Thursday, May 18, 2006

Q & A 13 Which genre?


I have finished a horror/fantasy novel. Is it better to query it as dark fantasy, or horror/fantasy? I don't want to make someone believe that I want to be the next Laurell K. Hamilton, when my work leans more towards Stephen King. How is horror doing these days?

Evil Editor always finds it cute when his minions come to him with questions to which they expect serious answers.

1. Anything you hear about what is hot and what is not is sure to become obsolete between the time you start writing your manuscript, and the time the publisher you spend three years finding finishes wasting another two years getting the book into print.

2. Your agent or editor would prefer that you write the first in a string of books that lean toward you, than the 20th book she's seen this morning that leans toward Stephen King.

3. You're asking if you should query your novel as something it isn't, in hopes of increasing the chances an editor will request it. The difference between dark fantasy and horror fantasy is zilch. Don't sweat the small stuff. Now, on the other hand, if you query your 800-page cyberpunk short story collection as a 300-page romance novel, hoping the editor will request it, and get far enough into your book to get hooked before realizing she's been duped, you're an idiot.

4. If you want any chance of selling your dark fantasy, add a relationship, a couple sex scenes, and a happy ending, and query it as paranormal romance.

5. The "K" in Laurell K. Hamilton? Kinky. (Sorry, L.K., but it had to come out, sooner or later.)

12 comments:

Lea said...

Why does the sub genre of a sub genre really matter? Isn't this putting the cart before the horse? Trying to figure out where in the store Barnes and Noble will stock your book before the book is even published seems a bit much. If there are fantasy elements in your novel, don't send it to someone who specializes in Westerns or Romance, but that is basically common semse (I would hope). Otherwise, I doubt an agent would throw it out (that is if the writing is any good) just because it's not the RIGHT type of fantasy.

December Quinn said...

Writing romance isn't anywhere near that easy, EE. I'm actually kind of shocked you would suggest that all a book needs is some sex and a happy ending and it'll do just nifty as a romance.

Evil Editor said...

Actually, what Evil Editor suggested was that paranormal romance sells better than horror, and that to market his horror novel as paranormal romance, the author was going to have to change the ending where the hero gets clawed to death by the mutant wolverine into one in which the heroine saves the hero from the creature. EE doesn't consider any kind of writing easy; if it were, they wouldn't pay writers to do it.

Anonymous said...

Evil Editor, I'm the original author of the e-mail sent to you. I read "some" paranormal romance, but I certainly don't want to write it. If a sex scene or relationship is needed in any of my works, I'll put them, but I HATE gratuitous sex for no reason. It takes away from all of my gratuitous violence! My novel is only the first of a proposed series. It was going to be a stand-alone novel, but after a well-known horror writer suggested to me that I should make it a series, after he read my first chapter, I decided to take his advice. Thank you evil editor! This was my first question to you, but it certainly won't be the last!!

Anonymous said...

Well, actually Lea, I was not trying to figure out "where" the novel would fit in Barnes and Noble, or anywhere else. A professional horror writer told me to query it to agents as dark fantasy, and I asked Evil Editor did it matter. That's it. By the way, Evil Editir, I'm a girl!!! LOL!

Evil Editor said...

Let's hope, miss, that you didn't take my suggestion that you convert your book to paranormal romance seriously. Anymore than you want the paranormal romance writers out there to think you're seriously suggesting the sex in their novels is gratuitous. That sex scenes make it into so many romance novels may be attributed in some part to the fact that sex makes it into so many romances.

Lea said...

The point I was trying to make, Anon Author of Query, was that trying to find a label for your book is much less important than the writing in the actual book. Even if a professional writer gave you this suggestion, I would think that the label doesn't really matter unless the writing is good enough to catch an agent or editor's interest.

Anonymous said...

Nah. I was referring to gratuitous sex in horror novels. I actually love Cristine Feehan and Dara Joy. No, EE, I did not take you seriously. Come on, I was warned by Miss Snark that you were hilarious!

Eagle Eyed Minion said...

Lea, I am aware that the writing is the bottom line, but I chose to ask EE that question because I am nearing the query stage. The writing AND the plot will hold its own. I just wanted to know what all the hype was about with the sub-genres to begin with, and EE informed me, so...I have clarity.

Brenda Bradshaw said...

No scene should ever be "gratuitous", regardless of if it's a sex scene or a violence scene. It should move the story forward in some way. Paranormal romance is HUGE right now - so if you could add a sex scene/love interest AND it would move the plot forward and help with character growth, it'd be a smart move, I think. But in the end, you have to remain true to the story - and only you know if those suggestions are worth taking a shot on and making the changes or not.

SpecRom Joyce said...

Dear Original Query Author:

To add all kinds of quandry to your quandry-field, there are a growing number of us out here looking to read romantic horror. We're looking for the double emotional sucker punch of terrified screams and love-stricken sighs.

Cheryl Mills said...

Ohhh...Joyce Ellen, I have one of those. Steam, screams and chills. Is a HEA ending required?

*off to polish it up*