Mystery...Romance...Sci Fi...Humor... The joy of writing fiction - meeting brand new people in places that don't yet exist.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Red Headed Nephew

In my quest to take advantage of the information and support available to fledgling authors online, I've join several writer's organizations and support groups.  Not surprisingly, many of these are genre specific, Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, etc., and within these are smaller groups dedicated to specific sub-genres.

My current WIP is a sci fi with a strong romantic element.  It would probably qualify as a sci fi romance.  Except...of all the sub-genres identified under the romance genre - and there are plenty - there doesn't seem to be one for sci fi.  The closest is "Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal."   It's pretty much the same for the mystery sub-genres.  Paranormal, time-travel, futuristic, but no sci fi.

Well, doesn't the F, F & P umbrella cover sci fi?  Not exactly.  Or at least not completely.  Fantasy would be mystical creatures and/or other worlds.  Futuristic would have to be, well, in the future.  Paranormal includes vampires and werewolves and even ghosts.  But not aliens.

My aliens are here.  In this world.  In this time.  Not quite fantasy, not futuristic at all, and, by all the definititions I've come up with, not considered paranormal.  It seems as though non-futuristic sci fi is like the redheaded nephew at the family reunion.  Sure, he's part of the family, but no one wants to claim him.

What is your take on this?  Where do you think the little redhead fits in?  Is there a place in our world for sparkly vampires but not extra-terrestrials?

By the way, I squeaked in just under the wire on my 30,000 Words in February challenge.  30,056 words with 15 minutes to spare.

My current word count: 30,773

I'm currently enjoying: Lion in the Valley by Elizabeth Peters (poor Peabody, I've left her in the desert with no reading time to bring her home)

Groaner of the day: Scientists have announced that we have made contact with an alien race whose planet is entirely covered by one gigantic shopping center.

The sceptical scientists didn't believe it at first, but they've now's a mall world after all.


Mason Canyon said...

Congratulations on making your 30,000 word challenge. Way to go. Sometimes I think we lose out by trying to put stories in certain categories.

BTW, another cute groaner too. :)

Thoughts in Progress

Dru said...

The groaner was cute.

I have no idea where your story would fall under. Have you check other "like" stories to see where they are categorized?

P. K. Brent said...

My suggestion is to NOT point out that it isn't exactly a book that would fit in the usual categories.

Market it as "space romance/opera," because that sounds like the main them and I think it would gain the most favorable interest.

Also, grtz on meeting your wordcount goal.

Suzanne said...

Categories are problematic, especially variations on sci-fi. I do monthly new-release columns in speculative fiction for my publisher, and always run into problems as to where blended genres such as romantic science fiction, steampunk, and alternative history go. All three generally get lumped under sci-fi, but the sci-fi purists scream if they see *gasp* romance anywhere near their spaceships. And within RWA, you are right--there's just nothing that covers it. FF&P is your best best, and I have seen other romantic science fiction authors in the group.

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Actually there ARE sf-romances out there, but the category is one that seems to be missed. Linnea Sinclair is one bigger name that comes to mind, along with Susan Grant. On the FF&P loop, Nina Pierce and others are actively writing in this genre.

Go ahead and write a great book, then let your publisher/agent stick a label on it.

Mary Vaughn said...

Great job on the word goal! Loved the groaner.

Genre is hard to tell any more. Bookstores each have their own places for things. I'm usually left wondering how they come up with the subs. Maybe you could check where others who write like you are filed -- online and in stores.

Maria Zannini said...

The others have already given you good advice. You're safe with Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal.

For what it's worth, at least from the last time I read it, I think it falls under SF with romantic elements.

SFR is alive and well.

PS Congrats on the word count!

Linda Leszczuk said...

Mason - Thanks on the word count. I felt good about making it.

Personally, I wouldn't care what sub-genre I fit into but everything I read says I have to identify my work by sub-genre when querying. I don't think "red head" would work. *grin*

Linda Leszczuk said...

Ah, Dru, you always appreciate a good groaner.

To be honest, I haven't seen a story quite like this one lately. I guess that's a good thing and a bad thing.

Linda Leszczuk said...

PK - Believe me, I wouldn't make that observation while trying to market it. But I like your suggestion, thanks.

Linda Leszczuk said...

Suzanne - Well, it's good to know I'm not missing something obvious at least. Thanks for commenting.

Linda Leszczuk said...

Cindy - Linnea Sinclair is a favorite of mine. I'll have to get familiar with Nina's work. Thanks for the tip.

As I mentioned in an earlier comment, I wouldn't care about the whole sub-genre thing so much except for the query letter problem. I can't let an agent/publisher pick a label if I need a label to get an agent/publisher. A bit of a catch 22.

Linda Leszczuk said...

Mary - Thanks on the groaner and the word goal.

One thing I have discovered as I get to know other authors (the published kind) is where the author thinks a book should go may vary from where the publisher thinks it should go and neither of those may be where the bookstore ends up placing it. Crazy, huh?

Linda Leszczuk said...

Thanks, Maria. It think SFR is probably my branch of the family tree.

Julianne said...

Hey Linda, I so know what you mean. I love the "Galaxy Far, Far Away" SF's and they seem dead, dead.

But, as for marketing your idea? As I understand it, Gini Koch's Aliens series is present day. But why not just move the date up a bit. Say six months to a year, then you could try marketing it as "Near Future". That seems to be hot right now. :)Or at least it was last summer when Donald Maass updated his "what we're looking for this month" page. Just a suggestion. Good luck!

Linda Leszczuk said...

Julianne - Thanks for the suggestion. I did toy with that idea at one point but I was afraid it might be too overdone right now. Maybe I'll re-visit the timeframe.