Thursday, November 21, 2013

November 21st Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina – 

Good Morning! In an effort to keep my sanity and my good mood this morning, I avoided reading any FB posts (unless they were comments/replies on my site), and decided to read posts on one of the NaNoWriMo forums instead.

One participant posted a very good question. She wanted to know if her story should be categorized as a ROMANCE or not. She thought she was writing a fantasy, but then she became confused because the main characters (MC) fell in love and are going to have a happily ever after (HEA).

Here’s what I told her:

It can easily be marketed as a romantic fantasy or a paranormal romance. It is very difficult not to have a sub-genre anymore when you are dealing with a romance, and often times the story could easily fit into several sub-genres. That is where things get a little murky when you try to categorize your story.

I'll use my 2nd novel, Taking Chances, as an example:

MCs fall in love and have a HEA - ROMANCE Novel

Takes place in the 1800s - HISTORICAL ROMANCE Novel

Set in England in the 1800s - GEORGIAN or REGENCY ROMANCE Novel

1 MC works for a covert branch of the British Government (spies, murder, mayham, you name it) - ROMANTIC SUSPENSE or ROMANTIC THRILLER Novel

1 MC has the power of precognition - PARANORMAL ROMANCE Novel

MCs solve a Da Vinci worthy puzzle - ROMANTIC MYSTERY Novel

See what I mean? Each and every facet is an integral part to the whole story, so where do we put it? When we published, we decided the category should be Historical Romance with the blurb on the back of the book hinting at all the sub-sub-sub-sub-genres.

Just keep writing and don't worry about pigeon holing your story. If your publisher is worth a grain of salt, he'll figure out how to market your book.

After I hit submit, I realized I had forgotten a category. The story isn’t real, so FICTION, and that needs to be the main classification. One story, seven pigeon holes where it fits. Is it a wonder why authors get a little confused when asked, “what genre is your book?” My response is, “Because my stories have happy endings, I fall under the ROMANCE umbrella.”

The whole classification of books thing is a double edged sword. True, if you have a passion for mysteries let’s say, it is easy for you to go to the mystery section and make your selection. However, to use the example above, Taking Chances, is very much a mystery, but since it is categorized as a historical romance, you would never even look at it. Is it miscategorized? No. It, just like so many other books out there, falls into a variety of categories, so no pigeon hole is an exact fit.

Just short of releasing a book several times, once for each appropriate classification, authors are stuck. I believe there should only be two classifications FICTION and NON-FICTION, and then the blurb on the back of the book would tell the reader if it is a story he or she would like to read.

True, this idea would put a different level of stress on the author. They would have to make sure they have a killer cover to initially attract the reader’s eye, and then they would need to make the blurb on the back of the book so compelling the reader craves more. Now these are things authors should be doing anyway, but …

Okay, enough on the trials and tribulations of being an author. I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Oh, don’t forget, I’m leaving to go pick up my daughter from school tomorrow, so unless I wake up at 4:00 am, there won’t be a blog entry tomorrow. If I do happen to wake up early, there will be a blog entry, but there won’t be a writing challenge. The same holds true for Saturday.

Your Last Challenge (this idea hatched from the lists which have been popping up on FB these past two weeks):

Tell a little or unknown true story about something strange or unusual that happened to you.

Roughly fourteen years ago, I was sound asleep in my bed when I felt a hand on my shoulder shaking me awake. I sat up and looked around. My bedroom door was closed, my infant daughter was sound asleep next to me, and my husband was snoring away next to her. There was no one else in the room.

Figuring I just didn’t wake up quickly enough and the person who woke me left, I got up and went to find whoever needed me. I opened one bedroom door and looked in. Both my daughter and my mother, she was staying with us at the time while her house was being built, were sound asleep. I quietly close the door. Next I go to check on my son, but I stop short of opening his door because I can hear him snoring right through it.

Okay, what the heck? As bizarre as it sounds, there was only one other option, it had to be our resident ghost. I know, you are rolling your eyes right now, but hear me out.

Ever since we moved into the house, we had had strange things happen. My pots and lids would fall off of the rack where I was keeping them, cabinet and regular doors would open and close at will, lights would go on and off on their own, and all of us had caught movement out of the corner of our eye, turned toward it, and no one would be there. The baby would be laughing and babbling at thin air, or she would stop crying and be laughing in the few seconds it took me to get to her.

We just assumed it was the previous owner’s husband, Larry, who we knew had died a few years before we purchased the property, but after doing a little digging, I found out that Larry did not die in the house, but his father-in-law had. Now, this man was not the owner’s father, but her step father who had no biological children of his own, and he didn’t marry Althea’s mother until Althea was in her late teens. The owners, Larry and Althea had no children of their own. My children were the first children in our house, the first chance this man had at being a grandpa.

Okay, my ten minutes are up, but I figured you would yell at me if I didn’t finish the story.

Obviously I was woken up for a reason, so I went and explored the house. I even went into the basement, nothing. I was just about to go back to bed when I decided to check one last place. I open the interior door to our garage and look out. Sure enough, my husband forgot to close the garage door before he went to bed. I grumble, “I can’t believe you woke me up because the garage door was open.”

At dinner that night, I tell the family what had happened to me the night before. My kids take it at face value, my husband rolls his eyes, and I have no idea what my mother is thinking because she doesn’t say a word.

The following evening, my husband comes home and tosses the newspaper at me. When I ask him why, he tells me to read the article he marked. Turns out the night I was woken up to close our garage door was the night three houses on our street had been broken into and robbed.

(It turns out a friend of mine from high school, Merrill, is married to Larry and Althea’s nephew. Merrill – if you happen to be reading today’s blog, please chime in and verify my story.)


Your Next Challenge is:


Write a story with the following three elements: a wicked storm is brewing, you lose power, and there are young children with you.


You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.