Lately deciding on how to label the genre of my novel has been taking up an unnatural amount of my brain's hard drive free space. I think I need to defrag or something now. Does it fall in mainstream fiction or commercial fiction? Ha ha I wish I could say it fell into literary fiction but it's too cottony and candy-y.
So since my protagonist is 24, it won't fit into YA (young adult) fiction, even though it is a kind of a coming of age story. I got that much. Parameters as far as I can gather from combing the Internet and agents' sites and know-it-all-experts' advice books require the main character of a YA novel to be no older than 17, and preferably 16.
So it's definitely not middle grade even though when I read the prologue to the 5th graders a few months ago they ate it up. Middle grade novels star kids age 11. Or else!
Then there's women's fiction. Even though this could be termed a love story (the main character gets the girl at the end) and I would like to believe women will really find the hero of the story appealing, in spite of his flaws. But it's not technically a romance, even though the protagonist's main need is to overcome his loneliness. It doesn't fit the template of what's required for a romance. For one, the main character is male, not female. And since it doesn't star a 28+ single woman with a careeeeeer and eschewing marriage but secretly pining for love, it sure ain't chick lit.
So, do I try to market it as sports fiction? The whole story is about a fish-out-of-water, an unexpected foray into a new sport. It doesn't cover one of the big favorite sports of basketball or football, or even NASCAR, so maybe that won't work. Did you know there's a NASCAR sub-genre in Harlequin romance? I heard that last summer and I think my head is still trying to wrap itself around that fact.
Sometimes I think I should rework my story to fit neatly and squarely into one of these categories. But I wanted to tell the story of this particular character at this particular point of his life. To do that, I need to tell THIS story. I realize that the only reason I would need to alter it is if I decide to try to market it, which I guess I will, just to force myself to DO HARD THINGS. However, I am not going to weep failure tears if no publisher picks it up. I realize the story idea is a stretch. I know it doesn't fit neatly into a genre. I'm okay with that. I like the story, and I'm sticking to it.
And I WISH with all my HEART that I had a door on my hall closet. That it didn't gape open, with all those cereal boxes calling to me every single time I pass them, begging me to reach in, to get just a little handful of strawberry frosted mini-wheats or a few of those Raisin Bran Crunch flakes. Man, those are good. So good in fact, I kind of find myself thinking they (like the NASCAR Harlequin) should be a subgenre of candy. The mini-wheats and raisin brans could be the health-nut cousins of candy. Lucky Charms and Froot Loops could be more closely related. Apple Jacks have sugar listed as their first ingredient. Mmm. I love when those loopy rings have an obscured center, caked over with delicious dried, appley frosting.
I think I might have blogged this opinion in an earlier post. Oh, well. My kids tell me all the time I'm repeating myself. So why not in cyberspace, too?
Now, pass the Berry Kix.