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IWSG 22 - The Genre Box

Happy March! New month means new blog post for the IWSG monthly blog hop. I hope everyone is having a great start to their year so far.

I wasn't sure on what topic to discuss this month and then I got some feedback on my latest project and the idea was born.


This topic has come up in my CP group a few times. Where does the story fit? One writer has a YA story that isn't quite romance, but also isn't quite science fiction. It has strong elements of both and both are central to the story. Another writes historical romance, only because it's America based and not Regency she struggles with finding a home for it.

I've faced this dilemma with my first book, Fiendish. I set out to write a story, a 'dark' contemporary romance and that's what I did. Or did I? See the problem I faced then was the 'rules' surrounding what made a romance; namely the HEA or HFN ending. If there are any none writerly folks reading this that's HAPPILY EVER AFTER OR HAPPY FOR NOW.

What really constitutes HEA or HFN? That question is for a blog post on another day. However, the fact remains that, Fiendish does not fit in that typical box for romance by traditional standards. Even for a 'dark' romance. It falls in this gray area of having aspects of a few different genres, but not enough of any one in particular to neatly fit in the box. It has been shoved into romance due to the core of the story, but it sticks out just a little.

I seem to be facing the issue again with my latest project. I set out to write an erotic romance novella. The novella aspect has gone out the window almost because with each round of edits the word count creeps up. On top of that, I'm losing the erotic angle. Not that I've removed the sexy times required, but because the subplot that happened has become of equal importance to the main plot.

Really, I ask myself how in the hell I managed to mess up erotica. It takes a special sort of talent.

The other issue came in with there being too much in the way of sexy time for it to neatly be categorized as contemporary romance, even with high heat. I've been reading more in both of these genres and while I can shove my project in one, it won't be a neat fit.

Maybe part of my issue with ending up in genre gray is my pantser lifestyle. I let the story go where the characters need them to be. Life doesn't always fit neatly in a box, but for sellablity and marketing purposes, my books need to. Luckily being an Indie author, I have a little bit more wiggle room to play with things, but still I'd like to know that the book I wrote is what I set out to write. At least once. Because, even Not Broken, which I market as contemporary romance, I've been told could also be women's fiction. Seriously, I can't win.

Have you ever written a story that's not 100% one genre and found yourself in the gray area?

March 7th's optional question:

How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/ finish a story?

Two ways. After I published Fiendish I took a spa day. I'd had a gift certificate the husband had given me months earlier that I took advantage of. After all the stress and worry, it was a nice way to celebrate my accomplishment and relax. I told the husband I wanted to make it a thing. I published Not Broken on Thanksgiving, for Christmas The Hubs gave me another spa gift certificate. I haven't scheduled a date yet, but with my completion of my third project, my plan is to go once all edits are done and it's off in query land.





The second is by having a drink of this. This is a 'new' way to celebrate for me. I can't remember when I first saw this Writer's Tears whiskey, but I set out to find it. The Girl found it and gave it to me as a Christmas gift this year. I took a drink when I completed the first draft of the above mentioned erotic romance project.





That's it for this month. Thanks for stopping by.
Until next time,
~Meka

Thank you to this month's co-hosts:  Mary Aalgaard, Bish Denham, Jennifer Hawes, Diane Burton, and Gwen Gardner!

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a home for writers in all stages; from unpublished to bestsellers. Our goal is to offer assistance and guidance. We want to help writers overcome their insecurities, and by offering encouragement we are creating a community of support.

Comments

  1. Writer's Tears - now that fits.
    You're not the only one today struggling with a neat genre fit. Some books just don't I guess.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. I saw that somewhere and had to have it.
      I'm glad I'm not alone in not genre thing. It gets really frustrating sometimes.

      thanks for stopping by

      Delete
  2. I got a massage after completing a big project, non-writing related. I wish you didn't have to worry about fitting neatly into a specific genre. Not all stories fit the formula.
    Keep writing and creating and let the editors/publishers sort that out.
    Mary at Play off the Page

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Getting the massage is nice. After all the stress of putting the project together, the relaxation is needed. Yes, it gets very stressful trying to figure out how to label your work afterwards. I have one thing in my head but it isn't a neat fit so then I'm in the gray area. :( I'll just keep doing the best I can.

      thanks for stopping by

      Delete
  3. For me, if a story has erotic sex scenes, it’s an erotica regardless of what else happens. As a reader, I wouldn’t want to come in thinking I’m reading a normal romance and find erotic scenes. If I want to read erotica, I do. Seismic Crimes has steamy scenes, but it draws a line, so it’s not erotica.

    But I do know your struggle. I have a WIP that I can’t pin with a genre. At one point, I think it’s one thing, told it’s something else, then decide it’s not that either but really this other genre, which is the one I’m sticking with.

    Sometimes, it all depends on the reader. Readers can have different views of the same genre.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What makes a sex scene erotic? Not being closed door? Or terminology used? What constitutes the difference?

      The genre thing I fear will be an ongoing struggle for me. I don't necessarily play by the 'rules' so that makes fitting in a box a challenge. Not sure how I'm going to fix that issue, but I'll keep working at it.

      And that's very true. Everything is subjective, but I have the issue of trying to find the right label to find the readers I'm after.

      thanks for stopping by

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. It is and I need to book my next one.

      thanks for stopping by

      Delete
  5. Hey Meka,

    I feel ya on the 'trying to categorize your book in the right genre.' Luckily, nowadays readers don't mind if there's more than one genre in a book. I know there's been a couple of times where I've read the book description and bought it, then being pleasantly surprised when the book turned out to be something else. Don't get me wrong--there's been a couple of times when I was disappointed because the book said horror but it was boring since there was no horror AT ALL. But if the genre would have been something else, I may not have minded so much because I would have expected it.

    I'm always confused on the contemporary, women's fiction, and romance categories. It all seems the same except romance focuses mainly on the relationship between the two characters and there better be a happy ending. It'd be cool to see your thoughts in a later blog post.

    Keep smiling,
    Yawatta

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Yawatta,

      Yeah, I know know if it's the readers minding so much as me not knowing at the end what to market it as so that I find the right readers. :( Aww that would suck to buy for horror, but get no horror. That would be a disappointment for sure.

      Romance doesn't make it easy with all the sub-genres. The one main requirement is having the HEA/HFN ending but beyond that it's a crap shoot. Trying to figure it all out takes some effort when the story you've written is a hodge podge of sorts. At least mine can be.

      thanks for stopping by

      Delete
  6. Oh, that's so sweet how your husband gets you spa certificates. I don't mind blending of genres since when I write most of my stories are a blend of several genres. But as to what genre it'll fit in I usually go by which genre makes up the core of the story most then by the closest sub-genre.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is. He's a keeper (some days LOL) I don't set out to blend the genres, but I keep ending up that way. It's not an issue until I have to try and market it. Then, well, I run into a snag. That's a good option, and that's what I try to do. Pick the intended genre and then add in the others.

      thanks for stopping by

      Delete
  7. It's easy to end up in that gray area. I do it with horror all the time. Some things are more clear cut than others, and it seems the more I write, the less clear cut it becomes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's crazy how I set out to write one thing, but at the end it's this bizarre mesh of a few different things. I follow where my characters lead and they don't walk straight lines sadly.

      thanks for stopping by

      Delete

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