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YA or Women's Fiction or Historical Fiction - or Creative Non-Fiction ?


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#1 Mary Hughes

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Posted 29 April 2017 - 07:28 PM

I've written an 86,000 epistolary novel about a 16 year old who in 1891 sets off alone from Edinburgh to Leipzig to pursue her dream of becoming a concert violinist.  It's based on a few details of my grandmother's life and is meticulously researched.  In addition I've worked hard to model my language to the period.  

Almost everyone else out there seems to be writing fantasy or horror or thrillers, so this is decidedly not a fashionable book.  There's no sex and no violence.  Can I describe it as "retro" ... 

 

Now that I've finished the draft and am beginning to pitch it, I am not sure how to categorize it.  I have had a few teenage readers look at the first 22 pages and even my 9 year old grand-daughter liked it and wanted more.  Still, it seems to be finding more favour with my book club buddies. 

 

Here's my query: 

 

personalized salutation

Wish to introduce “Imagining Violet”, because ...

Sixteen-year old Violet Courtenaye dreams of a career as a concert violinist at a time when most middle-class young ladies remain at home until they marry. In the summer of 1891, Violet embarks on a grand adventure, leaving family and friends behind, to study music at the prestigious Leipzig Conservatory.

In letters to her family in Edinburgh, Violet tells her story as she pursues her musical ambitions despite the reality that women violinists rarely perform in public. In the liberal atmosphere of late 19th century Leipzig, Violet embraces the new-found freedom of student life, navigates the complexities of Europe's leading conservatory and the mysteries of student pensions.

Violet chafes against the restrictive conventions of the day but is not, at heart, a rebel. In her final year she falls in love with Frank, a young Canadian pianist. Combining marriage and a career in music may be impossible but she realizes that Canada is a more open society. But if Frank proposes, her father may not allow her to marry a musician, a colonial whose father is a shopkeeper.

Imagining Violet is historical fiction in epistolary form and complete at 86,000 words. It will appeal to readers of books like Daddy Long Legs.

The author has self-published two volumes of non-fiction, Frank Welsman, Canadian Conductor (2006) and The Life and Times of the Floathouse Zastrozzi (2011) plus more than eighty articles in national magazines such as Pacific Yachting, Boulevard, Folio, Canadian Auto Dealer and The Greenmaster as well as local publications in Victoria, B.C.

 

 

 



#2 dinosaurinhats

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Posted 29 April 2017 - 11:37 PM

I can relate very much to your concern, as my book is a historical as well and does not have sex nor too much violence. My editor suggested that I simply classify it as what it was, which in my case is adult historical drama.

 

Since your main character is 16, my assumption is that people will understand that there won't be much (if any) sex, and based off mood you set I wouldn't expect much violence either. That isn't a negative thing, in fact I think it does your MS a great service since it isn't misleading. I believe that with a strong plot, moving characters, and genuine writing, your book should do very well despite not having the things that are considered 'hot' right now.

 

From what it sounds like to me, your book sounds like a YA historical fiction. :) Hope that helps! 



#3 Uncommon Decency

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 12:32 PM

I second YA historical fiction. Almost every agent I seem to look at (I do women's fiction) seems to ask for YA right now...so that's a good sign :)



#4 kathleenq

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 01:17 PM

I would also go with YA historical fiction, particularly since you've done so much research to make sure that it is historically accurate.


Synopsis: Glass Domes


#5 Mary Hughes

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 06:35 PM

Thank you all - and so neat that you agree.  

I have done a lot of research - even started violin lessons 4 years ago, and visited the archives at the Leipzig Conservatory last fall. 



#6 Brittany Astor

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 02:03 AM

I am so thrilled to find a fellow YA historical fiction writer.

 

Imagining Violet sounds like a wonderful story - and original, to boot!

 

I, too, have taken an overseas trip to research places and settings from my WIP. I'm also sinking so much time into research, as I'm sure you've done.


Budding writer of historical YA fiction...





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