It's not fantasy. It's modern with some magic. What genre?

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ryanznock
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It's not fantasy. It's modern with some magic. What genre?

Post by ryanznock » July 11th, 2010, 4:04 pm

I'm coming across a lot of agents that say no to fantasy, but are okay with 'supernatural.' Now, 'supernatural' is a term I usually see paired up with 'romance,' and while my novel has romance, there's also adventure. It's a road trip in the real world where two characters encounter magical things and fall in love. But neither of them is a vampire/werewolf/faerie/mummy/chupacabra. They're just people.

When pitching to these agents, do I call my novel supernatural, supernatural romance, supernatural modern adventure, urban fantasy? Or do I lie to myself and call it 'literary magical realism'? (I don't think Gabriel Garcia Marquez ever had characters delve into a pirate video game as an excuse for having a high-seas action sequence.)

Suggestions?

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HillaryJ
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Re: It's not fantasy. It's modern with some magic. What genre?

Post by HillaryJ » July 11th, 2010, 5:55 pm

Some agents call this paranormal or supernatural, but I think those are their catch-all designations.

I'd say that the Genus is speculative fiction and the Species is likely urban fantasy. UF can contain romance, but romance isn't the driver of the characters' motivation.

If an agent says they don't take "fantasy" but do take paranormal, then call it a paranormal for that agent.
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ryanznock
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Re: It's not fantasy. It's modern with some magic. What genre?

Post by ryanznock » July 11th, 2010, 9:38 pm

Thanks. That's a perfectly rational and reasonable answer, but I'm sure I'm like many authors in that I become irrationally worried when it comes to getting my stuff published.

Urban fantasy/paranormal it is!

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Re: It's not fantasy. It's modern with some magic. What genre?

Post by HillaryJ » July 12th, 2010, 2:01 am

The query process is enough to drive any sane person mad, and most writers don't start entirely sane... :)
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Down the well
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Re: It's not fantasy. It's modern with some magic. What genre?

Post by Down the well » July 12th, 2010, 9:49 am

HillaryJ wrote:The query process is enough to drive any sane person mad, and most writers don't start entirely sane... :)
I'm still laughing at the truth of that statement. Cackling, actually.

And, Ryan, I think Hillary is right about calling it urban fantasy. It's a big enough umbrella to cover what you've described. Good luck with it.

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Re: It's not fantasy. It's modern with some magic. What genre?

Post by bcomet » July 12th, 2010, 12:19 pm

ryanznock wrote:When pitching to these agents, do I call my novel supernatural, supernatural romance, supernatural modern adventure, urban fantasy? Or do I lie to myself and call it 'literary magical realism'?
I agree that it is really hard to classify and can be frustrating.

I tried forever to find out what "Life of Pi" was classified as. It seems religious, fantasy, magic realism, adventure, literary...

In the end I'd go with literary magical realism on "Pi" but I think that conclusion is also due to how literarily it was received.

I agree with the comment above that you may want to alter the genre depending on agent.

Best of luck and, for what it's worth, I love mixed genres.

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Re: It's not fantasy. It's modern with some magic. What genre?

Post by LSimon » July 22nd, 2010, 12:22 am

The difference between Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy is the HEA (Happily Ever After). If at the end you have two people who are in love and have ever reason to think that they will forever be that way - it is PR. If not UF.

This is pretty much exactly what Ginjer Buchanan said to me at the WRW Retreat this past spring. Hope it helps.

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Re: It's not fantasy. It's modern with some magic. What genre?

Post by wetair » July 22nd, 2010, 8:42 pm

If they encounter magical things and fall in love, I guess I would call it paranormal romance. Especially if the romance is the main story, you know?

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