There are rules…didn’t you know that? Why do you want to be a superhero…a rebel…and break them? What’s wrong with you??
You, my friend, are an edgy author; and that rule book can get tossed out the window if you do it right. Today, we will discuss Genre Blending.
Think of your book as a delicious smoothie; too much kale, and your smoothie is destroyed – doomed to the depths of being re-named: veggie juice. Too much pineapple, and your smoothie becomes as sugary sweet as Steve Harvey’s buttery smooth wit (I love that man!).
So what the hell am I talking about? Balance. There has to be balance.
First, I should discuss the rules of some of the most popular novel genres.
Romance: Generally written from the heroine’s perspective. We are introduced to the love interest by the end of the first chapter, the couple consummates the relationship in some way, and there is always a happy ending.
Fantasy: The parameters, histories, and limitations of the world that you create must be well thought out before hand. The theme (good vs evil), must be consistent but subtle…and when it comes to fantasy, the more original the plot, the better. Let’s be honest, it’s probably been done before.
Historical: The time and setting must be established on the first page, and the details must be perfect for your era. Also, your protagonist’s behavior and actions can only be judged by social norms of the era in question – not by modern day standards.
Science Fiction: Your plot must focus on the fringe. Something that stretches our imaginations beyond the limitations of our world. You may use technology, or any of the sciences (even psychology) to create your plot. But sci-fi also lends itself toward thoughtful, pensive, and sometimes mind-blowing revelations for the reader; so put your philosophical hat on!
Young Adult: This is one of the grayest of gray area genres on the market! But there are still rules. Your protagonist must be teen-age, and no matter the content or sub-genre, you must focus on your protagonist’s feelings.
So how do we blend? What’s the formula? Well…the short answer is that there is none. Oops! However, when we know and understand the rules of each genre we can be sure to correctly balance our manuscripts.
For example, you’re writing a Historical Fiction novel, and there is a love interest, but you – personally – wouldn’t categorize it as a Romance. Your love interest also happens to be a 1000 year old vampire…but you wouldn’t classify it as a Paranormal book either as it’s set in Henry VIII’s court and that’s the main premise. Besides, she doesn’t end up with Vlad in the end anyway. So what do you do?
Here’s my two cents. Set your time and scene in the first page – as dictated by the Historical genre rules. Next, make sure that Vlad is not introduced in the first chapter (if you do, your sweeping Historical will be classified as a Historical Romance). As for the 1000 year old vampire thing (seriously, could I have picked a more obscure example?), I would definitely just elude to his vampyric nature. Would your protagonist have known what a vampire was in the 1530’s? And if she doesn’t end up with him in the end, a little flirtation wouldn’t hurt, but do not – I repeat – do not, have them consummate their relationship in any way, shape or form, unless you want to market your book as a Paranormal Historical Romance.
Today, it’s all about genre blending. YA (young adult) continues to push the boundaries of genre – especially as so many YA novels are being consumed by actual adults (and by actual, I mean…people my age and older – no I will not divulge! How dare you!)
Bottom line, you can include romantic elements without your book being categorized as a romance. You can write Science Fiction that bends the rules of historical without using a time machine. Your manuscript is yours, and yours alone…until you share it with others!
I know that I didn’t hit on all genres, but the rules of each genre are out there for you to read. Google is a good place to start!
Until next time, happy writing! You can find me on Twitter or Instagram!