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Is my book NA? Or YA?! Or Contemporary Romance?
Nevena Georgieva
Posted: Thursday, August 29, 2013 4:09 PM
Joined: 2/9/2012
Posts: 438


Lit Agent Sara Megibow just tweeted about the defining characteristics of the New Adult genre (#newadult), and a few of the things she said regarding NA to distinguish it from YA just blew my mind. 


Great young adult characters sometimes feel like they are exploding in every direction at once. #NewAdult

Great New Adult characters feel more like they are exploding in fewer directions, but they might be the wrong ones. #NewAdult
 
This is such a great distinction to make! Young adult protags--aged 12 to 18--are emotional & full of vigor and hormones, while the 20-something new adults are a little bit more even-keeled--but not much. 

The "voice" is how I tell NA apart from its other cousin, contemporary romance, too. If the tone and voice are overwrought and idealistic, it's NA! Contemporary romance is always somehow accompanied by a larger degree of stability and maturity. After all, the heroine will be linked to her soul mate at the end, whereas a HEA is not guaranteed in NA. 

So, aside from ramblings about how the NA genre is defined, I want to turn this into a place where writers can voice their concerns/doubts/queries about how their novel should be categorized

--edited by Nevena Georgieva on 8/29/2013, 4:13 PM--


Marcie
Posted: Monday, September 2, 2013 5:03 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 103


This is exactly my question. Is my WIP NA or Contemporary Romance? It definitely is not YA. When I wrote it, I was shooting for (contemporary) Romantic Suspense.

 

Working title is Harbinger's Kiss.

 

Book Description (which I know still needs work):

Toronto's most notoriously eligible bachelor doesn't stand a chance against this nosy librarian.

 

Laurel Harbinger, a struggling twenty-something, stumbles into a trap not meant for her. All she has to do to get out, is risk everything on the heart of The August Barrett, assuming, of course, she can refrain from punching him in the face long enough to do so.

 

http://www.bookcountry.com/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=883#sthash.gSbWmDfA.dpuf

 

- Main characters are in their mid twenties. The MC, Laurel, holds 2 entry level jobs. She wouldn't define either as her "career".

- plot is driven by the love interest, August, who has set up a horribly misguided plan to get out from under his parents' shadows

- voice is light, chatty, and humorous

- written in first person with tons of insight into MC's rollercoaster thought process

- sex scenes are minimal, and aren't shown until closer to the middle of the book, plus, the first couple of them are sex as a tool, rather than as an expression of love. Only one of the scenes would remotely qualify as erotica.

- pacing is fast

- word count is 75,000

 

--edited by Marcie on 9/2/2013, 5:09 PM--


Nevena Georgieva
Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013 10:01 AM
Joined: 2/9/2012
Posts: 438


Hmm, I will have to take a look at your book to have an opinion. Right now the adventure/high-stakes aspect makes it sound like a romantic suspense. On the other hand, the roller-coaster thought process sounds New Adult. I see your dilemma! 

Usually, in romantic suspense there is a lot of physical danger and chasing; does that sound like something your book is about?


Marcie
Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013 10:11 AM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 103


Yes, the whole story is a chase. When I wrote it, I was aiming for Romantic Suspense, and, based on plot, it definitely fits there. But I'm wondering how the labelling hierarchy works. Does romantic suspense exist under NA, or do I have to choose between the two? If I do have to choose, do I choose based on plot or based on character/voice/tone?

--edited by Marcie on 9/5/2013, 10:14 AM--


Nevena Georgieva
Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013 10:22 AM
Joined: 2/9/2012
Posts: 438


Two years ago agents would say that no such thing as New Adult existed! Haha. So it's still a very unstable category. New Adult doesn't really fit anywhere. It's the link between young adult romance and contemporary romance. So, yes, you'd have to choose between RS & NA.

 
 New Adult heroines are usually seniors in high school or college-aged. But since it's a new category, and very much in flux, so there's room for variations. I don't think even publishers know exactly what it is!
 

What are books similar to your own? What genre are they?

--edited by Nevena Georgieva on 9/5/2013, 10:23 AM--


Marcie
Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013 12:06 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 103


I think that's the heart of the problem. NA hasn't existed long enough for book comparisons.
Nevena Georgieva
Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013 2:57 PM
Joined: 2/9/2012
Posts: 438


Keep in mind that the majority of the NA books agents are acquiring are self-published bestsellers. It's a tough market, it seems... I'll take a look at your book--very intrigued now. =)
Marcie
Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013 4:12 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 103


Thank you. I appreciate your help figuring this out.
JonKeys
Posted: Sunday, September 8, 2013 4:52 PM
Joined: 9/8/2013
Posts: 1


Hello,

 

I just found Book Country today and signed up. After finding the NA discussion thread I thought I'd ask the question posed on this thread, am I writing NA?

 

 I've started writing what I hope is a M/M NA novella. The best title I have so far is "Controller". The MC (Hunter) is a 18 year old college freshman who's coming to terms with his sexuality and falls for a senior (Jamie) who has a boyfriend, and problems of his own. They are both avid gamers and that forms the underlying setting for a lot of the story. Eli lives on the same floor in the dorm and becomes friend and confident for Hunter. After several ups and down of a potential relationship between Jamie and Hunter, Hunter is dumped. Eli comes in to comfort Hunter and confesses his feelings. Yeah, sorry. I'm a sucker for at least a HFN ending.

 

I typically write M/M Erotic Romance, and the sex is explicit. I've been looking at the expectations for NA, but they still seem fairly fluid. Does my brief description sound like it could be NA? Obviously you can only tell so much from the description, but I guess I'm hoping for an opinion and/or suggestions. At this point I'm only 4000 words in, so it's just introducing character and beginning to setup a few important character traits. So I can make changes.

 

Anyway, long and rambling explanation. I look forward to any suggestions.

 

Jon


Nevena Georgieva
Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 5:05 PM
Joined: 2/9/2012
Posts: 438


Hi Jon, 

Just saw this, and I realize this is way overdue. Your book totally sounds like it could be NA. I haven't read any MM NA so far, but you are right: it's a genre in flux, and it sounds like a direction the genre might take for sure. Any thing that is happening in a college dorm and is about first adult experiences--love, relationships, etc--and has "ups and downs"--definitely can be shelved as NA. 

I *strongly* recommend that you read a piece we recently ran about New Adult written by one of my Penguin colleagues. Her insight about it really blew my mind. =)  It is appropriately called "The New Adult Genre Demystified."

~Nevena


 

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