Today is March's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.
Why am I an Insecure Writer this month?
Because I don't know which genre I should use to describe my story.
I mean, that’s kind of weird, right? Not knowing what genre my story falls into? It’s not as if I’m writing some sort of weird crossover that’s never been done before. It’s straight fantasy about a college freshman who suddenly finds herself thrust into the middle of an alchemical war that’s been secretly raging on Earth for nearly a millennium. There’s no magic, but these alchemists have the power to manipulate chemical elements.
My original thought was that it would be considered urban fantasy. However, these days it seems that urban fantasy falls into one of two camps. Either the protagonist is female and she’s a demon/vampire/werewolf/etc slayer in a world full of paranormal creatures or he’s a male warlock, usually with a checkered past who needs to fight some terrible evil to redeem himself. And I’m a little concerned that if I call my book an urban fantasy, people will be expecting something my book is not.
My story does have subatomic-sized creatures (the ones responsible for the manipulation of elements), so some writers might classify my story as paranormal fantasy. In fact, according to this post, the main thing that differentiates urban fantasy and paranormal fantasy is the presence of magic. Since there is no magic in my story, that would make it paranormal fantasy.
Heck, I’ve even considered just calling it science fantasy, since I basically take one fantastical element (the subatomic beings) and weave a story around them using science to work out most of the rules and consequences. But I’m not sure if anyone uses the term science fantasy any more.
This may seem like needless worrying, but book covers these days are highly dependent on the genre and if my cover gives the readers the wrong impression, they won’t be happy.
Let's move on to the IWSG question of the day.
How do you celebrate when you achiever a writing goal / finish a story?
Since I haven’t finished a story, I can’t answer that part of the question yet. As far as smaller goals are concerned, every time I finish a submission for my critique group, I consider that a victory. I celebrate by allowing myself a little time to work on my fan fiction. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine, and as such, feels like a reward.
So how would you classify my story?