As previously noted, I self-identify (heh) as a mystery writer. Everything I write has a mystery component to it. After all, isn't Life just one big ole dang mystery?
So, as far as I'm concerned, I write mysteries. The reader, the publisher, the booksellers, the Library of Congress might slap some other genre tag on there. Doesn't matter much to me - at least, not so far. I even came across a website recently that had SHADOW POINT tagged as "aunt fiction." Who knew there even was such a thing? It's true, the protagonist of SHADOW POINT is an aunt (at age 28) and her relationship with her 5 year old niece is a big chunk of the story. Other chunks being ghosts, murder, romance and an English bulldog. (romance AND an English bulldog, not romance WITH an English bulldog)
Aunt fiction... what a weird categorization. Is there some subculture of people out there obsessed with aunts? Well... probably.
I'm having genre-related thoughts lately, because I'm wondering a little bit if my work-in-progress, The Post-Apocalyptic Young Adult (PAYA) tale, is really turning out to be YA. Or is it simply a story about two 17 year olds (aka YAs) struggling to survive in a dangerous PA world?
And the answer is: I don't care. (at least, not so far) I think lots of teenagers read stories written for adults, and vice versa. I certainly DO care about writing the best, rip-roaring-est, exciting adventure tale I can. And it's coming along. I went back to page 38 this morning to add one more sentence (I cannot hope to STOP myself from rewriting and revising and self-editing, I can only hope to mitigate it) and found myself caught up in a scene, even wondering for a split second what would happen on page 39! You dummy - you WROTE page 39. Oh, yeah.
That bit on page 38 is from a chapter currently (and, if you knew the context, ominously!) entitled "The Apple Tree." Here are 2 sentences: "The birds, which had grown quieter and quieter as we squabbled, suddenly all took flight as if there'd been a silent signal. I think we all jumped."
Hey, that was the first public bit of PAYA! Aka THE BOOK OF KELL. Woo hoo.
Defining YA is a bit tricky. Most folks seem to agree it includes fiction written for young adults with a young adult as the protagonist. After that, the definitions get a bit fuzzy.
I guess I'll worry about writing the book first, then decide how I feel about the genre. After all, I think I once described SHADOW POINT as a MysteGhoRo or something like that. (mystery/ghost story/romance) Maybe THE BOOK OF KELL will turn out to be a Post-Apocalyptic Provocative Adventure Young Adult story - a PAPAYA!