Ever tried fitting a square peg into a round hole?
Well, that’s how I feel when I try to categorise my book into a particular genre.
Obviously, I have to choose one primary category, and I understand I can then mix things up a little as far as the sub-genres are concerned, but there has to be one dominant category to start with.
This decision will then determine where my book is placed on those glorious shelves within the book store – whether on-line or in an actual store (yeah, I know, but I can dream!)
The main thread of my story is one of vengeance, whereupon justice is delivered and good conquers evil.
However, this can be interpreted in many ways:
Mystery / Crime / Suspense / Thriller
At least that has reduced my choices down to just four, but this is where is gets more difficult. Time to concentrate!
These categories are also all closely linked, and there is an element of overlap in each of them (nobody said it would be easy!)
A good mystery novel will include an intellectual puzzle that needs to be resolved.
This genre requires the perpetrator to be brought to justice.
The reader must not know who the bad guy is until the end.
But if I violate this rule (and I do), does this mean I am not writing a mystery – does it now become a thriller?
The suspense needs to build, and the ending should be shocking and unexpected.
This category works for me, but is it a dominant category? Are there really bookshelves for ‘suspense’ tales or are they generally placed into the thriller or mystery section. Is ‘suspense’ a sub-genre or can it stand on its own?
Well, I hope so, because my story is not a thriller either.
The terms thriller and suspense novel are used interchangeably in the industry. They come in many varieties, including action-adventure, technothriller, legal thriller, war novel, and spy novel.
No, sorry, but that’s not me!
Decision time: SUSPENSE is a dominant category.
It is the most appropriate genre for my tale of revenge.
My sub-categories are MYSTERY and CRIME.
One other key factor in my decision making process is that the thriller genre is very marketable and also highly competitive. The bestseller lists are packed with books in this category, so breaking in may not be easy for new novelists.
Whereas the mystery / crime genre, although also a strong choice, gives a writer a lot of options, and an unknown novelist still has a good shot at breaking into this category (or so I am told!)
That, definitely, works for me!
Phew! – Glad that’s over…