Author Topic: What genre would you describe this as?  (Read 483 times)  

Offline georgiana89

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What genre would you describe this as?
« on: January 06, 2018, 07:34:46 AM »
I'm usually pretty good with genres. I've previously written a paranormal romance/urban fantasy trilogy and a YA fantasy - all fairly straightforward. But my latest, as yet unpublished, manuscript is a bit of an odd one. Obviously it's tricky for anyone to say definitely without reading the whole thing, but from this description, what would you say?

In 2030, a military dictatorship governs Britain, led by the First Lord of the Treasury, Julien St John Helmsley. Julien is charming, charismatic, and utterly ruthless, particularly towards the resistance group known as the Treaty.

Melanie Bonham, a member of the Treaty and enemy of the state, volunteers for a deadly mission. She must become the First Lords mistress, learn his secrets, and then assassinate him. Failure would mean torture, death, and vicious retaliation against the rebels, but success would restore democracy.

But Melanie has a secret that no one in the Treaty suspects: once, she was Juliens beloved but equally merciless wife, Marianne Helmsley. Five years previously, after a furious disagreement with her husband, she faked her death and fled to the Treaty in disguise. Instead of sneaking into the Regimes stronghold, she makes a triumphant return as the long-lost First Lady, claiming the rebels have held her prisoner for years. Still in love with the man shes meant to kill and tempted by absolute power, Marianne must choose between freeing the country and breaking her heart or ruling at Juliens side and losing her soul before both sides seek to execute her as a traitor.

Offline C. Gold

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Re: What genre would you describe this as?
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2018, 08:06:28 AM »
Military dictatorship that's not good for the people in the future - sounds sci-fi dystopian to me. Definitely speculative fiction. Here's some possible ideas from The Handmaid's Tale:

    #1 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Dystopian
    #1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Contemporary Fiction > Fantasy
    #1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Dystopian

Offline Sapphire

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Re: What genre would you describe this as?
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2018, 08:39:17 AM »
I'm no genre expert, but where's the science fiction in this book description? Am I missing something?


Offline georgiana89

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Re: What genre would you describe this as?
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2018, 09:28:41 AM »
Military dictatorship that's not good for the people in the future - sounds sci-fi dystopian to me. Definitely speculative fiction.

I'm no genre expert, but where's the science fiction in this book description? Am I missing something?

See that's the thing. Between the two of you (thanks for your replies) you've pretty much summed up my internal debate. I agree that because it's set in the future and doesn't 100% reflect the real world, speculative fiction makes sense. But it's only a few years into the future and things aren't very different. There's no aliens, space travel or crazy science. It's just the UK, more or less like it is today, but with a dictator ruling the country. And it's a fairly realistic dictatorship, which doesn't do anything super weird - more like the set up in North Korea or Syria than something out of the Hunger Games. I suppose most of that's true for the Handmaid's Tale too though, that's not a bad comparator.

My other main alternative would be to call it a thriller, but I'm not sure it's quite action-packed enough. With a few exceptions, the pace is more House of Cards than 24. I also think that by default, you'd expect a thriller to more or less reflect the real world.

The romantic angle is also pretty central to the plot, but I definitely wouldn't call it a romance.

Online Rob Martin

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Re: What genre would you describe this as?
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2018, 09:39:11 AM »
Definately not SciFi. I'd call it dystopian as well. It reminds me of V for Vendetta.

Online Talia Vines

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Re: What genre would you describe this as?
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2018, 09:49:58 AM »
I'm intrigued by your blurb!  FWIW, since you mentioned HOUSE OF CARDS, I nosed around, and it turns out the show was based on a book by the same name by Michael Dobbs.  It's listed as:


    #705 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Political
    #1142 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > TV, Movie, Video Game Adaptations
    #1442 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Spies & Politics > Political


Not sure if it's an exact match, but may be helpful as you narrow down your genre.  Good luck!
« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 09:52:08 AM by Talia Vines »

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Offline C. Gold

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Re: What genre would you describe this as?
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2018, 09:56:09 AM »
Definately not SciFi. I'd call it dystopian as well. It reminds me of V for Vendetta.
I don't think you can get dystopian without science fiction in Amazon's categories. I selected dystopian speculative fiction and it put me in the science fiction > dystopian category.

Online cecilia_writer

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Re: What genre would you describe this as?
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2018, 11:18:19 AM »
I have something vaguely similar - set in Scotland in the not all that distant future (not under the name in my signature here) - and although I did wonder about putting it in as a thriller, I came up against the impossibility of categorising it as anything but sci-fi when it was really mostly dystopian.
Having said that, it has never sold well and I should probably think about re-categorising it!

Offline georgiana89

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Re: What genre would you describe this as?
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2018, 11:39:40 AM »
Thanks everyone.

If I'm 100% honest, dystopian fiction probably is the closest fit. It's just that to me - and to many others, I suspect - as a genre it conjures up a very specific type of book: YA. A love triangle. A world that's feels quite futuristic or otherwise strange. A government that indulges in high concept evil rather than the real-life, everyday kind. Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner, and all their imitators.

There's nothing wrong with those books, but The Dictator's Wife doesn't tick any of those boxes. And that's not me being a genre snob or trying to pretend my book is all special and unique. I happily describe my first series as paranormal romance, which has just as many stereotypical connotations.

I wonder if it would make it easier if I set it in the present day, at which point just calling it a thriller might make more sense. Or that might just confuse the issue further.

I'm currently going with "adult near-future dark romantic thriller," or "adult near-future political thriller [with romantic elements]". But they are a bit of a mouthful, and while that's all very well on my blog, if I publish it, I'll have to work within the bounds of existing genres.

Offline Sapphire

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Re: What genre would you describe this as?
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2018, 12:22:49 PM »
I like the "political" descriptor in there somewhere.


Offline antcurious

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Re: What genre would you describe this as?
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2018, 03:26:04 PM »
I'm usually pretty good with genres. I've previously written a paranormal romance/urban fantasy trilogy and a YA fantasy - all fairly straightforward. But my latest, as yet unpublished, manuscript is a bit of an odd one. Obviously it's tricky for anyone to say definitely without reading the whole thing, but from this description, what would you say?

In 2030, a military dictatorship governs Britain, led by the First Lord of the Treasury, Julien St John Helmsley. Julien is charming, charismatic, and utterly ruthless, particularly towards the resistance group known as the Treaty.

Melanie Bonham, a member of the Treaty and enemy of the state, volunteers for a deadly mission. She must become the First Lords mistress, learn his secrets, and then assassinate him. Failure would mean torture, death, and vicious retaliation against the rebels, but success would restore democracy.

But Melanie has a secret that no one in the Treaty suspects: once, she was Juliens beloved but equally merciless wife, Marianne Helmsley. Five years previously, after a furious disagreement with her husband, she faked her death and fled to the Treaty in disguise. Instead of sneaking into the Regimes stronghold, she makes a triumphant return as the long-lost First Lady, claiming the rebels have held her prisoner for years. Still in love with the man shes meant to kill and tempted by absolute power, Marianne must choose between freeing the country and breaking her heart or ruling at Juliens side and losing her soul before both sides seek to execute her as a traitor.

You could also try 'Alternate History'. I believe the history part is negotiable :) at least, the way its been explained to me, this category refers to our reality but altered, earth but different. Whether in the past or future. I mean surely there has to be a category that just deals with the near future WITHOUT having to be fantasy or science fiction? I'm also grappling with this because I'll have the same problem soon...

Like the story idea by the way:)

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Offline P.J. Post

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Re: What genre would you describe this as?
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2018, 03:39:18 PM »
Pretty much anything set in the future, sans magic, is going to be science fiction. It's just the way the genre's developed.

You could also try 'Alternate History'.

This, and...

Military dictatorship that's not good for the people in the future - sounds sci-fi dystopian to me.

This.