From the incoming queries today came a novel categorized as a "realistic fiction novel."
Of course the juxtaposition of fiction and novel pretty much assured my first reaction was downright horror and revulsion. I managed to control myself long enough to have second thoughts. Maybe the querier meant "realistic fiction" and that it was a novel (not a memoir.)
Don't do that.
There's no such category as "realistic fiction." I know this cause I've spent some time in bookstores.
When you think about it, and I hope you're thinking a LOT about how books work, fiction has to be believable, not necessarily realistic. Is it realistic that Jack Reacher always wins fights? No. Do I believe he does? You bet.
And more important: I don't read novels to get a dose of reality. That's what I have the New York Times for. I read novels for lots of different reasons but reality isn't on that list.
What does this mean for you? Don't over-think category. It's really ok to call your work a novel and leave it at that. If you write genre novels, use the broadest category you fit. Don't try to be clever.
Clever is how you get your blunderbuss aimed at your Buster Browns.