25th June 2018 at 12:32 pm #26047
I am having difficulty placing my novel into a genre.
I was told it was a crime fiction by a few peeps but then others are saying no its not? Its a mystery.
I feel it could fall into both plus supernatural crime; if there is such a genre.
It is about a detective on the trail of a missing child, who is struggling with mental health issues and a murdered suspect. Herein lies the problem; the detective becomes obsessed with a Demon. etc.
What about speculative fiction.
Any advice will be welcomed. :)
26th June 2018 at 1:59 pm #26135
I struggle with genre. However on a purely personal note if there is anything actually supernatural in the book (as opposed to a belief that a demon exists if it actually doesn’t) I think that should be made clear. I say this having just spend a few days reading “Behind her eyes” which is billed as a psychological thriller and feeling really angry when supernatural elements were used as a plot twist.
26th June 2018 at 3:21 pm #26138
James Oswald’s Inspector Mclean novels are billed as mystery, I think. They’re a police procedural with a paranormal twist.
Is there a big distinction between mystery and crime? As long as the genre gives us a good clue of where it sits. And as soon as you mention your DI, it’s going to be obvious it’s police. I guess it depends how far it moves off the police procedural path and into the supernatural.
27th June 2018 at 7:21 am #26169
I never realized there was a difference between mystery and crime, which goes to show what I know! Is crime more “someone-got-killed-who-done-it” and mystery “there’s-an-age-old-problem-to-solve-and-we’re-solving-it” sort of thing? You could make the decision purely pragmatically: find the proper definition of each genre (which usually contains four of five key elements) and pick the genre in which you’ve checked off the most boxes. Of course, when you submit nothing prevents you from saying “crime fiction with a paranormal twist” or something along those lines, to indicate that you’re not fully fatithful to industry “boundaries” (and why should you be?).
27th June 2018 at 4:31 pm #26352
Thank you all, lots to think about.
Guess its a speculative then lol.
28th June 2018 at 12:21 pm #26400
I’m struggling a bit with my own W.I.P. So I’ve tried boning up on this topic, which I, too, find very confusing.
As far as I can make out, the crime genre tends to the hard boiled, police procedural, violent crime and generally more realistic end of the spectrum. The mystery is harder to define but tends to the cosy end with little or no realistic or gory violence, often including an amateur investigator, and where the focus is on the mystery as an intriguing puzzle for the reader and the protagonist who is tries to solve it using their own skills and resources rather than following a step-by-step police detective method. Sometimes there can be an amateur detective working alongside a police officer, as in the Elly Griffiths books, but although these key include realistic violence. Then I think it’s about the balance of the two. The inclusion of an amateur sleuth places such books in the mystery category when realistic violence is low or missing, and the focus is on the amateur investigator, as in the Agatha Raisin books with her tame police constable, whereas in the Elly Griffiths books the amateur main character is constrained by the need to work closely alongside a professional police officer, being bound by their procedures. This, to my mind, tips them into the crime category.
Where your book falls it’s hard to be sure, but I’d suggest that if your protagonist is battling psychological demons because of a mental health issue, and you are writing realistically about this tough issue, then it probably falls into the crime category. But it’s about balance, and only you can tell where your book falls — or where you want it to fall — on the crime/mystery spectrum.
I’m struggling a bit in my own W.I.P. because I want the emphasis mostly to be on the mystery and on the person intrigued by it and why they are trying to understand it, but I need it to include one scene of intense, gory violence towards the end, with another realistic death scene right at the end. I set out to write a rather cosy, quirky mystery, but I thnk, now, that what I probably have is a crime novel, despite the near absence (because of the remote setting) of any police involvement.
Hope some of this helps. I apologise for any typos. I can barely see what m writing because it’s so tiny on my old iPad, and my hands are being disobedient because I have a migraine (which the tiny type ain’t helping!).
B.T.W. I agree with the previous post that says you need to make a clear distinction between psychological demons, even those someone hallucinates they see, and ‘real’ demons, who have an independence, motivation, choice of action, etc. separate from your protagonist. The latter would place it in the fantasy genre (confusingly!).
28th June 2018 at 6:08 pm #26470
This sounds a really good explanation, Sleepy. I don’t read much crime but was trying to think about the way my local library uses a gun symbol on the spine to indicate some crime novels and a magnifying glass on others. The magnifying glass features on golden-age fiction – Agatha Christie etc where the detective is amateur – and on cosy crime. As you say, not much detailed violence. The murder has happened before the story begins and if there are serial killings they aren’t grisly. And possibly quite a few cups of tea are drunk but that might be my weary view after getting many cosy crime novels out of the library for my elderly mother :-)
29th June 2018 at 12:53 pm #26626
Thanks much appreciated. the Demons are real and intend to take the reader along to the end ; do they don’t they? Then twist hopefully reader will think no it was all in his head, but ending line twists again with wow they could be.
So reading about novels similar they are deemed supernatural crime. Guess best thing to do would be to put comparative books alongside when I’m ready to submit.
4th August 2018 at 1:57 am #43172
I think genre – these days anyway – can be a bit loose and overlapping as there’s just such a diversity of works out there. The only two things I can remember are that if you’re trying to stop something happening now or in the near future then it’s a thriller. And if you’re trying to figure out what’s happened in the past then it’s a mystery.
So, at least, I know I’m writing a mystery. And I know it’s a murder mystery because there’s a corpse in the middle of it. But it’s also set against an important backdrop of espionage, so a spy murder mystery. But the protagonist has quite a multiple personality issue, so is that psychological? Or more psychiatrical? And what about the allusions of Greek mythology? Where does that sit in the genre straight-jacket?
Maybe genres need to be more like wine labels.
‘A fruity little mystery with a gentle nose of murder, set against a pleasing bouquet of espionage. The nutty textures of psychological disorder sit well on the palate and serve to accentuate hints of ancient Greece.’
Reckon I’ve nailed it.
5th August 2018 at 8:26 pm #43270
Hi Rae, mine too! I’ve placed it under 2 genres on Amazon…
Crime, Thrillers, Mystery/espionage
Crime, Thrillers, Mystery/Action and Adventure
but it’s also historical!
6th August 2018 at 12:03 am #43278
Sounds like we’re writing the same book. :D
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