Genre Choosing

Justin Bienvenue

Justin Bienvenue
Written by Justin Bienvenue

Sometimes one of the many issues we run into as authors is to which genre does our book fall under? Yes in most cases it’s easy to distinguish a books place and where it should fall but sometimes that’s not so

clear. While my last three books already had a distinct genre ready for them after they were completed my fourth book did not. Opium Warfare was a fun project to write but the challenge of it was trying to figure out which genre it fell under. To be honest, while writing it I began thinking of genres of where it fit and none were coming into play.

I knew more of what it wasn’t then what it was. Finally, one day I sat down and really thought about it. I thought about the content, the
representation, the locations, the basis, you name it I thought of it. Then I picked out the one solid small piece of connection I had in a genre..the title itself…Opium. Opium is a drug and drugs are usually connected to crime, but is it truly a crime novel? No, at least not in the sense of first true definition of a crime novel. For all intensive purposes the book is a type of crime but about 4th or 5th on a list of what makes a crime novel. I then immediately thought of a thriller. A thriller not in the sense of horror but in the sense that there are many suspenseful and intense situations throughout the book. It was during this that I remembered Crime Thrillers do exist and therefore I needed not to look any further because a Crime Thriller was what suited my book best. I did also ask my members of the Opium Warfare Book Group to which genre it fell under and they more or less chose genres of Crime, Thriller and even Historical Fiction.

So what is a Crime Thriller? It’s a sub-genre in which suspenseful aspects of a thriller are mixed in with a crime plot creating a strong diverse genre of drama. In my opinion, I felt my book is better suited within this genre rather than within the two as stand alone genres. If any, out of the two I would place Opium Warfare more in the Thriller genre than I would in the Crime simply because the definition of a Crime novel has to do more along the lines of law and judicial systems. Placing a book in the proper genre is important not only to the book but to a reader. I felt more torn over this then I had with any of my other books because like I said earlier, it just wasn’t that easy to define. While this may seem like it took away from the book it in many ways helped it. It helped me not only categorize my book within two genres but it also made me look deeper and figure out if it fell into even more. Luckily it fell into two others, one which of course is Historical Fiction because it takes place in Shanghai, set in a time period of 1920 and seeing that it has actual facts and sometimes real events and places it qualifies under historical fiction. It also qualifies as a Psychological Crime Thriller.

What exactly makes the book psychological? Well there are a couple things actually. The first is the characters and how they think. At times the characters either explain themselves so you get to know their psyches, explain how they think or find themselves in intense suspenseful and intellectual moments that verge on the brink of psychological analysis. Also there’s the whole psychological crime aspect. Psychoanalysis and psychological tactics in a crime setting can create a totally intricate plot for a novel and when blended into a Crime Thriller the results are what you see in Opium Warfare. Characters who use their minds and their projected feelings toward others to create a harmful environment.

Overall the question is why will you enjoy Opium Warfare? Because of it’s unique and yet at first uncertain placement but also because it transcends between several genres and even reads as a third being a Crime Thriller. I hope Opium Warfare will be enjoyed by Crime, Psychological, Thriller, Historical Fiction fans and all book lovers who enjoy a well written book with plenty in it to entertain and educate all at the same time.

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Dylan Callens

About the Author...

Dylan Callens is a writer and educator living in Sudbury, Ontario. 

His debut novel, Operation Cosmic Teapot, was a resounding success. Since then, Dylan has written a number of other books, including his most recent novel, And the Cow Jumped Over the Blue Moon