Towards Inventing a New Genre

I don’t have to be hit over the head with a trade paperback – or anything else – to understand that it might be a little late to get onboard the Paranormal Romance bandwagon. And I don’t have to be Tased multiple times while trying to explain my stand on civil liberties, either,  but that’s another matter.

This mightn't be relevant, but it is decorative.

It’s a crowded market out there, so I can see that the way forward as a writer is to anticipate publishing trends. This sort of far-sightedness is the province of industry mavens, demographic researchers, market strategists and other cartoon characters. It also sounds like hard work, so instead of anticipating a publishing trend, I think the best thing to do is to invent a publishing trend, thus guaranteeing I’ll be the first cab off the rank.

I thought about making up a new genre out of whole cloth, something like Bit Fic, or Shade Fiction, or Lapidism, but since I had no idea what they were I figure the potential hordes of readers out there mightn’t be too enthusiastic either. That’s when I hit on the idea of riffing off the ‘hot’ genre of the moment. How could I lose?

The trouble is, being one of those ideas guys (hem, hem), I’ve come up with more than one possibility and I’m having trouble deciding which one to hitch my star to.

  • Polynormal Romance – multiple realities, where a couple juggles different attempts at romance in different life circumstances. Could be good for mistaken identities leading to hilarious complications in the restaurant scene.
  • Postnormal Romance – full of ennui, decadence and an abandonment of morals while shopping for furniture. Nat King Cole soundtrack.
  • Quasinormal Romance – where normality itself is a sham that is discovered during a reunion at the airport with optional ironic focus on old couple also reuniting at same time.
  • Pseudonormal Romance – it looks like normality, tastes like normality, but it’s actually a great big TV show or something. With a montage snowball fight/candlelit supper.
  • Metanormal Romance – a romance where a couple questions the whole notion of normality and whether it can be ‘about’ itself while they take long walks on the beach.
  • Ubernormal Romance – normality is heightened! Really heightened! With flowers!
  • Retronormal Romance – has possibilities, but I think it’s already out there and simply called ‘Romance’.

The best way to market test these is, of course, the time-honoured method of conducting a focus group, compiling the results and running them through some sort of sophisticated statistical modelling package. Failing the time or inclination to do something so systematic, I’ll probably just shout them at random strangers and see which option scares them least.