Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Name That Genre! #37


You cannot kill magic, but if you capture it, you can use it as you please

— Old proverb

The dumpling-shaped man gripped the pages lightly in one fat, bejeweled hand and frowned. Despite its foxed edges, the paper’s thickness signaled its age, promising a good profit. Yet he wavered.

Across from him, perched on a high and narrow fencepost, the tall girl blinked, pretending that she hadn’t caught a whiff of his misgiving. “Take a good, long look. I brought them to you as I know you love a first-rate history,” she said.

As she spoke, the hot scent of frying lamb rinds cut through the chill in the air, and for a moment they both paused. “Snap ’em up! Frrreeesssh rinds!” hollered the high voice of a young boy from the marketplace below.

The man moved a hand involuntarily toward his belly, while the girl puckered her nose and drew in a hungry breath.


  1. Fantasy

    The proverb gives away that this story probably has something to do with magic!

  2. Fantasy.

    The proverb took me immediately to Genie. However, had the proverb been missing, I would have thought middle-east historical.

  3. Fantasy

    Because of the proverb. But without that, I probably would have said fantasy because this reads like a prologue and has a historical feel.

  4. Fantasy

    After that proverb, I couldn't read it as anything BUT fantasy.

  5. Fantasy

    The proverb, without the it I wold have said historical fiction.


    The opening proverb about magic says it all.

  7. Fantasy, but only because of the proverb.

    If you take away that, I think the fantasy feel is lost, and I'm not 100% sure what I'd say.

  8. Fantasy.

    Even without the proverb.

  9. I'm going with fantasy -- because of the proverb in the opening.

  10. Fantasy

    Without the proverb it wold have been a toss up between fantasy and historical.

  11. Fantasy. The proverb is the hint.

  12. Fantasy

    The setting seems magical, I was thinking circus before the mention of the marketplace.

  13. Magic, thanks to the proverb. I liked the descriptions. Good luck, Sarah

  14. Fantasy.

    I got hints of historical, but a stronger sense of not-in-this-world.


    The word "magic" in the proverb was the main hint, but also the tone of the writing puts it toward the high end of the fantasy spectrum. There's a marketplace and food sellers and an old but valuable book. Not that any of those elements couldn't be contemporary, but altogether, they feel fantasy.

  16. Dystopian

    A rich man buying a historic document from a hungry girl suggests a decline in civilization to me. I think she's a scavenger. The proverb does point to fantasy, but everything seemed a little gritty.

  17. Fantasy
    And I'm guessing the girl is a werewolf and she's going to eat that guy. Lol!

  18. Definitely fantasy. Wondering who's going to capture the magic. It's middle grade, but the girl is only described as "tall" so I'm not sure if the setup is done here.


    Given away by a lot of things, so good job! I'm particularly intrigued by the girl who's "perched" on the fencepost and catches a whiff of his misgiving -- all the other fantasy tips in this piece make me wonder if she can literally smell his misgiving (which would be cool).

  20. Fantasy

    As others mentioned, the proverb suggests fantasy from the get-go.

    I like most of this passage, but the first sentence is a little overly ornate for me. The man is both dumpling-shaped and fat, with a bejeweled hand in which he's lightly gripping pages. It's just a couple too many adjectives for one sentence I think.

  21. From the opening proverb one would say fantasy.

    The description of the paper was confusing. Every reader isn't going to know what "foxed edges" on paper means - and "foxed edges" suit older, used, paper. You wouldn't expect them on new paper. The less than perfect condition of the paper might lessen the value of the book (I'm assuming it's a book)but would fit with an older book - would be present as an indication of age - not "despite" its age.

  22. Fantasy

    From the proverb, but the rest as well. Could be set on another world or middle English ages.

  23. Fantasy

    The proverb at the beginning implies the story will involve harnessing magic.

  24. Fantasy.

    Mention of magic, the bejeweled hand, and the use of "marketplace."

  25. Fantasy

    The proverb and the word magic make it evident, but even if it wasn't there, there's something about it that says Fantasy to me. Maybe because it's the genre I read most. But it felt like Fantasy all the way through.

  26. Fantasy
    Guessed from proverb, but everything else confirmed.

  27. OP here. It's fantasy!

    Thank you SO much everyone for such hugely helpful comments! The sentiment in the proverb about magic is key to the story and I guess it's a bit of a giveaway. But the fantasy world draws on historical influences from several different periods, so it was interesting to see that without the proverb some folks guessed historical.

    Many thanks again, and good luck to all with your writing!