What’s In A Name?

                          Romance Comic Postcards from PinkMoose

Okay, by name I actually mean genre. It’s my bete noir and as I find myself writing a new WIP, the subject is stirred once more to muddy the waters.
For example, my novel ‘The Divine Pumpkin’ which is due out mid-May, has been placed in the fiction-drama category by my publisher – Winter Goose. Yet one agent wrote to me saying that the novel was a good mix of women’s fiction and crime. It is about an incarcerated young offender, but I wouldn’t class it as ‘crime’. It also explores the inter-personal relationships between people, but it isn’t a pure romance or women’s fiction. When people ask me about my novel, I don’t name a genre, I just tell them a brief synopsis. And on many levels, it is a drama.

Now my next novel, which is due out in Feb 2013, is more of a psychological thriller with, again, an examination of inter-personal relationships. Again, fiction-drama could be a very fitting genre for this novel.

My fear is that my novels may slip through Amazon & Barnes & Noble’s nets as they don’t sit purely in a romance, crime or thriller genre. They are a melange and that’s what I enjoy writing. So why stop?
I also worry (which seems to be a hobby of mine lately) that the genre of fiction-drama won’t catch the eye of the reader seeking a new novel to devour. Only time will tell.

I’m starting a new novel about a group of very different people who all have one things in common, which impacts on the way they interact. I find stories like these fascinating, much as I do when I’m people watching in cafes.

I believe that if I wrote solely for commercial viability, ie. to sit squarely in a particular genre, then my novels wouldn’t be written from my heart, they’d be written with a monitory  value attached to them. Although that would be a very welcomed facet, I didn’t start writing with that goal in mind. Personally, I write for pleasure, passion and a need to feel words on paper. The characters from my novels live in my head when I cook, iron and wash-up, and I hope that they dwell as easily in the minds of any future readers.

Are genres there to simplify things for the publisher, author or reader? Quite often when I pick up a book in a shop, the book is named solely as fiction, on the back cover. I choose the novel because I’m hooked by the blurb on the back.

As the release date is getting closer, perhaps my insecurities are surfacing, making me question the whole phenomenon of genre, labelling, and tagging, because I’m worried that no one will notice my work in amongst the 8,000 new novels that are published each year in the UK (Nigel Watts, 2010. Write A Novel and Get It Published.)

Perhaps I’ve made this issue too big in my mind, and some of you reading this will wonder why I worry at all. Genre is just a name, like my name and your name. What’s important is that the novel has a great story to tell, in whatever genre or sub-genre, just like it’s important we are a caring human being, not just someone with a beautiful name.

Happy Word Flow One & All.

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