For some reason, Janet Reid is picking up a bunch of questions in a row that kind of address the same issue from different directions.
1. I decided #1 is urban fantasy / paranormal romance. There are hints that some people are not from our world in the first book, but it all takes place in a very ordinary town. At the end of the book, the main character is taken to another world . . . and the story takes place in a city with a castle and royalty… more of a sci-fi / epic fantasy with still that paranormal romance as another main story line.
2. I like my mix but I don’t know, do readers fall too cleanly on each side of this? What about agents, do I need to just go for those who rep both literary and crime genre or either or what exactly? Might one genre ‘trump’ another here, the crime drive incidental to the character-drive or the retrospective parts just icing on the plot? Will I just end up too slow and preachy for the crime market but not intellectual enough for the literary market?
3. Is it okay to write a novel in past and present tense? I’m talking about changing tenses in different chapters. I’ve written a crime novel which is narrated in first person/past tense by the criminal and the detective who is trying to catch him. I thinking about changing the criminal’s part so that it remains in first person, but in presence tense while the part of the detective remains in past tense. I wonder if this ok with agents and publishers.
In all three cases, Janet’s advice is, as you might expect: You can do it if it works. If it works, your agent will figure out what genre to call it.
It’s good advice, as always. If you happen to be an aspiring writer, you really should be dropping by Janet’s site frequently.
A couple personal comments:
1. I am suspicious of a writer who can’t tell whether he/she is writing SF or epic fantasy.
Having said that, I can think of epic-ish science fantasy that I suppose would blur the boundaries. Pern, say. Or the Warlock books by Christopher Stasheff.
2. I liked Janet’s comparison of literary crime vs commercial thriller, and let me add that I LOVED Patrick Lee’s first trilogy, starting with THE BREACH. Which, incidentally, also probably counts as a science fantasy triller if you’d like to categorize it that way.
3. Sounds interesting. Also potentially confusing. Janet says “there are lots of good novels written in two tenses” but right now I can’t think of ANY that alternate past and present in the way described here. Can any of you? Did you find it distracting or did it work for you?