Vintage low fantasy

by Jan
(Dallas, Texas)

Question: First of all, great job on this website! Found it by accident (or perhaps it wasn't accidental...hmm) and it has been extremely helpful. I have had a lot of genre angst because my manuscript begins in 1976 in Texas, but it's a blend of family secrets, how the protagonist deals with the death of her mother, it has a little romance, a murder mystery, but the resolution revolves around an old Irish artifact with magical powers. That's why I feel it must somehow fall into the low fantasy genre.

I'd like to find some critique partners, but unless I figure out the genre I'm stuck!

Thanks again for the great website and for any assistance you can give.

Answer: I would tend to agree with you. If magic is involved, you're in the realm of fantasy, and if the magic is part of an otherwise real world, then low fantasy sounds right.

(I do hope that the magic is not a deus ex machina, but is present or adequately foreshadowed from the beginning. Fantasy readers don't want to wait until act four to get some fantasy, and non-fantasy readers don't want to be disconcerted by the sudden appearance of magic in the final chapters.)

However, I'm not sure why you need to pin down the genre to get a critique partner. Plenty of novels include elements of a variety of genres. There's quite a large grey area. Depending on your style and emphasis, some people might even call your story literary fiction or women's fiction. Certainly, a woman dealing with her mother's death sounds like a story for a female readership.

All you really need are perhaps some female critique partners who don't hate fantasy.

Best of luck.

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