It only took three years of confusion, rewrites and anxiety, but I’ve finally done it.
I’ve finally figured out which genre my book belongs in.
Ha. You thought I was going to say I finished writing the book. Ha. Haha.
Not even close, my friend. But you see, there’s been something holding me back a little: not knowing which genre I was even writing in. I floated between YA and sci-fi and I just couldn’t figure out what I wanted the story to be. It’s a story with mostly realistic elements, but takes place in the future. I wasn’t sure that could be a thing. I was almost afraid I would have to change something, choose one thing or the other, even.
Then I discovered soft SF.
Basically, and I’m both paraphrasing and simplifying from multiple web sources here (okay fine, Wikipedia came first), soft science fiction is a sub-genre of sci-fi that deals more with social and behavioral issues, character development and plot than most of the science fiction you’re probably used to. The “science” part of the story is just that: a part. It’s not the primary focus.
I felt relieved when I made my discovery, and okay, pretty embarrassed that I run a writing-focused blog and didn’t know this existed before now. My book has a place. If I ever get to the point where I feel ready to start sending out queries, I can narrow down which agents might actually give me a chance. I can actually explain the kind of story I’m writing, instead of “it’s kind of like Divergent but not really” (yes, direct quote from yours truly). I can keep my storyline and my character development without having to add more explosions and tech. (Though it’s tempting, especially the explosions. Explosion Wednesday? Anyone? Anyone?)
So I still have a long way to go. I’m a little over 30,000 words in and am starting to connect more and more of the literary dots. The thought of giving up crossed my mind only once, back in April, when I was only four months into my second major story revision and feeling like nothing I wrote was working.
There’s no reason to quit now. I can’t imagine giving three years of my life to something I truly cared about and then throwing it all aside the second things started getting harder. It’s the same reason I finished my fourth year of college even though my junior year was a train wreck and I wanted out.
I think writing a book is about more than just writing a story. If you’ve never written a book, I’m not sure it’s possible to completely understand what it means to do it. Half the time I find myself so engrossed in what I’m working on that I forget about the outside world. I forget I’m not getting paid for this (a thought that crosses my mind about 500 times a day amidst other tasks).
You start writing a book, and you become too involved with your characters to back out when you know things are about to get good. You can’t just leave them to their own devices. It is still sci-fi, after all. Anything could happen.
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.
A recent graduate with a B.A. in English and a completed major in nutrition, currently seeking a graduate degree in health communication, Meg is a twenty-something workaholic with a passion for writing, coffee and dietetics. In addition to her status as an aspiring novelist and Grammar Nazi (and the mastermind behind this site), Meg is an editor for College Lifestyles magazine and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine’s Stone Soup. She is a seven-time NaNoWriMo winner and has written several creative pieces for Teen Ink magazine. Follow Meg on Twitter.