Mixing Literary Genres

Mixing Literary Genres

Mixing Literary Genres

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Looking for just the right book

If you’re the type of reader who enjoys multiple genres of fiction, you’re not alone. I mean, I guess that’s obvious–plenty of people enjoy multiple genres in their entertainment–but there’s something unique about mixing literary genres. If you have a taste for fast-paced action, but prefer it to be happening in a fantasy setting, there’s a book out there that delivers just that. If you enjoy romance but prefer your stories to take place in specific periods in history, there’s an author who loves writing that kind of story.

I’ve always been the kind of person who likes hybrid things. I’m an avid video game player. In the past, I’ve always chosen support or hybrid classes–I simply like mixing and matching skill sets to play in a unique way. The same goes for the books I read. I enjoy elements of technology, whether from the past, present or future; I eat up fantasy and sci-fi worlds that draw me in and mesmerize me; I love fighting scenes and love stories that aren’t cliche. But it can be difficult to find exactly that type of story on bookshelves, and that’s why I started writing across genres.

There are a lot of authors who do this. Many times, these authors are already fans of many literary genres. But rather than pick up one sci-fi book, then follow up with a steampunk book, they want to read a unique story that successfully melds all the best elements of both genres to make something unforgettable. And when they get sick of looking for that book that doesn’t seem to exist, they write it themselves.

Successfully Mixing Literary Genres

There are so many authors who have pushed the traditional boundaries of established literary genres. Of course, not all authors do this with great success, but those who manage to pull it off create something unforgettable. Tolkien birthed an entire type of epic fantasy. Lovecraft has his own specific paranormal horror genre as a namesake. Anais Nin wrote some of the most twisted and simultaneously captivating erotica I’ve ever read. And nowadays, there are plenty of authors looking to meld the paranormal and the romantic, the fantastical and the modern, or the futuristic and the antiquated, and they do so with varying degrees of success.

When mixing literary genres, I try to look at what these successful authors did and work that into my own books and stories. I ask myself things like:

  • Why did this book become a classic?
  • How does this type of story hold up today?
  • How can I adapt my worlds and characters for a modern audience, while still honoring the great storytelling that I admire about these older works?
  • How can I fuse iconic genre elements to make something recognizable and comfortable for fans of genre fiction, yet keep my approach fresh?

It’s something I don’t have worked out completely yet. I love to play with these ideas and see what I come up with. I think one of the greatest joys of writing is learning your unique style–and breaking just enough rules to succeed at mixing literary genres for your fans.

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