Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ages and Dilemmas

*we will be channeling the rejectionist today, to a certain degree*

Dear people, we are in a dilemma.  A dilemma of ages.  We wish to write this paranormal idea that we came up with a month ago.  We wish to finish it so it can be sold and that it can be the fulfillment of a dream.  We came to realize however that this hope is a false one.  We face a dilemma.  We face a book without a genre.  It is a book without a home in a bookstore.  It is not YA.  It is not adult.  It will get lost in the depths of the fantasy section of the bookstore.  Or it will get lost in the slush pile never to emerge from the deep shadows of 100 buildings.  You see, our characters are all adults.  They are not teenagers.  They are adults who do not engage in the sorts of activities which would make the book saleable to an adult audience.  Our characters are also not saleable in a YA market because they are over the magic age of 20.  But we cannot make it work to transform our characters into teenagers.  We fear our work is doomed to failure before it even gets fully realized.

You see, our research shows a general consensus on the internet that YA books must have characters between the ages of 12 and 18.  There may not be adults, or if there are their presence must be limited.  Conversations must be kept to a minimum.

It has been suggested to us that we stretch boundaries and create secret societies within NASA to enable our characters to be younger than they currently are.  But we fear this will cause our book to stray too far into the realm of a certain movie which we have only seen snippets of and wish to stay away from.  Besides which, our research also shows that you must be able to strip away the paranormal to return to everyday earth in order for it to be considered a paranormal.

Sigh, double sigh, and le sigh.

Works Referenced

YA Lit
Wikipedia: Children's Literature
Fiction Genre Definitions
List of Fiction Genres
Defining Genres: Where Does Your Book Fit? from Query Tracker
Wikipedia: Young Adult Fiction
From Picture books to YA: Information to Get You Started from Query Tracker
Michelle McClean on Genre Definitions from The Literary Lab
Tess Hilmo on Middle Grade Books from the Literary Lab

Now we see our dilemma and it is disheartening us.

That is all.


  1. I'm not sure what the answer is. My sons (and now my grandaughter) read the Dragon Lance books, which I think are labeled fantasy. The characters are mostly adult, yet the series appeals to teens.

    Bah, so many rules! I'm sure you'll find your place on the bookshelf:)

  2. I'm having a similar issue. I know my book has a genre, I just don't know what it's called.

    But I don't think worrying about your genre should stop you from writing it, NWA. Keep on keeping on! You never know how it will all come out in the end, and it might be that it fits very neatly in a genre that surprises you.

    Also: A good story will never get lost in the mire. People will find it and read it. Keep writing. You owe it to yourself to try.

  3. That's tough. I really don't have any suggestions for you, but I agree with L.T.; I wouldn't not write it because of the genre issue.

  4. Thanks everyone.

    I thought about it last night or this morning, I don't know which, and I think I'll just market it as straight fantasy and let it get lost in that section of the bookstore rather than worry about getting it into the teen section.

  5. Don't force the square peg in the round hole. If it's an adult book, that's okay. Just because it's adult doesn't mean that people have to be cursing and doing it all over the place. :)

  6. I've read authors who have mentioned that their book will go into the fiction section, but because it has appeal to young adults, the publisher will also make an attempt to market it to that audience.

    So don't despair! You might have to label the story to query it, but that doesn't mean that it's stuck in that box forever.

  7. Sorry no suggestions but I am wishing you luck

    Kate x

  8. Write what screams to be written. You never know, you could begin a new genre and writers everywhere will come out to play.

    Blessings to you...

  9. That's good to hear, Stephanie. Thanks for that.

    Thanks, Kate.

    Thanks, Tamika. Same to you.

  10. Keep going. Keep quarrying away at the idea. What you are searching for is a way to make your idea relatable and I have the feeling you're not totally set on writing it the way you've described. It's as if you need to do more research; not Google research or reading, but research inside yourself to understand the truth of the idea. You can still find a way to make this work, although it will be hard because you have chosen to start from a difficult angle. I've done this too and the result eventually got me an agent. Keep going.


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