What’s Your Style?

Inevitably, I end up in one of these conversations:

“You write for teenagers?  How cool!  Stuff like Twilight and The Hunger Games?”

I cringe mentally.  “No, it’s more like the Bourne Identity.  But for kids.”

Which, by the way, is not an accurate description of what I’ve just finished or am working on at all (especially for those of you who have actually read Robert Ludlum). 

Help me out.  What popular/famous author would you say your work most closely resembles or relates too? 

This is a really hard question for me to answer because I’m not certain there is an adult equivalent of what I’m working on. 

So, I’ve decided to compile a list I can use to help people understand that YA is more than just vampires and crazy dystopian worlds.  I’m trying to cover every genre because maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow and decided to write Westerns. 

I read broadly, but I’m not that old, and everything that I’ve read in the last decade has likely been published in the last decade. 

Please comment if you think you can a) Add a big name title/author to a specific genre or b) think I got it wrong and should list a title somewhere else.* Any input you have would be appreciated!
I’m hoping these titles will be instantly recognizable and the light of recognition will flash. 

It will probably serve as a good reading list too.  Here we go: 

  • Action and Adventure: James Rollins (I’ve only read one of his books, but it was action-y)

  • Chick Lit: Sophie Kinsella (Shopaholic), Jennifer Weiner (In Her Shoes)

  • Contemporary:  Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (it was made into movie, so I guess that counts?) Can I include the Chick Lit authors here too?

  • Crime:  Kathy Reichs’ Bones Series?  Harlen Coben.

  • Family Saga: 

  • Fantasy:  George R.R. Martin, Anne McCaffery, Robert Jordan, Christopher Paolini (Eragon was made into a movie too!)

  • Graphic Novels:  No idea…drawing a blank. 

  • Historical Fiction: I know I’ve read something in this genre recently, but I’m not certain it’s “popular” enough to be recognized in casual conversation.

  • Horror: Stephen King (although I’m pretty sure I’d never say, “I write Stephen King for kids.”) Dean Koontz

  • Humour: Shopaholic was pretty funny…could I put it here too?

  • Literary Fiction: Obviously, I could go with the big dogs here: Austen, Bronte, etc.  But
  • Military and Espionage:  Pretty much anything Tom Clancy, Dale Brown, or Robert Ludlum. 

  • Mystery:  Mary Higgins Clark (although that’s more cozy), Agatha Christie (that’s more classic).  

  • Offbeat or Quirky: I’m thinking Louise Rennison (Withering Tights, Confessions of Georgia Nicholson) but I’m certain an adult wouldn’t recognize those titles. 

  • Picture Books: Where the Wild Things Are, The Giving Tree, Good Night Moon.  (I could go on FOREVER). 

  • Romance: Danielle Steel? 

  • Science Fiction: Maybe Ender’s Game or anything Ray Bradbury? (I once read that something had to be “genetically modified” to be considered Sci-Fi.  I’m not sure if that’s true, but that’s the standard I’m sticking to for the purpose of this list.)

  • Thrillers and Suspense:  How have I not covered this already?  Umm…

  • Westerns:  Louis L’Amour.  Is there a better, more modern equivalent?

  • *I realized as I made this list that I don’t know enough about how and why books are classified in specific genres.  Perhaps that would be a good post for another day. 


    • Redleg

      In a peculiar way I’m glad you posted this, because I’ve been trying to piece that question together for my current work but had no reason to actually write it down until now. So here goes:

      “If Aaron Sorkin and Brian Keene collaborated to create a Joseph Conrad meditation after a brief phone call for advice to George R.R. Martin, it would be The Ghoul Archipelago.”

      Secondarily, this may be familiar since I forced you to read it (and much easier, since somebody already came up with the mashup for me) :

      “If George Romero sat down to write a Dashiell Hammett piece it would be Braineater Jones.”

    • Carrie Butler

      Oh man. What a loaded question! I guess I’d say Strength might appeal to those who enjoy the romantic, paranormal aspects of Gena Showalter’s writing and the stumbling, first-person antics of Janet Evanovich’s. Or not. I don’t know!

      Great post, though. 🙂

    • Trisha Leaver

      Hmm . . . Kudos to you. I couldn’t even begin to classify my writing. I mean I know the genre, but to actually compare it to a specific author, that’s hard. Let’s see — If Stephen King and Cormac McCarthy got together for a last meal with Kurt Vonnegot then I guess you would have something close to what I write.

      But I bow to their superior writing skills and only wish that I could be 1/4 as talented as they are.

    • Peggy Eddleman

      Ha! This is awesome! I write MG, so I get, “So you’re the next J.K. Rowling, huh?” Um… yeah. Because she’s TOTALLY duplicatable. 😉

      I have no idea who I would compare mine to– even if I stay within MG! It’s SO HARD to figure that stuff out! (My editor is pitching my book as “The next City of Ember.” I guess that kind of fits…)

      You’ve got an awesome blog here! I LOVE the look of it!

    • Laura C.

      Dean Koontz, I guess. I’d like to say Stephen King, but I don’t have his ‘storyteller’s’ voice. And Yay for Lindsay. I’d love a look at her WIP. So few YA writers do Horror.

    • William Kendall

      Graphic novels, I’d suggest the works of Neil Gaiman… just saying.

      As for myself, I’d say I have several influences: Jack Higgins and Daniel Silva in my genre, and in style, Michael Shaara, Jeff Shaara, and Stephen Ambrose.

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