This is the way I see it:
See this brownie? The one I just baked in the kitchen and pulled from the oven? Describe this brownie. To me, it is delicious, fresh, warm, homemade, fatty, brown, gooey, moist. But no. This brownie can only be one of those things.
So if I had to pick just one word to describe it. I’ll say this brownie is warm. Yes, definitely warm. But it’s also delicious, oh yes, very delicious. Okay, so maybe it is warm with a heavy influence of deliciousness. Yes that works. But crap. It’s also very bad for me. MY POINT (because I do have one) is this: How can my novel just be one thing? Much like trying to categorize your novel, although much less tasty, I find this process tiring. Should your genre be determined BEFORE writing your novel? Or is this typically something that is determined once your novel is complete? Determining a genre beforehand might help keep you on a certain track, but I really don’t think you know what your novel is until its complete. Is there an answer to this?
Currently I am writing a young adult fiction novel that I would classify as a romance novel. But I am not happy with that. The genre, to me, is more than just romance, not to mention does not exactly fit into the category like a glove. It is a thriller with touches of science fiction. So when writing a query letter, the description “my romance, thriller, YA fiction novel” doesn’t really work. Of course I am exaggerating but as a first time writer, I want to know, is having a problem classifying your book a GOOD thing, BAD thing, or completely irrelevant? Is there some secret trick to help categorize a novel that doesn’t perfectly fit?
I have been going back and forth, flip flopping between genres. Also, I’m really craving brownies.
Here is a quote from my first completed novel, MARKS IN STONE. The experience of completing my first novel has been beyond inspiring and I cannot wait to dive deeper into the process of what’s next! On top of this, I am feeling even more inspired to begin building new projects.
”Some things in nature cannot be stopped; trees are meant to grow, snow is meant to fall, butterflies are meant to fly. And I’ll be damned if I thought any of those things could be stopped by me.”
Everything begins with an idea.
When I think about that, I become overwhelmed. No matter what we are looking to create: a business, a design, a novel, everything begins with a simple idea. For me, that is the most exciting part of writing a novel or short story. I love the time before taking pen to paper and having this idea that lives and breathes within my mind, where it’s only a little seed needing so much to grow into what I hope it to be. Maybe it’s nothing, maybe it’s ineffective. But maybe it’s not.
Recently I finished working on my first novel. I began this project several months ago, yet today I am literally still finding crumbled up pieces of scribbled on paper in my coat pockets. A lot of the time I would get an idea and quickly jot it down, then stuff it into a pocket to later expand upon. It is crazy to look back and see these tiny notes now turned into something much bigger… a story. Which was, at one point, just an idea I thought of. The characters that live in this newly constructed world were once just ideas, names, and ink on paper thrown into a pocket. Don’t worry, I’ve since gotten a notebook. RIP finding notes in my pocket.
Here’s a little Monday inspiration for you. Nothing can happen without an idea, so if you have one, water that seed and then let it grow into whatever it is meant to be.