Genre

When I take this novel to an agent, everything I have read on getting published advises that I must define its genre. No matter how much I hate being put into boxes, that is just how the publishing game works. I can rule a lot of these out immediately. It certainly isn’t:

science fiction
fantasy
western
mystery
historical fiction
romance

However, there are other genres I am not so sure about. I wonder, is it chick-lit? It is written by a woman, primarily for women. My initial draft did have that humorous lift to it that seems to be a mainstay of such wonderful novels as Good in Bed, or The Devil Wears Prada.

Hoever, when I rewrote, that funny side went out the window. There are still hints of it in the conversations between the three friends, especially Lauren and Tiffany, but the tone of the novel became much more serious. On the other hand, not all so-called chick lit has that personal, humorous side. I see The Time Traveler’s Wife and Eat, Pray, Love listed as chick-lit on at least one WEB site, and I didn’t find Jody Picault’s My Sister’s Keeper to be at all funny, but it was on that list as well. Another thing that perhaps rules out this category is that no one goes shopping in Naked Lobster. Oops.

Besides chick-lit, though, there are two other possible categories. One is literary fiction. I probably don’t have the right degrees to call my writings ‘literary’, and I have also tried to avoid pretentiousness in my writing (but, then again, so did Hemingway and I certainly don’t use words as sparingly as he did).

Also, I have to wonder if very many men would relate to Naked Lobster. So that leaves one more category: woman’s fiction. But if I don’t call it literary fiction, then it won’t qualify for literary prizes (see A Guide To Literary Fiction). (Not that I think it’s that good, but I am sure doing my best). And I do think some of the issues explored in Naked Lobster, such as grief, the existence of supernatural phenomena, and the devastation of lives because of alcoholism, are universal, which once again puts it back into the literary fiction category.

Truth is, I am going to have to decide on this pretty soon, but not yet.

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