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Author Topic: Subcategory quips  (Read 12406 times)

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wonderactivist

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Subcategory quips
« on: August 12, 2010, 01:35:45 PM »

So I know my book is a mystery because you have to try to figure out who did it--an agent told me that.  It isn't a thriller mystery because while it's fast paced, the action takes place in one locale with mostly local forces...

If the protagonist is not a cop, but a regular citizen who becomes an FBI mole, how do I categorize it?  It's not really "Amateur Sleuth." I'm so confused.  The FBI operatives are integral to the solving of the mystery, forensic and psychological FBI techniques are utilized to solve the crime.  They never would have been able to solve it without help from and the past life experience of this citizen-mole...so what exactly would the subcategory be? 

It's not police procedural, I know that. 

Thanks for any insights! 

Lucie
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Old Bill

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Re: Subcategory quips
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2010, 06:53:08 PM »

Lucie...a quick run through the Google mill seems to favor mystery/suspense genre for your type of story.  (That's mystery/suspense not mystery or suspense as those two genre seemed to have melded together over time).

For my two cents, I think going too far down the subcat slide will pidgeon hole your story.

Good luck.

Old Bill

PS...Thillers can't be in one locale??
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B L McAllister

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Re: Subcategory quips
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2010, 12:20:41 PM »

Thrillers like "The Pit and the Pendulum" can be in one locale. So, of course, can others.
BLMcA
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JIM DOHERTY

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Re: Subcategory quips
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2010, 05:58:14 PM »

Lucie,

Re your comment below:

It's not police procedural, I know that. 

Actually, from your description, that's exactly what it is.

A police procedural is nothing more than a novel in which the profession of law enforcement is described with accuracy (or at least with the appearanceof accuracy).

The FBI does use "moles" who are not sworn agents or investigative employees. 

Police work is what solves the crime. 

It's about the "world" of law enforcement.

So it's a police procedural.

Didn't know as much as you thought you did, did you?

Old Bill

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Re: Subcategory quips
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2010, 05:42:57 PM »

Hey Lucie and Jim,

I for one have always hated the term 'police procedural'.  It sounds so Criminology 101-ish.  I suspect readers interested in mystery/suspense or 'pp' might buy either genre.  Besides, as I've stated before somewhere, if your story follows actual police procedure it's going to be boring.  Many stories have one cop, or maybe a partner team, doing all the work whereas in reality, unlike CSI (Ugh! :P) many people are involved...even teams of people...all the way from the street cop to the judiciary.  Give me a good suspense story that cheats over some of the procedures any day.  Isn't that why they call it fiction?

Okay, I know...enough ranting.

Old Bill

BTW:  Do you know how many burglaries we would investigate and collect evidence on by the same perp only to have the detectives pop a confession on the one with little or no good evidence?  And then usually the D.A. would prosecute on one lousy count.  Yeah...that was fun.
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wonderactivist

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Re: Subcategory quips
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2010, 02:17:51 PM »

Wow! Thanks so much for all the ideas. This does surprise me. You're right, the more I learn, the more I realize how much I DON"T know about publishing.

I agree about not wanting to pigeonhole the story, but I also know that it's important to be able to describe it in terms of what the agents/publishers want. And yes, according to the one agent, a modern "thriller" would be international normally, but definitely take place over a series of locations. I know from the bookstore that Pit & Pendulum is considered a "Classic."   

So my concerns about "police procedural" are same as yours: it sounds dull...but maybe not to publishing people?  The story places much more emphasis on interpersonal relationships and the inside information brought in by this mole, but yes, they're building a case to be presented in court.  Mostly "off-camera," they follow fiber evidence, semen samples, knife marks in human tissue, forensic pathology to show how the injuries were inflicted, reconstruction of the crime scene, and even an FBI serial crime expert who delves briefly into the mind of the killer. These things are mentioned in passing, and I did my research--I hope well enough--to ensure they're accurate, but they are NOT emphasized. 

Mystery/suspense sounds really good, but I'm not sure I can claim suspense...maybe?  I'm certainly not Dean Koontz! (Though I would love HIS publishing contract--wouldn't we all?)

Warm regards,

Lucie

P.S. any further guidance or input is welcome


 
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Elena

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Re: Subcategory quips
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2010, 09:17:35 AM »

Lucie,

The publisher decides on the name of the knothole to put your book in, not you. You describe your story to the perspective publisher, not how you think it should be marketed. In a synopsis all of your words should be devoted to the actual story. Don't worry about a genre or niche. Many books can be put into more than one category and it's just not worth getting grey hair over. Just tell them it's a mystery.

Signed,
Your friendly grey haired mystery writer,
Elena
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wonderactivist

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Re: Subcategory quips
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2010, 11:19:46 PM »

Thanks Elena!  You are always so helpful.  Lucie
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Re: Subcategory quips
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2018, 02:22:22 AM »

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