**My theme for this year's A to Z Challenge is THE REVISION PROJECT. Topics I come across while I write the third draft of my novel, Uneven Lines.**
I could have always come out of the closet. That certainly would have made for
an interesting day.
I've always had a hard time figuring out exactly what type of book UL is. It always seems to be everything it's not. Because it's young adult, but it's not. And it's kind of a romance, but it's not. And it's also gay fiction, but not. I kinda want to pitch it as literary fiction, but I feel it has all these elements that may turn off some readers who are looking for something more straightforward.
One thing I've already decided is to not try to sell this book as young adult. Yes, it's from the point of view of a fifteen-year-old. And no, it's not from some future perspective. It sounds like a fifteen-year-old's voice. But there are some pretty adult moments throughout the book. I think the only part that really completely reads young adult is the subplot concerning Jordan's friends. I also wouldn't really want young people to read it. While an adult book written from a young adult perspective may be a tough sell, I think it's the right decision for this particular book.
Then there's the romance aspect. I've always called it a "demented" romance. There's the age difference between the characters, of course. Their relationship definitely isn't straightforward by any means. And your typical romance novel usually has a happy ending. While the end of UL certainly isn't some epic tragedy, it's definitely not happy, either. So while there are some romantic elements in the book, it definitely doesn't follow your typical romance novel structure.
I think out of all the things that it's not, the label that fits the most is gay fiction. My characters are gay, after all. But I've always thought that it's an important aspect to the characters, but not the story itself. I could switch out the genders and sexuality and still have basically the same story. Obviously some details would change and the dynamic between the characters would be different, but the same basic plot line would still be there. I wouldn't change it of course, because I've been with these characters for so long that changing them to something completely different would just feel wrong.
So does the story need that label? I think it probably does. If someone had no interest in reading a story with gay characters, no matter what it was about, they would probably want that label there so they would know not to read it. Same goes for the opposite--someone who wants to read about those characters. They want to be able to find those books more easily. But is that all I get to call it? What other label fits my book? Contemporary? Something else entirely? Or do I just call it gay fiction and call it a day? If I knew I wouldn't ask so many questions. But I guess I should worry about finishing it first.
Where does my book fit in? Have you ever written a book you couldn't figure out a label for?