As is obvious, I’ve been neglecting my blog the past week. The really great, terrific, unbelievable news is that I got the first draft of my current major project done. 96k words which is about 20k over my first goal, but still a good range for a ummm…sci-fi-ish sort of book.
Genre is a really tough thing to call anymore. Even my own stuff. The protagonist of Collateral Damage is a 17 year old kid named Spencer. He’s talented (but not “Super” like his dad) and he gets thrown in over his head every other page as he tries to unintentionally fill his Dad’s shoes and save his family from the menace of a super villain. Because of his age, a lot of people reading it seem to think it’s YA.
I’ll be honest, I never intended it to be a YA book. At its heart, it is a commentary on war – sort of Ender’s Game-ish (nowhere on that level, but hey it’s a first try) which always confused me with the recent “YA” tag. Young protagonists don’t always mean young audiences intended.
I’ve been on this Del Toro kick lately, so I’ll bring up Pan’s Labyrinth for like the hundredth time this month. (In fact check out my review of Del Toro’s recent movie, Mama over at Speculative Edge). In Pan’s, the protagonist is a 12 year old girl and that dark fantasy is not a movie made for “tweens”.
I’m calling my book “sci-fi” for now mainly because it doesn’t have elves, it has future tech, and it does something good sci-fi always strives to do – it asks about the repercussions of scientific advance. For properly done sci-fi in my opinion, all the tech is bells and whistles used to explore accepted societal norms and see where things bend, expand, or break.
But yeah, it’s a Super-Hero book, not hard sci-fi, so there’s plenty of “fantasy” but that’s an even stickier label to start throwing around.
The genre/age thing is really tricky; I agree. Someone tried to tell me that my first novel was YA since the protagonist is 12, which just made me laugh. It is simultaneously the most graphic horror and some of the deepest literary fiction that I’ve written — definitely not for anyone but adults. Who knows what the answer is to that business, but CONGRATULATIONS on finishing the first draft of your first novel! What an accomplishment. I hope you go celebrate tonight!
Thanks for the congrats! Got some interesting advice from a published author this weekend at the con. She said worry about pitching the story, the marketing department sorta selects the genre if you go with a big house anyway. I’m cool with that, ultimately what I want to do is tell the story I want to tell. Labels and what-not can come later. If it is deemed YA, many publishers have a YA imprint – it has gotten so huge they can’t ignore it.