Cross Them Genres


By Zyllan Fotografía ( [CC-BY-2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

The burst of e-publishing in the last decade has created an exciting situation. Gone are the days of books relegated to their sections in bookstores, fighting for space along side others in a genre system that never quite made much sense. Vonnegut in the same section as Robert Ludlum? Stranger in a Strange Land next to the latest Star Trek book? Nope nope nope. Silly.

No, in the wide open digital world, books are free from being shoehorned into broad categories. This is the era of the cross-genre, where a story can blend whatever elements they like to whatever fantastic end the writer can conceive. Case in point, my forthcoming series, Gone To Wonder.

GtW is about a theme park. A steampunk theme park. With Celtic fantasy elements. And a hint of far-future scifi. With near-future whiz-bang technology. But ultimately, it’s the story of a young woman finding her place in a crazy world. There’s a lot going on, but thankfully, I don’t have to simply label it “science fiction” or “young adult” and move on. I can list it online with as many keywords as I’m allowed, in whatever combination suits it best to both describe it and find readers.

I adore the idea of cross-genre. As a creative writing exercise, it can grease the wheels. Try it–think of two genres that you wouldn’t ordinarily imagine working together, then think about the story possibilities.

Paranormal romance/Ocean’s 11-style heist: Girl recruits vampire, ghost, and merman to help her steal from the rich oil baron that wronged her family; vamp, ghost, and merman compete for her affections.

Superhero/post apocalypse: Amnesiac hero sets out to fix a shattered world, but discovers his god-like powers caused the end of the world.

Time-travel/detective: History has gone awry in a time-travel incident, and it’s up to the Hercule Poirot of historians to uncover the clues, discover the perpetrator, and fix the past.

The possibilities are infinite. Tell me some of your ideas. Do you have a favorite book that stepped genre lines brilliantly? Have any unlikely blends you’d like to see?


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