Emerging Genres in Literature: New Adult Fiction

Choosing a genre to write in (avoiding the argument you shouldn’t write for the genre but for the story) can be difficult considering the mounting options. Just in the last few decades, more genres have emerged, adding to the list that seems never ending. This, of course, is an accomplishment from years of authors writing outside the box and outside the lines, reinventing what it means to give birth to literature. However, we have to question if these new genres are seeing the light of day (or light of the production room for publication)? Are they still too new to see such a large amount on the shelf? Has the genre had its time and needs to sit on the back burner for a while? Are writers too scared of the challenge? Or is this genre just a hard sell?

These questions need to be asked, considering popular novels—best-sellers—seem to fall mostly in the traditional genres we all know (the basics—mystery, romance, science fiction), ignoring the sub-genres or specific categories that seem to highlight only a few novel success stories and not much more.  For this first installment, I will be discussing the new sexy genre known as New Adult Fiction.

(Complete list of fiction genre’s can be found here: http://www.cuebon.com/ewriters/genres.html)

New Adult Fiction

Perhaps the newest of genres comes a type that has long been needed in the literary world. This is not your YA novel nor is it meant for adults. NA Fic is for the voices of 18-25 year olds, the souls in the transitional part of their lives. It represents the real struggle between the stage of adolescents and adulthood and allows a little more lead way between the novels. The rules that apply to YA, don’t apply to NA. In essence, it’s an excellent genre that truly needs to be used more than it has, though since its conception in 2009 (St. Martins Press), more literary agents and publishing houses haven been opening their minds to the genre.

What This All Means

I’ll admit and you will be able to see with the current books in this genre, that NA is already being taken over by steamy sex novels in angsty eighteen year old people (so pretty much a YA which raunchy sex scenes).  Though, this is just an opportunity a writer should relish in—taking on the challenge and transforming the genre (that is new—just in case you forgot) to be more than hot dirty moments with underdeveloped characters in college. So much of what happens in this time frame is still largely left untold (or the stories themselves were mis-identified. Good article by Teri Brown about his novel is here: http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/new-adult-the-next-big-thing ).

So Where Does A Writer Go From Here?

We’ve already established the age range in the genre so check that little box off your list. What kind of story would be worth writing? (God, this is such a loaded question).

  • Idea 1: Continue in the path of college set novels and re-imagine the sexual exploration and high energy emotions that happen at that stage. Many stories can be told so carry on.
  • Idea 2: College or no college setting that deals with stories with depth. I had the chance to meet several people in college from all walks of life—some transition better than others. They can be people who have dealt with depression who are hanging onto life by a string, or a soldier transition back to civilian life getting their education. Or even stories involving those who don’t make it back from the depths of whatever has forced their life to a halt. A lot can be done here.
  • Idea 3: The more evolved supernatural stories. YA energy with adult violence and realism. I can already feel the goosebumps on my skin from the epic badass stories that are have yet to be writing in this form (or continued to be written).
  • Idea 4: Where the character finds their place in the world when so much horror is happening. The typical college kid (or at least in my undergrad) were not too involved in politics, nor really in tuned with international affairs, unless is showed up on Fox news. Pick a country and you will certainly be able to research the kind of unthinkable events that occur there. This is not to say the U.S. is perfect, but there are far worse places in the world and most YA novels have ignored this area (not a surprise—these subjects are difficult to read such as Sold by Patricia McCormick).
  • Idea 5: Stories that explain transactions that change people’s lives—for the worst. You can take your average big city and find the creepiest individuals, the sad stories, the ‘walk to the other side of the street, this person is talking to themselves’ moments. People do not begin life like that and it can often be that transition stage they fail to be a normal (if that exists) adult.
  • Idea 6: Time travel. I’m kidding…

Current NA Fiction Novels

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