Genre-Hunting

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.

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5 thoughts on “Genre-Hunting

  1. So, I’m not the only one that watches/watched Supernatural. I had to laugh at the description you gave for the simple fact it’s true.

    Someone else has watched the skeleton key and found the ending to be lacking! I’m not alone in this world anymore.

    My genre is not cut-and-dry. Sometimes I like to think it is because it keeps me from trying to label it; which I am sure will drive me crazy one day. I’m oddly obscure and so is my writing.

    I will openly admit that I have been published, although I’m not known for what I want to be known for, so I don’t want to discuss it with everyone. Thank goodness for pen names! As writers can we be happy with be published in a genre we don’t like? Is it okay to let the editor put a label on your writing without your consent?

    • The editor would probably know best, but I’m entirely new to the environment, and I’m only speaking from inexperience. I’m certain the circumstances are important. πŸ™‚

      Another movie I recently saw where my fiancee said, “Oooh. Someone did their homework,” is Insidious. If you haven’t seen it, she says the Astral travel creation is perfect.

      So… *poke*… what’re you published for? haha

      • I too watched Insidious. I completely agree with your fiancee. πŸ™‚

        Genres published under: 1. Christianity – (I really didn’t and still don’t get that one.) Maybe they were trying to scare people to God with my writing! 2. Health – I get this one, however, it’s not exactly what I want to be known for – and I know no one could tell that by my blog. (The education of society on mental health is a passion of mine so I deem this as inevitable and am at peace.) 3. Poetry – For this I should be happy. It was at one time my thing so to speak, but alas not what my heart desires.

      • Mental health instruction is a HUGE deal. Scaring people to God is a medium deal. Poetry is a HUGE deal but not as huge as mental health instruction. IMHO.

        I can’t wait to be published so I can stand proudly beside you…

  2. Thank you. I’m quite positive that you will be published. I’m simply awaiting the blog post in which you are celebrating. I’m sure I’m not the only one with this line of thought either. You will end up being a master of your own unique craft one day for all the diligent hours you spend continuing to learn and create.

    Without wax,
    Cat

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