What Genre Is This Manuscript? Plus A Call for Readers

I’ve finally finished revising that manuscript that wouldn’t let me go (read more about that here or here), and it’s time to give it a new title and description here on the blog. One of my CPs was getting after me because even though I’d told her the new title, I was still calling it DUET :). Anyway, the new title is …



I don’t think it gives away quite as much as the previous title did, but still there’s a hint of what to expect in the story. So from now on, we’ll call it MUSIC :).

I have a new description, too, which I’ll get to in a second. But first I’d like to explain a dilemma I’m having. When I queried this manuscript in 2012-13, I called it magical realism. No one gave me any trouble about it, but as I’ve read more magical realism over the past few years and studied the definition, I don’t think that’s what it is. My writing style is much more commercial than literary (although there are some musical passages in the MS that I’d like to think have a lyrical feel), so even though the basic definition of the real world with one magic element could technically work, I don’t think it’s right. At the same time, paranormal implies some type of creature to me, like vampires or ghosts, so that doesn’t fit either. I’ve already asked a few writer friends, and the suggestion I like best so far is “contemporary young adult with a supernatural twist.” However, I would love to get some more feedback on this genre question, so here is the description.

Fifteen-year-old violin prodigy Miranda Harper has had a single goal since she was nine: perfection. For nearly as long, everyone has been telling her perfection’s a myth. So when Miranda’s new violin delivers the elusive goal, she’s only a little concerned perfection comes along with an actual myth, sweeping her into the story of the music she’s playing, “Ride of the Valkyries.”

Miranda’s best friend, Lizzie, insists the violin’s possessed, but obviously it’s magical. Admittedly a few of the side effects in subsequent trips, like draining her energy and souvenir injuries, veer more horror-movie. (After visiting Psycho, she totally gets the screeching violins.) But perfection is worth anything. The violin knows what’s best for her. It even points her toward a perfect, older guy who understands her music instead of the boy who’d clearly distract her.

She’s in complete control of the violin, no matter what Lizzie thinks. Or … maybe not. As Miranda dabbles in increasingly dangerous trips into the music, she discovers the price of perfection may be more than she’s willing to pay.

So that’s my working description. I’m still not sure what I’ll do with this, but should I decide to query it or enter any contests in the future, I’ll have to give it a genre label. What would you call it?

My second request is bigger. I’m looking for some new readers for this manuscript. My CPs want to read the new version, but before they do, I’d really like some fresh eyes on it. So let me know if you’re interested in reading THE MUSIC STEALS YOUR SOUL. I could send a few chapters to start with and see if it grabs you/we’re a fit. I’m always happy to return the favor as well. As far as a timeline, I’d like to have it back from readers by July 15 or so to decide next steps. Anyway, if you’re interested send me an email at mfaszold (at) hotmail (dot) com and introduce yourself. If we already know each other but just have never read for each other, that’s great too!

Looking forward to everyone’s thoughts on the new description and how I should classify this manuscript. THANK YOU!

Responses to “What Genre Is This Manuscript? Plus A Call for Readers”

  1. Marianne

    Would horror be too strong? The description reminds me a little of a short story about a possessed piano that I read in a YA horror anthology.

    • Michelle I. Mason

      It’s not really scary. There’s a *little* blood in two scenes, but not anything gory enough to put into horror territory. It’s more of a psychological threat to her.


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