I hate talking about genre.
Last weekend I was at the Surrey International Writer’s Conference with my fellow Wordbitches. When I found myself sitting next to someone I didn’t know, I’d cringe when they’d ask, “So what do you write?”
I had no idea. I’ve written 65,000 words and I had no idea.
I wanted to say women’s fiction but I’d been told I had to have a certain word count. If I hit less, I’d be in romance.
I’m not sure I’ll hit that word count, but I don’t think it’s a romance just because of length. Romance brings certain preconceived notions with it and I don’t think my manuscript fits. My main character doesn’t end up completely happy ever after. She knows she’s in the middle of hard work and it’ll stay hard. And there’s only one major kiss. Whoo-hoo. Can you feel the steam? It just doesn’t feel like a romance.
Hopefully it doesn’t shock you to know I don’t really, truly fit under “literary” fiction. I went through the rest of the list. It’s not a thriller. Not a mystery. Not YA. Not paranormal. I was running out of genre’s.
Then I talked to Susanna Kearsley and she read a page of my writing. She said:
“Forget word count. You write women’s fiction with an element of romance.”
Eureka! That’s it!
Sometimes it can be hard to nail down what you write. Word count, formulas, and preconceived notions can be confusing and tangling. It can even make you want to stop writing. And sometimes it makes you cranky and unsocial at conferences. Whatever it makes you, keep writing. And keep talking about it.
Because one day, if you’re like me, you’ll ask someone else and end up screaming “Eureka!”
How about you? Have you had a hard time pin pointing your genre? How have you solved that problem?