Jump to content

Disclaimer



Photo

Should I call my novel dystopian?


  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1 Summer

Summer

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 203 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Southeast

Posted 02 January 2013 - 06:37 PM

Everyone knows the dystopian genre saturates the YA market. I'm a teen and I see it all the time. I love dystopian books. The only problem is, I'm afraid literary agents will see it as overdone. When I set out to write my novel If They Take Me, I didn't say "I'm going to write a dystopian book." I just asked myself 'What If' like everyone does and created an entirely new world.

 

My question is: should I say my novel is dystopian in my query letter? Maybe there is another genre that my novel fits into, but the truth is I believe it is dystopian. What should I do?


Critique my query

Write YA? Need a critique partner?

 

"Good writing is supposed to evoke a sensation in the reader. Not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon."

- E. L. Doctorow


#2 RC Lewis

RC Lewis

    Splitting Braincells

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,468 posts
  • Literary Status:agented
  • LocationUS Southwest
  • Publishing Experience:STITCHING SNOW, Hyperion, 2014
    SPINNING STARLIGHT, Hyperion, 2015

Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:27 PM

The funny thing about dystopian is that during the big surge post-Hunger-Games, a lot of things got labeled dystopian that were actually apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic or something else.

 

You can call it sci-fi (which is the umbrella most dystopian fits under anyway), but it's not going to fool an agent if the story IS dystopian. The real key is to have some uniqueness (and highlight it in the query) and awesome writing/voice.


_-Snow-Small.jpg           Spin-Small.jpg
   Stitching Snow        Spinning Starlight
     October 2014                October 6, 2015
       Hyperion                        Hyperion


#3 Summer

Summer

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 203 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Southeast

Posted 02 January 2013 - 09:27 PM

The funny thing about dystopian is that during the big surge post-Hunger-Games, a lot of things got labeled dystopian that were actually apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic or something else.

 

You can call it sci-fi (which is the umbrella most dystopian fits under anyway), but it's not going to fool an agent if the story IS dystopian. The real key is to have some uniqueness (and highlight it in the query) and awesome writing/voice.

 

You're absolutely right. I think I'm just going to search for literary agents who are specifically seeking dystopian books for young adults. That's actually what I'm doing now. :happy:


Critique my query

Write YA? Need a critique partner?

 

"Good writing is supposed to evoke a sensation in the reader. Not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon."

- E. L. Doctorow


#4 TAH

TAH

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 152 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Northwest

Posted 05 March 2013 - 01:38 AM

I was wondering the same thing. I'm hoping my query doesn't get shied away from because it's dystopian, but I can't really hide that it is. My favorite books growing up were either by Orwell, or were Orwellian, so like you, I write what I love regardless of trends!=) After looking up the definition of "cyberpunk" and finding that my book actually fits into that sub-genre nicely,  I still haven't decided if I will change "dystopian" out or not. I'm not too worried about it scaring agents off. If my query is good enough, I don't think it will matter.  :happy: 
 


Writing is my love, but illustration and fine art are both close friends-->Follow my art @ Tumblr * Facebook Art Page * Wix
J
ust started a Twitter !

 

Any CC on my YA/Sci-fi synopsis is greatly appreciated! =-) 


#5 sharpegirl

sharpegirl

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,351 posts
  • Literary Status:published, agented
  • LocationUS Northwest
  • Publishing Experience:YA novelist with Hyperion (US) and Indigo (UK).

Posted 05 March 2013 - 01:52 PM

You're absolutely right. I think I'm just going to search for literary agents who are specifically seeking dystopian books for young adults. That's actually what I'm doing now. :happy:

 

Summer, how cool you're a teen writer. I was, too!

 

I just want to say that you MIGHT run into some trouble finding a lot of agents actively seeking dystopian, so don't limit yourself to that. It's a genre in YA that is becoming increasingly hard to sell, and I've seen a few agents starting to state "No Dystopian" just like we were in the "No Vampires" mode after the paranormal market got glutted. I'd focus on agents who are interested in sci-fi or speculative fiction, as well.

 

Good luck!



#6 Summer

Summer

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 203 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Southeast

Posted 05 March 2013 - 06:18 PM

Summer, how cool you're a teen writer. I was, too!

 

I just want to say that you MIGHT run into some trouble finding a lot of agents actively seeking dystopian, so don't limit yourself to that. It's a genre in YA that is becoming increasingly hard to sell, and I've seen a few agents starting to state "No Dystopian" just like we were in the "No Vampires" mode after the paranormal market got glutted. I'd focus on agents who are interested in sci-fi or speculative fiction, as well.

 

Good luck!

Thanks Sharpegirl, you're definitely right. I saw some agents who specifically reject dystopian and about 4 that specifically request it. I'm going to try my hand at them and look for more willing to take speculative fiction. Too bad the markst's so saturated now, though I do love the genre!


Critique my query

Write YA? Need a critique partner?

 

"Good writing is supposed to evoke a sensation in the reader. Not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon."

- E. L. Doctorow


#7 Summer

Summer

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 203 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Southeast

Posted 05 March 2013 - 06:20 PM

I was wondering the same thing. I'm hoping my query doesn't get shied away from because it's dystopian, but I can't really hide that it is. My favorite books growing up were either by Orwell, or were Orwellian, so like you, I write what I love regardless of trends!=) After looking up the definition of "cyberpunk" and finding that my book actually fits into that sub-genre nicely,  I still haven't decided if I will change "dystopian" out or not. I'm not too worried about it scaring agents off. If my query is good enough, I don't think it will matter.  :happy: 
 

Maybe you could try querying with some as cyberpunk and others as dystopian. Either way, they're both really interesting genres and I have to admit I had to look up the definition of cyberpunk too! Genres are odd sometimes. Whatever happened to just writing? I guess there are so many novels out that they have to categorize them. :) I'm interested to know, what is your story about? Wish you the best!!


Critique my query

Write YA? Need a critique partner?

 

"Good writing is supposed to evoke a sensation in the reader. Not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon."

- E. L. Doctorow


#8 TAH

TAH

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 152 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Northwest

Posted 05 March 2013 - 08:29 PM

Yeah, I still haven't decided what I'm going to call it, but I'm not too freaked out about it!=)

 

Either way, they're both really interesting genres and I have to admit I had to look up the definition of cyberpunk too! 


Haha, I'm so glad I'm not the only one who had to look that up!

 

I remember reading your query awhile back (Has your MC Scar ventured out to meet any agents yet?)! I love finding other people who are inspired by the same genres!=)

 

The best way to describe my story is to link to my synopsis ! I've been having so much trouble with the darn thing! If you have time, I would love your opinion/cc on it! Same genre + target audience? Win! Win!=)


Writing is my love, but illustration and fine art are both close friends-->Follow my art @ Tumblr * Facebook Art Page * Wix
J
ust started a Twitter !

 

Any CC on my YA/Sci-fi synopsis is greatly appreciated! =-) 


#9 Summer

Summer

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 203 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Southeast

Posted 05 March 2013 - 10:46 PM

The best way to describe my story is to link to my synopsis ! I've been having so much trouble with the darn thing! If you have time, I would love your opinion/cc on it! Same genre + target audience? Win! Win!=)

OH MY GOSH! I remember your story, I AM X: LOGIN, the completely amazing one! Seriously, your premise stuck out to me from the very beginning. I'd love to critique it, though I'm not the expert on writing synopsis'(sp?). I'll try my best. Can't wait to read it.

 

And Scar is a bit shy. She's being doctored up at the moment, going through a bit of surgery. I should be done revising bandaging her up soon enough. As of now, she's being passed around from nurse to nurse. As soon as she's done, I'll throw her to the query sharks. :happy:


Critique my query

Write YA? Need a critique partner?

 

"Good writing is supposed to evoke a sensation in the reader. Not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon."

- E. L. Doctorow


#10 TAH

TAH

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 152 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Northwest

Posted 06 March 2013 - 12:05 AM

OH MY GOSH! I remember your story, I AM X: LOGIN, the completely amazing one! Seriously, your premise stuck out to me from the very beginning. I'd love to critique it, though I'm not the expert on writing synopsis'(sp?). I'll try my best. Can't wait to read it.

 

And Scar is a bit shy. She's being doctored up at the moment, going through a bit of surgery. I should be done revising bandaging her up soon enough. As of now, she's being passed around from nurse to nurse. As soon as she's done, I'll throw her to the query sharks. :happy:

 

Aw! It boosts my confidence to hear you remember it!=D Aww, thank you! I would really value your opinion! I think you write beautifully! On that note: The way you just described your revision process is so clever "passed around from nurse to nurse"! It made me laugh!=)


Writing is my love, but illustration and fine art are both close friends-->Follow my art @ Tumblr * Facebook Art Page * Wix
J
ust started a Twitter !

 

Any CC on my YA/Sci-fi synopsis is greatly appreciated! =-) 


#11 Summer

Summer

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 203 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Southeast

Posted 07 March 2013 - 02:27 PM

Aw! It boosts my confidence to hear you remember it!=D Aww, thank you! I would really value your opinion! I think you write beautifully! On that note: The way you just described your revision process is so clever "passed around from nurse to nurse"! It made me laugh!=)

Thank you, haha. :D At this rate, It'll take me a while to get the manuscript just right.


Critique my query

Write YA? Need a critique partner?

 

"Good writing is supposed to evoke a sensation in the reader. Not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon."

- E. L. Doctorow


#12 TAH

TAH

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 152 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Northwest

Posted 07 March 2013 - 04:52 PM

Thank you, haha. :D At this rate, It'll take me a while to get the manuscript just right.

I think you are very smart to wait until your ms is just right! If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right!=D


Writing is my love, but illustration and fine art are both close friends-->Follow my art @ Tumblr * Facebook Art Page * Wix
J
ust started a Twitter !

 

Any CC on my YA/Sci-fi synopsis is greatly appreciated! =-) 


#13 Aaron Bradford Starr

Aaron Bradford Starr

    Penguin Rustler

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,225 posts
  • Literary Status:published, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:I've published short stories, paintings, and interior art in Black Gate Magazine, Black Gate Online, Stupefying Stories, and Rampant Loon Press.

Posted 29 March 2014 - 10:19 AM

Maybe you could try querying with some as cyberpunk and others as dystopian. Either way, they're both really interesting genres and I have to admit I had to look up the definition of cyberpunk too! Genres are odd sometimes. Whatever happened to just writing? I guess there are so many novels out that they have to categorize them. :) I'm interested to know, what is your story about? Wish you the best!!

 

Funny, one of my publishers is Bruce Bethke, the author of the short story Cyberpunk that gave the genre its name.  But I think people have gone way, way into the weeds with genre-naming.  It's as if we're trying to lose all nuance, and only read the small handful of books that can fit into tiny mental boxes.  As writers, I think we need to reject the trend toward cubbifying our writing (Slipstream, anyone?  Gimme a break!).



#14 itsmary

itsmary

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 62 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationUS South

Posted 31 March 2014 - 10:54 AM

I've seen several agents say they can tell when something is dystopian, even if it's called something else like sci-fi or post-apocalyptic. So it might not work to call it something other than what it really is. Fortunately, dystopian seems to be making somewhat of a comeback. I've seen several dystopian novels being released over the past few months (LANDRY PARK comes to mind), so maybe the glut is at least starting to...erm, unclog?  :tongue: Granted, those novels were sold at least a year ago, but I think there might be agents out there that are at least somewhat open to more dystopian if it stands out well enough.



#15 CheG

CheG

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 62 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, published
  • LocationUS West Coast
  • Publishing Experience:Forthcoming- Carmine Rojas: Dog Fight from Black Opal Books
    And lots of other stuff...

Posted 22 April 2014 - 01:49 PM

I have read over and over from agents that no one wants dystopian anymore. Find a better word for sure! After that you are at the mercy of the market and what agents are looking for. You may not be able to sell it at all. At which point self pubbing comes into play....


DogFightcoversigsize_zpsfe772a9d.jpg

Please check out my MG query here 





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users