Oh Genre! That beautiful French word that basically pigeon-holes authors into a particular type of writing.
Some of us are romance writers, some are thriller writers, some specialize in Regency zombie mysteries that always contain a yummy recipe. Genres are important simply because readers need to know what to expect from you. Agents like genres because if they do get to pitch your work, they need to know how to describe it. And if you attaching key words to your self-published title, genre can help you out.
But what if you don’t know your genre?
There are lots of ways to find out. You can read this informative article from Rock Your Writing. You can go over to Write To Done and take in their advice about genre.
Or, you can take the quiz below. It promises to be silly and probably way more fun. Just in time for Halloween!
Get a pencil ready! You’ll need to keep your score!
1. Your definition of success is:
A. Someone meets you at a convention and they are dressed just like your good looking, but slightly manical commander.
B. Your pure bred poodles, named Barbara, Danielle and Jackie, all now have customized down beds with solid gold monograms.
C. Nathan Fillion is the first actor on board for the straight to DVD film version.
D. Your biggest fans send you e-mails confessing that their moods have improved from angst-ridden to just a little cranky.
E. No one has ever heard of you.
2. Your protagonist’s name is:
B: Alexandria Culpepper Montgomery O’Hara Von Snipple.
C. Max or Cal or Van (hard consonant sound, one syllable).
D. Isabelle (but you prefer to called Izzy).
E. Your protagonist is unnamed until the last chapter and then it turns out to be a tiger with a purple head that represents freedom.
3. One of the conflicts involves a:
A. Flux Capacitor.
B. Firing the maid, who turns out to be the illegitimate of the landscaper that you just saw with his shirt off.
C. Terrorist plot, a paper clip and an unending supply of cell phones.
D. Popularity contests, cheerleaders who are always mean and possibly of getting your period.
E. Conflict? Only if you mean conflict like the air might struggle to enter our lungs type of way.
4. On the cover of your book you have a:
A. Galaxy, probably the artists’ interpretation of the Bellavue 2000.
B. A chiseled, tanned and shirtless man with really long hair, and lots of pink, swirly letters.
C. Something pointy, like a dagger, or fingernails, or pointy fingernails that drip blood.
D. A girl looking very sad, with eyelashes so long that they are biologically impossible.
E. A Cover? Covers are so 2009. Readers who won’t read the Kindle version don’t deserve you.
5. The main setting of your book is a:
A. Either a planet that has not yet been discovered or a starship in the shape of a nightlight.
B. A castle that is cold and drafty enough to have blazing fires in the hearths, but not so cold that you would object to having a bodice ripped.
C. A dark street alley that for some explicable reason never, ever sees sunlight.
D. A middle school, where all the teachers are self-righteous narcissists, except for one who is really, really dreamy.
E. A metaphor, naturally. It’s completely explained on page 89, which, if you know anything, is a symbol of the fall of the Berlin Wall. So, duh, it’s Cuba.
6. Your average reader:
A. Lives at home, in a dark room, and has spent more money on graphic novels than on real life outings with members of the opposite sex.
B. Owns more than one pair of black stretch pants.
C. Suspects that they have an implant in their brain, put there by the government, and considers income taxes optional.
D. Writes really bad poetry, or picks at the blemishes on their face, or does both simultaneously.
E. Has never seen a cow, except on packages of free range, grain fed, hormone free, cruelty free packages at Whole Foods. That is, if they dare to eat meat.
7. If your wip were an article of clothing, it would be:
A. A Starfleet uniform.
B. A feather boa.
C. A wool suit in need of dry cleaning.
D. An old v-neck t-shirt with a vintage decal on it.
E. Driving mocassins from Orvis.
8. The word that you have to delete out of your wip the most frequently is:
E. Almost always written in French
9. The worst advice your non-writer friends have given you about your writing was:
A. That your characters should have feelings.
B. That your characters should have jobs.
C. That your characters should smile once in a while.
D. That your character should grow out of it.
E. That dialogue should possibly start before page 321.
10. You’ve just optioned film rights. Your agent talked to the director and they pitch your movie as:
A. Battlestar Galactica meets Twilight
B. When Harry Met Sally meets Dangerous Liasons
C. The Bourne Identity meets CSI
D. Glee meets Gilmore Girls
E. Completely unmarketable in the U.S. You take this as a compliment.
11. You just deleted this line of dialogue because it was totally unrealistic for your protagonist:
A: “I’m not really into risk taking. Darn. I just broke a nail.”
B. “You know, marriage is hard work. I think I’m just going to see a therapist and take up gardening.”
C. “I would rather someone with jurisdiction handle this problem. I’m calling the police. They’d love to have this case. I’m a nobody.”
D. “My parents are so full of good advice. I’ll listen to them.”
E. “Do we have enough beer for the NASCAR race?”
Congratulations! You so close to world wide fame! Now, let’s tally!
Mostly A’s: You like the Sci-Fi! You have a strong opinion about the use of the term Sci-Fi and there is at least one room in your house devoted to Gene Roddenberry.
Mostly B’s: Cue the violin music! You are a Romance writer! You believe in true love, that getting “cuddly” on the beach is more fun than uncomfortable, and that all stories have happy endings.
Mostly C’s: You’re a Thriller writer! If you look at this blog carefully, there is a secret message, possibly fromYou Know Who, if you decode every 64th letter.
Mostly D’s: There is something hopeful, poetic and pure about being a Young Adult novelist. If nothing else, it gives you an excuse to read your daughter’s diary — you know, for research.
Mostly E’s: As if you even had to take this quiz . . . you are a literary writer! For each dime you spent on that high-priced MFA, you’ve taken ten steps away from Book of The Month Club. Your next work might be written in a language that you’ve made up.
We live in a literary world that likes to categorize.
If you don’t fit into any of these categories, or any of the genres that you might find at your local Barnes & Noble, you might want to find another resource besides this humble blog to help you. (Although, stay tuned, we might do something serious about this topic later!)
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