Digging deep for genres

I RECENTLY read two great examples of #EcoFictionThe Breaking by Irma Gold, straight off the back of Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

These are extraordinary and very different books, and genres aren’t really important unless you’re marketing a title and you need to know where to put it in a catalogue or on a bookshop shelf, but they have many commonalities.

Not that long ago – around the time I was completing final edits on my debut novel Tank Water – I realised that it, too, has a genre. This was a thrilling discovery! Everyone needs friends, after all, and #OutbackNoir is a broad church (probably standing on a barren ridge, or on the edge of a desert) with several side chapels, ruined of course.

It’s an extension of the bookshop darling #RuralFiction, but the use of the French word ‘noir’ (black’) is the clue, suggesting a story that’s dark, perhaps a little bit disturbing, and certainly dramatic. ‘Outback’ speaks for itself… we’re not in the suburbs on this bookshelf.

Speaking of France, darkness and drama, this short clip (below) was recorded on a family trip to Grottes Préhistoriques de Cougnac, just outside Gourdon in that country’s southwest.

I dug it out because my next book, now in that exciting phase of manuscript polishing, and set in the recesses of one of the world’s largest open cave systems right here in NSW, is seeking a genre. I’m not sure #UndergroundNoir even exists, although with a story about a pioneering female cave explorer, I shouldn’t be shy of new territory.

Annie Seaton’s Undara certainly fits the bill, described as #EcoAdventure, but I’m keen to know what other pieces of fiction you’ve encountered that involve journeys beneath the surface of the Earth.

Please dig deep and put your thoughts in the comments thread!

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