Novel Writing – Jumbled Genres



I finished my manuscript last year. It had been through several edits and was well received by beta readers. I was focused, structured and knew exactly what changes I wanted to make.

And then life, as life does, kicked me in the teeth.

Roll on six months. Six months where I couldn’t concentrate, I couldn’t write. By the time I creaked open my laptop lid and dusted off the keys I had lost focus. The words before me blurred together. It seemed unfathomable that I had written them. I didn’t know what to do.

A professional critique seemed the obvious step.

The main point of the report I have received is that although my writing is good, my sense of story hooks you in, the reader feels it doesn’t exactly fit into a specific genre which she thinks will be a problem if/when I want to market it. I classed it as a women’s fiction novel but she believes parts of it are more psychological thriller based (I would say domestic noir).

Her advice is to rewrite the ending keeping the genre firmly in mind as I do. Of course, it is not as simple as rewriting the ending, I have to re-plot which means changes throughout.

I don’t want to rush into changing the story, I feel I have written the story I would like to read. I don’t want to ignore the (rather expensive) advice I have been given either.

So I sit and I wait for inspiration to hit. It could be a while.

22 thoughts on “Novel Writing – Jumbled Genres

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I don’t have larger-works writing goals (at least not now) but it’s so good to get these little glimpses into a process I clearly don’t understand.

  2. I think what you do depends on what you want to accomplish with your writing–what your goals are. If you are hoping to build a brand and establish a niche, having something easy to market helps. On the other hand, writing a story that you want to read satisfies a far different and more personal purpose. It may not be easy to sell or market. But then again, it may be the next big thing. You just never know, do you?

    • Very true Karen. The idea for my next book is more of a thriller so it makes sense that this one is too. There will be so much rewriting though it almost feels it would be easier to start again. Almost.

  3. That’s tough to rework an ending, especially if you’re happy with it. I think that’s a good strategy to sit on it a bit. Hopefully, it will just hit you and you’ll know what to do! I feel like you have to go with your instincts. Good luck, Louise.

  4. I was in a similar place last fall, though only about half the book had been fully written. The advice I got from my beta readers is that the first chapter was lovey, but didn’t work. I had rather fallen in love with that chapter. Starting a book feels a bit like trying to run on to a moving train – at what point do you attempt the jump? Naturally, the only solution was a complete gutting and re-write. At that point I was done. Just done. My wife, on the other hand, had different ideas. I got something of a tough-love talk, which ran: You will sit down tonight and work on your damn book. You will do this tonight and tomorrow and the day after until the first chapter is sorted out. In the end, I didn’t just sit down, I played a good 60 hours of mind-numbing video games, all the while in the back of my mind, trying to figure out how I could salvage all of that work. Finally, I set the game down and fired up the laptop again. Not a night has gone by since then that I haven’t at least opened my laptop to write – even if for a different project. My advice, for what it’s worth, is to take a deep breath, and tackle the work a little bit at a time – starting with the easy parts. At what point does your new plot diverge from the original? Try to see if you can get away with just adding a sentence here and there to set up the plot arc. Also, keep in mind that you finished it once. You can do it again. Good luck!

    • That’s really inspiring Dave thanks. Your wife sounds like a great support. It is hard cutting things out isn’t it? I want something I can be really proud of though and, as it stands, I know there is lots to do. Good luck with yours.

  5. Louise, it’s hard to be clear in your writing, when your head and heart are preoccupied and grieving. I’ve found writing very difficult recently, as I struggle with personal things. It’s important to take the time you need and come back to the writing when you feel inspired. I’ve found in my writing group, that I need to really sit with feedback, before “killing my babies.” In the end, as a writer, you should do what really feels right, no matter what you paid for the advice. You’re a wonderful writer; you’ll figure it out, when the time is right.

  6. I didn’t know I was looking for this post, but as soon as I read it I had one of those ‘Me too!’ moments. Thanks for sharing, it’s such a relief to know that I’m not alone in this.

    I’ve finished my book (thinking it was clearly young/new adult) but after re-reading I’m not sure if it’s veering into more contemporary / women’s fiction territory. End result: It’s a massive jumble of genres and won’t be so easy to market. In an ideal world I’d like to have a clear genre I’m targeting, but on the other, I do genuinely like the mix and think it’s different for a reason.

    I haven’t had any critique or beta readers yet so not sure what I’ll end up doing, but wishing you the best of luck! I’m sorta hoping inspiration will strike at some point too 🙂

    • Hi Carly. Thanks for commenting. It is a relief to know I’m not alone. I’m working through my manuscript focusing on character development and then will see where that leads. I like mine being different to but understand it wouldn’t be easy to market. Good luck with yours.

  7. I have heard so many negative reviews about the 50 Shades of Grey books and how it was poorly written and wasn’t true to the BDSM lifestyle that I look at it this way. Should that book be as poorly written as was expressed and STILL sold millions (as well as getting national/celebrity coverage) there is hope for ALL of us! Just keep writing.

Thanks so much for reading!

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