Monday, May 25, 2009

Pick a Genre, Any Genre

Although I'm still waiting for my Genesis feedback, I did get my Touched By Love feedback this week, and that was really exciting. And educational. As I read through the comments, I realized I have a long way to go! But it was a little bit of a relief, too. Huh?

Now that I've proven to myself that I'm not going to be one of these writer prodigies that come out of nowhere with their first breakout novel...the pressure's off. :) I'm going to hone my craft just like the rest of authors everywhere do.

But as I read through my feedback, I realized that part of my problem is that I need to pick a genre. YIKES! I love chick lit (uh...oops...I believe the appropriate category is "women's fiction" now) and love to write in first person. I love romance, as well. And the book I entered in all the contests was labeled a romantic suspense, as there definitely was a suspenseful thread. However, I wrote the heroine's POV in first, the hero's and villain's in third. I've seen books written like this and enjoyed them, mainly because I felt so close to the main character.

My epiphany is this: I was trying to write chick lit as romantic suspense. I'm not going to say this isn't possible. I'm sure somebody somewhere did it. Oh, I know one! Gayle Roper's Fatal Deduction was written this way. First person heroine, everyone else in third. Loved the book and blogged about it here. But maybe this doesn't work for me. I like my plot line, so I'm going to keep with the romantic suspense...but I'm seriously considering going to third for this book. The rest of my women's fiction can be in first.

The difference was in the voice of the heroine. I like first because I can vicariously put myself, my thoughts, my feelings, in the manuscript with ease. It's like I imagined the story happening to me. Way cool. But I'm snarky, sarcastic, and sometimes even formal in how I think, which might not transalte well into the voice of a heroine in a romantic suspense in first (in fact, I'd say it did not translate well based on the comments). But this type of voice works great in chick lit!

So what's a girl to do? I'll be rethinking this question over the summer, for sure.

Q4U: Anyone else had a problem like this? If so, did you feel you had to stick to one genre to work it out, or were you able to combine your genres satisfactorily? Lemme know!

Wordle: signature


Katie said...

I've heard the same thing recently - that using first person is common for women's fiction. When I changed Velvet to third - I was advised to change the genre to contemporary romance. It's something I'm still chewing over - only because Robin (the other female character) plays such a large role. Supposedly, cont. romance is selling pretty well right now. I think romantic suspense is too.

Ralene said...

You know the first two novels that I wrote were a combination of genres and didn't really follow the formula for either one. They both start out as drama types, maybe women's lit, and then about halfway morph into a suspense. So far, I haven't really done anything to change that fact, b/c I really don't know WHAT to do about it. On my finished novel, I tried to go back and add more suspense elements in the beginning, but it still comes off as more of a drama. Hmmm...

Jody Hedlund said...

Great questions! We always want to be finding new and fresh ways of doing things. But we also have to play by the rules too, especially as new authors. Sounds like you got some great feedback from the contest!

Jessica said...

I just read a book like that, but can't remember what it was. Hmmmm...
I wouldn't worry about your POV setup, if the story is stronger that way. Lots of suspenses have first person pov for the protagonist, so maybe you need to label it suspense with romantic elements? LOL Have fun trying to decide. My crit partner has something like yours. A very strong, snarky 1st person POV for the heroine set in a romantic suspense. We were trying to figure out what genre it would fit too.
I'm not sure I would even be concerned about the chick-lit aspect yet. :-)
I'm glad you got your results back! Let us know what you decide to do.

Karin said...

Genre definitely came up for me, and I blogged about it a week ago. After entering the contests and getting my feedback I've finally figured it out:

I write Chick Lit.

I could call it women's fiction (which I probably should), but it's much lighter, quasi comedic. "Women's Fiction" always makes me think of such serious topics/characters.

I received some of the same comments because I entered as "romance" but the hero didn't come in right away.

Sounds like we're in very similar places!

Stephanie Newton said...

Hey Jeannie,
Linda Howard did a couple of rom susp with a snarky 1st person heroine a couple of years ago, Drop Dead Gorgeous and To Die For.

Not Christian Fiction, but sorta the same as what you're talking about.


Rebecca said...

I would have to say the genres are hard because there is the "rulebook" but no one knows what that might be... especially if it's fantasy.

But you are so right, it is hard, but fun. I'll still need to think mine over.