What do you write?A question I dread.Looking at a list of fiction genres and all the sub-genres can be daunting and I have to stop and ask myself a few questions.How will readers see my writing?How do I?Is there a clear answer to where it fits?What about agents, publishers or editors?The last thing I want is to look unedumacated when I toss out queries!If I can’t clearly communicate what I write how am I supposed to entice someone to pass up a tried and true author for me?Unlike this piece you’re reading, I need something concise, not something that begs explanation.When can I read it, is the only question a writer wants to hear.
One of my beta readers describes my writing as urban fantasy, another paranormal fantasy, at least both agree on the fantasy part.I agree also, preferring contemporary fantasy.
In my observations of library patrons—I work in a small library in my off time-fantasy conjures up a Tolkienesque setting or fairy tales.Simply using the word brings on a glazed look of disinterest or the I’d drown if it rained raised nose and a brusque I don’t read things like that.I have to keep my eyebrows in check and bite my tongue as they slap the latest Nora Roberts’ on the counter.I smile sweetly dying to point out that Ms. Roberts has used witches, vampires, ghosts and other fantastical characters and situations in many of her books.Including this one and the book they just brought back!
When you add the word contemporary, some fantasy readers attempt to take the literary high road.Clutching a Sword of Truth novel, they sermonize as to why that isn’t true fantasy.I highly doubt Terry, be it Goodkind or Brooks, would be inclined to agree with this opinion.Especially since Brooks has written a few himself, but don’t bother pointing that out.Trust me, I’ve even planted the books in their hands and they refuse to take that bend in the road.
Those who read urban fantasy or paranormal romance seem to be able to get a grasp on the concept.The problem I have here is many urban fantasy lovers expect Philip Marlow dropped in a supernatural setting, a la Dresden Files.On the other hand, most paranormal romance readers want hearts and roses to be the focus, with action as background, hence the word romance.My setting is nowhere as gritty or dark as most urbans and the romance takes a back seat.So where does that leave me?
After reading definition after definition, I’ll stick with contemporary fantasy.I write in the here and now, twisting the natural world into something supernatural, populating it with fantastical characters stuck in situations usually of the magical variety.There, I’ve said it, that’s what I write!But you know what?I’m perfectly happy with whatever the readers want to call it, as long as they’re reading!