Genre – Mark II

When an agent responded to my query by saying that they weren’t looking for y genre currently, it made me reflect on whether I had understood the concept of my genre totally – that perhaps the one bracket wasn’t enough.

My protagonists are men and women in their forties, so too old to be classed as chick-lit, which is a genre that some agents proclaim is passed its sell by date. Gone are the days of Ms Jones.

I had classed mine as women’s fiction, but that in itself is an all-encompassing bracket that perhaps doesn’t enlighten the agent enough to clarify my target audience.

I would love to be able to say that i write for the woman in her forties ad beyond who wants an introspective read on characters with flaws and foibles who don’t always achieve redemption in the end. In fact, i like dark, twisted, shocking endings, but again agents point out that we’re in a recession and that people want happy, sickly sweet endings (well not those exact words, you understand)

My novels aren’t gripping psychological thrillers, rom-coms, crime or fantasy. No that would be too simple for my twisted mind. I would love to say more of a literary novel but I’m not sure that my writing’s yet worthy of that status – but should i say it once to see if i achieve a different reaction?

I looked up on an Open University site about genres and they mentioned ones I’d never heard of – dirty realsim, maximalist – and they said their list wasn’t exhaustive. Good grief – am i now being told that i can make up my own genre as anything goes? I could start a trend for introspective, thought provoking, wrist-slashing genre – too dark perhaps?

I wrote a piece recently where a woman who’d suffered years of domestic abuse, made her abuse hang himself whilst she held him at gun point. The woman then shot herself, and her young son ended up in an adolescent psychiatric unit having witnessed the scene that culminated in his emotional breakdown. My husband said it was way too dark and harrowing, leaving him with a nasty taste in his mouth – blood, I said hopefully – no, just unrelenting pain. Back to the drawing board then.

I hoped that writing this would clarify the genre issue for myself, but it’s just confirmed that I truly am an all round good egg with dark edges.

Happy – or not as the case may be – word flow One & All

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