Monday, July 10, 2017

Genre Help Please!


For the last couple of years, our lives have been dominated by dementia. Two of our loved ones were diagnosed over a year ago, although the condition was consuming us all long before the diagnosis.

As part of a way to deal with it all, I've been compiling the stories into a book (because that's what we do, right?).

I don't plan on using real names. I'm not out to embarrass anyone (some of the stories are snort-laughing funny, others are heartbreaking).

It's not a memoir. It's not a self-help book. It's not strictly nonfiction as I've changed names and have avoided some details to avoid identifying anyone.

It reads like a story. It is a story. A story of our family, our struggles, our victories, our pain, and our love.

This isn't a medical book. I have no medical knowledge, just experience. While it could be considered a guide for people caring for those with dementia or Alzheimer's, it's not exactly that. It's a journey. Our journey. One that might help a lot of people in similar positions.

The tone of the book will be light-hearted despite the pain and sorrow, because that's the best way we know how to survive.

My question of you, is:

What the heck am I writing? How do I classify it? Any ideas?

30 comments:

  1. Out side of memoir, I have no idea.

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  2. Hugs to you, Jemi! I'm so sorry you and your family are having to go through this (and your loved ones, too).

    It sounds like you're writing a collection of essays.

    I'm not great at categorizing, but I'm thinking your intended audience is a person who's facing a similar problem (hugs to you--didn't know this) and needs a dose of humor to help with the stress. Amazon has a 'medical humor' category: http://amzn.to/2u4gGNH . It does also have a dementia category: http://amzn.to/2tyNeyl , which appears to have some humorous entries in it.

    They also have a humorous essays category: http://amzn.to/2u8Rruc .

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth! Dementia is hideous!
      Those are great links - thank you so much, I'll check them out!

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  3. Also check BISAC's genre codes. I think this category fits it best - http://bisg.org/page/FamilyRelationships (Those codes are what publishers use to categorize books for stores and libraries and it's the industry standard.)

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    1. Diane - you're awesome! I didn't know about that. Thanks so much!

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  4. Elizabeth might be right if the stories stand alone by themselves. If they are strung together in a narrative, though, it might be called creative nonfiction. Lee Gutkind coined this term to fit this kind of thing, where you enhance, change, embellish, whatever... the names, places, events of reality.
    So sorry you're family is dealing with this, Jemi. Heart goes out to you.

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    1. Karen - creative nonfiction sounds like a decent fit too. You guys are awesome!
      Thank you - it's been a very difficult journey - but we're making it!

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  5. I'm with Alex. Other than a memoir, I'm not sure what you'd call it. Good luck with it and your family.

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  6. No idea, but I just wanted to let you know you have my sympathies. We've gone through this with a couple of family members, too. Hugs!

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    1. Thanks Carol. Dementia is an incredibly difficult thing to deal with! Hugs received and returned :)

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  7. Diane's right on. Go take a look and you'll find what suits your collection of stories or you can turn that collection into something fits a category.

    It sounds like you and your family have had a long and difficult road. So sorry that your stories had to come from so much pain, but you've chosen to honor those you love in a very important way.

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    1. Thanks Lee!
      It can be so all-consuming and heart-rending. We try to focus on the heart-lifting and the hilarious, but it can be hard.

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  8. So sorry to hear that you've been going through such a difficult time, Jemi x

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    1. Thanks Anita. It is challenging to say the least! But we're managing (mostly)! :)

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  9. I'm sorry you're going through this, Jemi. I hope you and your family can help pull each other through. As for the genre/category, I would think it would be memoir, particularly if you find/develop a theme running through all the stories, though creative non-fiction also seems right.

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    1. Thanks Jeff. I hadn't even thought of creative non-fiction before. I think the theme is Survival with a dose of Laughter tossed in :)

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  10. Jemi, I have no suggestion for a genre but I do hope whatever you do - you write this story. Having been a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer's for over three years, I understand the funny moments and the heartbreaking ones. There is a need for this type of book. People need to know there are others out there that feel like they do. My heart goes out to you and your loved ones. This terrible disease reminds me of the saying, you have to keep laughing to keep from crying. Good luck.

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    1. Thanks Mason. You know exactly what it's like. Such a roller coaster of emotions!!! And so much work.
      I think it has a good shot at being a good book ... once I'm done! :)

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  11. Creative non-fiction? Based on a true story? Sorry you're dealing with all that.

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    1. Thanks Susan. That might be the right fit for sure!

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  12. Memoir might be the closest genre for this.

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  13. Creative non-fiction sounds good. And I agree with Mason. This is a book a lot of people need because there are so many more people caring for their elders than ever.

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    1. Thanks Marcy. It's an overwhelming disease in so many ways - I think a light-hearted yet serious book might work :)

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  14. Even if names and details have been altered, it would still fall under memoir on my radar. Really what you have to think about is your intended audience. Who are the people that are most likely to read this book? You want to fall into a marketing bracket that is most likely to attract those people, so rather than creating a new bracket, I say go with the closest thing out there.

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    1. Sounds like an excellent plan Crystal. At first I was writing totally for me and then my family and now I think it may appeal to a wider audience :)

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  15. Hi Jemi,

    Firstly, I so sorry to read about the heartbreak of dementia that has impacted a couple of your loved one and thus, an emotional, frustrating impact on you and the rest of your family. I have talked to a number of friends of mine recently who are going through a similar situation in regards to their parents.

    There is so good advice in the comments in regards to what genre it could be potentially called. I'm not too sure what it could be called. I will, however, share your post on the social outlets and see if that gives your further feedback.

    Take care, my thoughtful friend.

    Gary.

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