I’ve been watching a lot of Supernatural on Netflix lately. It’s hokey and only the arc episodes are properly thought-out, but it’s quite enjoyable, nonetheless. Obviously it’s successful, or else it wouldn’t have 126 episodes. What makes it successful?
The genre requires “sexy” (gag me, anyone?) guys jumping around, doing sexy things while saving “sexy” (anorexic, anyone?) girls from violent supernatural things. Like ghosts. And demons. And Wendingos. And water wraiths. Anyway.
This brings me to my topic: genre-hunting. If you’re not writing about dragons besieging a castle, or vampires making out with werewolves, or private investigators invoking Solomon’s Ring on some demon, your genre might be a little more vague than you’d think.
I, for one, am rewriting a Supernatural-esque book. In fact, the closest I’ve seen my book come to, in comparison, is a movie I recently watched (but has been out Forever) called The Skeleton Key. Well thought-out (except for the ending), very well done.
This makes me happy. Why? I’ve spent a lot of time (too much, to be honest) trying to figure out what kind of genre my latest book falls under. I’m proud to announce it’s not Urban Fantasy, or Modern Fantasy, or Religious Fantasy… but Fantasy Thriller. Oh yes. That genre exists, too. Who thought this would be so mind-numbingly complicated? My MC is not an antagonist, though he’s pretty screwed up in the head (NOT ‘punk’), he’s not a private investigator though he does have to unravel a mystery (NOT ‘mystery’), and the story doesn’t walk the streets of a big city, though it involves an MC that accrues a lot of foot traffic (NOT ‘urban’). And it is a fantasy series (NOT religious fantasy), even though it focuses strongly on the religious, and the main enemy is le demones. What IS it? Strongly psychological (read: screws loose) mind-puzzle, filled with conflict and danger (and sexy girls all around him), and a race against time.
What does this mean? It means I have myself a thriller. “Race against time” is the clincher: my MC has to save people when he realizes things will constantly get worse until he stoppers the faucet, so to speak. People die. He fights himself as much as, or more than, the enemy.
Whew. I’d still file it under Fantasy. He talks to ghosts too much. He walks the Astral paths. He bows and says, “Namaste” even when he doesn’t have to.
What’s YOUR genre? Is it cut-and-dry? Or is it oddly obscure?
And a follow-up: What genre does Harry Potter fall under? Kid’s book? If you couldn’t use that as an identifier, would you go Modern Fantasy? Or High Fantasy (alternative world of magic/hogwarts/etc)?
Thanks for reading.