What is the Genre of your Novel?

Yesterday I was finally been able to sit down to write after almost a week of chaos. Two of the goats on the farm I live at kidded this weekend, leaving me with four cute factories running around the barn. The moms are taking care of them very well, thank goodness, but one has triplets so we’ve been lending a hand to make sure all her babies are doing well. The little girl out of the bunch likes my fiancee’s lap the most:


Yes, I’ve been dealing with that cuteness for the past few days!

Anyway, I am attempting to get back on writing track, and obviously, to blog. I’ve gotten feedback from my first beta reader, and she’s absolutely loving my manuscript: she read it in two days, when usually she’s a slow reader who takes her time. We excitedly discussed plot, characters, and style non-stop for almost two hours straight.

So that was very encouraging, and I have a few more beta readers who are going to get their copies here shortly. I’m pretty motived anyway, but it’s making me feel a lot more encouraged to work on the second book, as well as working on lots of agent/editor research.

In slightly off topic but relatable news, I’ve recently run into a bit of an issue: I’m not sure the genre of my novel. It’s fantasy, for sure, with lots of magic. But then there are decent Steampunk elements; for example, advanced technology in a Victorian-like society. But my story doesn’t actually take place in the 1800’s – I’ve redone history with some big twists so it’s actually “current day” with advanced technology and Victorian era traditions. I hesitate to describe it as “Alternative History” because of the heavy amount of fantasy, and because I don’t think I’m anywhere near someone like Diana Gabaldon’s level of research.

Sooo I’m back to the simple “General Fantasy” genre… I just feel it’s more than that, and doesn’t cover enough of what my story is to really cut it. Currently my query doesn’t have a precise genre, but instead a fancier “a mix between this author and this author, appealing to fans who like their fantasy A, B, and C,” etc. I think it’s working decently well for it’s purposes, but I’m still are little perplexed. Before, when I read about agents complaining about authors who mis-identify their genre, I didn’t think it applied to me because the manuscript I worked on before was more cut and dry. But now… it’s looking like my problem.

What do you think? Are you have problems identifying your genre because of it’s odd little quirks? Do you have an idea of what my novel sounds like? Or maybe some advice on how to tackle this in a query? (Or do you want to squeee over the picture of the baby above?)

About R. K. Brainerd

I've been writing since my pre-teens, mostly in the realm of fantasy and sci-fi. Taking interesting concepts and dropping complex characters into fantastical worlds is my jam. I also raise dairy goats and herd cats, the evidence of which can be found on my Instagram. Welcome to the adventure. View all posts by R. K. Brainerd

9 responses to “What is the Genre of your Novel?

  • D.I. Ozier

    For a lot of writers whose work is genre-bending (like yours seems to be), picking the genre that best fits can be a challenge. Like you say, picking the right genre before you start querying agents is especially important. Can you think of any writers who does work similar to yours?

    From what you describe, it sounds like alternate history > historical fantasy, in the vein of Dianna Wynne Jones’s Chrestomanci books, John M. Ford’s The Dragon Waiting, Vonda N. McIntyre’s The Moon and the Sun, and Randall Garrett’s Lord Darcy books…though without reading it, I can’t be sure. I hope this is helpful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aspire to Fly

      I can think of a few that ring similarly, but generally it’s for one element or another. (This could totally be me being too picky) But I will definitely go check out your suggestions and see what they’re all about! Thank you for your comment and help!


  • cogpunksteamscribe

    Reblogged this on Cogpunk Steamscribe and commented:
    shared for the musings about genre, but I also like the image of the sleeping kid.


  • Thomas M. Watt

    Your novel sounds eerily similar to my own, which incorporates Edwardian style clothing and housing in a western world that includes a few modern-day technologies. I’d currently classify mine as steam-punk fantasy with a few elements of magical realism. Problem is, it loosely parallels biblical story lines, but I don’t feel right in classifying it as a Christian novel.

    Must be cool to live on a farm, kinda wish I did.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aspire to Fly

      We’ll start our own genre! Lol. And the biblical elements can be really neat, following theological lines and what not. Do you mean paralleling certain stories or following theological elements?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thomas M. Watt

        Paralleling certain stories, but symbolically and subtly. For example:

        Adam, the main character in my other “Way of the World” novel, breaks a vial of water given to him by the King over his angry decision pursue Evelynn rather than observe the King’s orders. Without the water, he cannot return to the Island of Paradise.

        Adam = first man
        Evelynn = Eve (first woman)
        King = God
        Island of Paradise = Garden of Eden

        Also note, it was Evelynn who tempted Adam to disobey the King’s orders, and once he does he is no longer capable of returning to paradise.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Aspire to Fly

        Huh, okay! That sounds more overt than subtle, but it’s an interesting story at the very least. Are you going to go somewhere different with the “lesson” of the story?


  • Thomas M. Watt

    Yes. Michael and Adam each get their own novel, and their plots have separate themes.

    Michael’s story is about his quest to find and kill the man responsible for forcing him to become a cold-blooded murderer when he was only a child.

    He assumes the person responsible is Sylvester (Satan), but comes to discover it was Kingsley (God). The major events during which Michael killed for Kingsley are based on biblical events where angels annihilated thousands of people for disobeying God’s commands.

    Ultimately, Michael is going to decide who he fights for – Kingsley, Sylvester, or himself.

    Liked by 1 person

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: