Genre

I don’t really have a genre that I write in, and that seems to be not quite the thing to do if you want to be a published author. Of the four books I have written, the genres have been – urban fantasy, thriller, coming of age drama and mystery.

Of those four, I will eventually pursue mystery. I also have one novel I would quite like to write which is more a comedy.

I think I am more pulled towards story than I am actual genre. That’s how I ended up writing an urban fantasy. I don’t read urban fantasy, or any kind of fantasy, really. I just wrote the story and then later on, I discovered what the genre was.

Thriller and mystery is more my thing, and I think the two of them have a nice symbiosis. Here is a nice link if you’re interested in what the difference is between them.

As for comedy, I did try that and it ended up being a high jinx caper. Which I ended up rewriting and it became the coming of age drama. But the part of the story that was the high jinx caper, that’s definitely on the back burner for another day.

My own favorite genre is literary. But I don’t write it. It’s too hard, to be honest. I have tried, and might try again. You need to have a lot more confidence, I feel, and I am not quite there just yet.

Word count

It’s easy to get bogged down in word count for novels.

My recent research informed me that 80,000 is the minimum word count an agent will consider, for general and commercial fiction. There are other limits for other genres and here is a nice guide:

https://manuscriptagency.com.au/word-count-by-genre-how-long-should-my-book-be/#:~:text=NOVEL%3A%20A%20manuscript%20over%2040%2C000,between%2060%2C000%20and%20100%2C000%20words.

80k is a lot of words when you’re starting out. It’s also a lot of if your style is concise and economical.

It’s a shame that writers are encouraged to meet these long word counts. The Business side of it is clear- readers want to feel they are getting VFM. But, on the creative side, it leaves a lot to be desired.

Many great novels have been much less than 80,000 words. The Great Gatsby, for one. Here’s a nice guide to great novels that came in under 80K:

https://www.wikiwrimo.org/wiki/List_of_50,000_Word_Novels

I did go through an attempt at writing my novels to this word count, but some of the stories just did not lend themselves to such a word length. I ended up with even more ridiculous plots than I already had and was trying to escape from.

There are some nice guides out there with tips how to get that novel to the magic 80K:

I think the above could work, but I would rather approach a novel with those tips in mind, rather than work backwards and expand.

So, what I did, I tried to find a story that would take 80k words, and tell that one. I decided to go for the mystery genre, my first actual genre fiction, too.

The hope is that this story might be the one that gets picked up by an agent and then all my earlier novels might have a chance of seeing the published light of day.