View Full Version : cross-genres....

03-10-2005, 05:50 AM
do you think that mixing genres creates pollution or opens doors for other fans to give a different genre a shot?

i think for fantasy, the closest relative, stylistically speaking, is romance (historical romance in particular). both seem to be more purply than the rest. but, does that mean they can co-exist in the same book? i recently picked up one of my wife's romance books and, as it turned out, had an entire sci-fi background, people zipping around in space ships and whatnot. okay, i think it's safe to assume that this romance isn't taking a hard science approach to its technology, but beyond that it seemed rather forced to jam the two together. too, i think you run the risk of not adhering to another genre's standards, so if a sci-fi guy picked up that book, he might not be too thrilled his genre's conventions aren't being adhered to. to harp on romance a minute more, you've also got 'paranormal romance.'

is this gimmicky? valid? is it a case of shania twain having as much to do with country music as elvis did death metal? or should all bets be off considering the quality of the work? is it fair to do a fantasy-based mystery yet completely ignore what mystery readers expect?

Zane Curtis
03-10-2005, 06:35 AM
I don't know how other people approach this, but for me labels come after the fact. I'm not going to worry about what genre my story is until I've got a draft or two under my belt, and I'm deciding where I'm going to try and sell it. When I'm planning a story and writing it, I'm going to use whatever will work best for the story, no matter where it comes from. If that means putting a robot in it, then so be it. If means setting an SF story in the past, or a fantasy story in the future, then so be it.

To be honest, I think worrying about genre is a mug's game. It's like letting some sort of fannish committee loose inside your brain, with their rulers and multi-meters and lists of rules, and letting them dictate what you should be writing and how. That's not how it should work. You're the writer; it's your job to decide what to write and how. After all, when you let the Committee for the Nerdish Definition of Genre (CoNDOG) loose on an innocent idea like cross-genre fiction, you get the sort of thing you described -- Mills & Boon in space, death metal elves -- which is kind of lame, even as a vague concept.

03-10-2005, 07:37 AM
From my perspective, genre doesn't exist. They're just made-up labels so that human beings can categorize (and trust me on this, human beings LOVE to categorize) in order to make sense out of things.

Crossing these "genres," IMO, is one of the best things you can do in a story. It may not make people pick up your science fiction novel if they love romance, but think of some of the most critically acclaimed novels, the classics, and the literary classics. Hardly any of them are single-stories, single-genre. Overlapping creates interest, and quite honestly it's some of the only kinds of stories I can stand.

Why settle for a "chick flick," based entirely on romance, when I can pick up something like The Iliad that involves romance, action, fantasy, drama and suspense all in one?