over the last 5-10 years there are more and more “sub-genres”. Incorrectly identifying your genre can have a profound influence on the success of your novel. One of the authors on this panel told us the story of how one of her novels fell victim to this problem.
She had written a romance that was also a fantasy. To her it was a romance and so she sold it to her publishers as a romance with fantasy elements – which it was.
The novel did not sell well. She explained to us that a romance novel with fantasy elements is much different than a fantasy with romance elements. It all goes back to the unspoken contract we make with readers.
Every genre has this unspoken contract with readers and in the case of the romance world, relationship is king and queen. Any sublot or sub genre that creeps into a romance novel has to be aware of this. The panellist went on to say that because the ending was a typical fantasy ending – where all the various plot angels and conflicts resolve together in a nice neat package – the novel was less than satisfying to the romance readers who hold relationship resolution in high regard.
The same is true of the other genre’s – take a mystery story. If the end of the novel is not the solving of the mystery, but rather that the two detectives confess their love to one another – it would disappoint the mystery reader.
In the midst of all this there are now distinct “hybrid” genres. Why? Because that is what the story is.
Most commonly we see this in Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Quite often it gets referred to as “speculative fiction”. There is “Historical Fantasy”. Currently one of the favourites is a time-travel, fantasy, romance .
As it is important to know what your story, characters and setting are, it is equally important to who your readers are.
That’s all for today, hopefully more tomorrow as always –
Be Well – dcd