Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Genres and Labels

For a little while, my current manuscript and I were hopelessly stalled by the side of the road. Broken down. Not moving. Like a 1973 VW bus being driven from Des Moines to San Francisco with one and a half of the dual carburetors on the fritz. Seriously.

Thanks to a little NanoReviseMo mojo and the help of some friends and my critique partner, I'm unstuck and finally beginning to understand the tenets of goal, motivation and conflict in literature. Who knew that I didn't fully grasp the concept when I was taking all those literary theory classes at Jesuit university? Now that I do, things are looking up in terms of being able to pinpoint not only a description, blurb and elevator pitch for my tale, but I think I might even have drawn a bead on the genre.

What's that you say? How could you not know what GENRE you're writing! The horror!!! Well, you try figuring out if it's science fiction/fantasy with romantic elements or a historical paranormal romance. To top that off, what if it's single title (still not quite clear on that, someone PLEASE help) or Category. Here I thought, I'll just write down this story that keeps screaming inside my head but no, I have to tell you what it is. IT'S A STORY I MADE UP. Please stop confusing me. Or frightening me a little, in a good way by educating me with complex publishing-related math like Moonrat did over at Editorial Ass today. I mean your accountant might need an accountant to keep up with what's what in terms of earning out an advance. If you ever get one. Fortunately for me, I do already know that zero times any number is ALWAYS zero.

But thanks to publishing glossaries such as this one posted by blog fave, agent Nathan Bransford here or the anti-fairy version featured on fave 1.0, agent Janet Reid's shark infested waters here, I'm a little bit closer to the mark. Highly entertained though, but not necessarily as clear as I could be.

Please send chocolate.


Pamela Cayne said...

First--congrats on the GMC and pitch breakthroughs. That must leave you feeling very happy and relaxed.

As far as the genre goes, this can actually be a difficult question. Here's my theory--in today's market there are so many cross-genre mash-ups that it's difficult to say where one ends and the other begins, i.e. where yours should be tagged. I think as long as you get it somewhere in the ballpark (and, of course, have an *awesome* book, which I'm sure you have), I think the genres come later.

Pamala Knight said...

Thanks Pamela. I know that 'paranormal' is the umbrella under which I should stand, but it's confusing sometimes. Thanks for the good advice and good luck with your GH entry. Fingers and toes crossed for you!

Marilyn Brant said...

Pamala~these distinctions are so hard to pin down, esp. (as Pam said, too) because today's market has so many crossovers... But, having read a number of different "category" lines and having also read some of your lovely writing, "single-title paranormal romance" would be the right genre fit for what I've seen of yours. Hope to see you again soon! Will you be at the 11/30 mtg??

Pamala Knight said...

I can always count on you Marilyn dear, to help bring clarity to the situation. I agree that now the panic attack is over, my work is probably paranormal romance. But I reserve the right to compare myself slightly to OUTLANDER and defy traditional labeling, lol.

Thanks as always, for stopping by.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Pamala, so glad to hear you are able to move forward on GMC and such!! Yay! I agree with Marilyn (Even though I haven't read your stuff) it does sound like single title!
Keep writing!!

Ann Victor said...

LOL Pamala! Does cyber-choclate count? Sending you tons!

Haven't visited for a while so I thought I'd pop in and browse your blog. Hope you're well! Congrats on the Nano achievement. and I'm very glad to find out I'm not the only one suffering from genre confusion about my novel!! :)