Friday, September 2, 2011

Help! What Did I Write?

This week has been stuffed with querying agents - last week too. I've researched, read, chatted, questioned, and queried my brains out - but I didn't just do it at random. With all that reading and researching I looked for exactly the kind of agent I would like to represent my work and me. And in doing so, I realized... I don't know exactly how to classify my writing.

For each agent I queried, I tailored my query letter to get their specific attention, to tickle their particular fancy. If they liked a certain subject, genre, well-known personality, I mentioned it. If I was afraid they would pass on my manuscript because I used words that turned them off, I didn't use them.

Some agents like mainstream, high-concept, and some agents like niche and literary. I don't know if my novel can be high-concept, but I certainly learned how to chop my synopsis down to a paragraph!

Now, I'm exhausted, dazed, and slightly confused. I thought I knew what I was writing when I wrote it. But then I entered the world of publishing and agents, and I'm baffled. So I decided to ask myself a few questions.

Is my book about a girl who learns to rely on herself? Yes.
Is my book about vampires and werewolves? No.
Is my book paranormal? - It depends on how you define paranormal. (and some agents don't like paranormal because of the vampires and werewolves!)
Does it have ghosts? No and Yes.
Does it have supernatural elements? Yes.
Does it have faeries? Yes.
Is it a fairytale? No, and Yes.
Is it modern? No.
Is it urban romance? Definitely not.
Is it romance at all? No.
Is it women's fiction? No.
But the MC is a girl? Yes.
Is there a love interest? Yes.
More than one? Maybe.
Does the MC fall in love in the first book? - No spoilers please!
Does the love interest save the MC from certain death? Maybe.
Does the MC save the love interest? Yes.
Are there monsters? Yes.
Is there a mystery? Yes. More than one.
Does someone die? Maybe.
Are there miracles? Yes.
Is there magic? Yes.

Basically, it would be a romance, if Lividia felt romantic, and she doesn't. It would be a fairytale if Lividia was a princess and a prince came to save her, but she isn't and he doesn't. She has to save herself. This is more like the grisly old fairy tales where witches eat children and ugly step-sisters mutilate their feet to fit into tiny shoes. Only, Lividia isn't going to mutilate anything to fit in. It isn't a witch trying to eat the children, but I'm not going to say any more than that.

I have always felt that this story (and those after it) are genre-crossers. They don't fit just one. It's more than a fantasy, a mystery, a paranormal faerie what-have-you. But I don't yet know how to explain that to an agent.

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