Tuesday, July 17, 2007

More on Mislabeling

This morning Crimespree publisher Jon Jordan posted his thoughts about the mislabeling of books, echoing my recent thoughts on noir in his closing:

I guess I think we need to back off the over labeling of books. Why not let the reader decide what it is? I understand the marketing departments dilema. They feel the need to label it so us moron book buyers know what it is. But readers read, they can look at the jacket copy. Or how about "A novel of suspense"? That covers a lot of ground.

Is there an answer for this?

I commented:

...I don't think there is a solution because we'd have to throw out existing labels and introduce a new set.

That said, I like the broad terms "character-driven" and "plot-driven." Most single-protag series would be termed the former, and most thrillers the latter.

The difference between a detective novel (in the broad sense including police) and a caper novel is another example of character-driven versus plot-driven.

We can also indicate which characters a book focuses on if novels about thieves, hitmen, and other criminals are called "crime" and police books are called "police procedural."

To me, the term "thriller" doesn't indicate suspense. Suspense is Edgar Allan Poe and Alfred Hitchcock. What we call thrillers today might be more appropriately labeled "Global Intrigue," including political, military, espionage, and adventure novels.

1 comment:

Victor Gischler said...

I get the label "thriller" quite often on my novels. I've never once sat down thinking, "Okay, I'm going to write a thriller." I don't quite object ... but I would never have thought of that label myself.