Monday, October 21, 2019

Pick One Genre? Nope.

Why do I genre hop/genre mix? Short answer: Because I like both sci-fi and fantasy (and historical fiction) and don't feel like picking just one.

I've been thinking about genres and subgenres some here lately, probably partially due to some webinars I've done for work. Some of them I didn't enjoy too much, but the sci-fi and fantasy ones were pretty good. They're available on YouTube, so you can totally watch them if you want. The NoveList training session at the end of each video probably isn't as useful, but if you have a GA library card, you can access NoveList using the GALILEO password. Just ask your local library. It does change every few months. And NoveList is a pretty useful tool.

Anyway, library resource plug over.

I've always found it difficult to choose genres when listing my books on Amazon. For instance, in Across the Stars, they travel on a spaceship to a planet where there is a castle and dungeons and flintlock rifles and swords. They live in a galaxy where other planets use technology, but they choose not to. Technically, it's science fiction, but the feel on-planet, the storyline, the tropes are more fantasy.

Time Captives is primarily fantasy. They go through a portal to a world with elves and merfolk and dragons ruled by an evil queen they have to defeat. But you've also got the Bremsi, a restraint set in the middle of an island that will send a fatal electric shock into anyone with the DNA of the royal family who crosses the border. Which seems a little more sciencey than you typically find in fantasy.

And then there's the Acktorek series I'm working on, which I consider science fiction, but yet I wonder if it would be better considered science fantasy since my "other worlds" concept is really more like fantasy worlds, just some of them have tech.

Twisted Dreams is most blatantly both genres, as one world Liesel is in is a somewhat standard fairy tale fantasy world and the other is straight up interplanetary sci-fi, albeit in a world that is not our own.

Often I wonder if this is part of why I struggle with marketing. Someone in the Realm Makers FB group the other day created a poll asking if you write for a niche market. And the more I think about it, yes, I do. But, like, a bunch of niche markets.

I write for the Narnia fans, the ones who like portal fantasy with rightful heir/chosen one-type tropes. But I also throw in pirates and gladiators and kids from history because I can. And other times spaceships.

I write for those who enjoy dystopian and biological experimentation...actually, The Experiment is one of my two most straightforward books regarding genre. But it's so different from Time Captives.

I write for those who like space opera/science fantasy like Star Wars, but I set it in another world so I can write stuff like aliens without the theological implications of actually writing aliens. But still with people who live in castles and have dungeons as easy to escape as the Camelot dungeons that inspired them. And of course biological experimentation because while I can't explain why I love the concept so much, I do.

I write for people who like the superhero genre, which typically is considered a subgenre of sci-fi. But I like completely different other worlds instead of parallel worlds so I can do anything. And I throw in a sprinkling of space opera feel because I like Star Wars and Dickensian London because I like Dickens and strange scenarios to solve that aren't quite sci-fi, but have enough fake science to not be fantasy either because I can.

So I'm a genre mixer. But you know, that's okay. Because while there are a lot of people who read genre fiction, I'm sure there are people out there who like both Star Wars and Lord of the Rings and who also enjoy a good super hero movie. Because isn't that what speculative fiction is all about? Using your imagination to put new and unique twists on all the things you love?

And you know what? I googled what subgenre Doctor Who fits, and discovered what deep down I probably already knew. That while its main genre is sci-fi, it dabbles in basically all the spec fic genres.

So maybe it would be easier to find my market if I wrote straight up genre fiction. In fact, I know it would be. But that's not me. I like too many different things to tie myself down to just one. And it's more fun to soar on the wings of pure imagination, creating something that's a unique blend of Star Wars, Narnia, The Flash, Doctor Who, and something else that's all my own.

I'm a genre mixer and that's who I am.

And I highly doubt I'm the only one.


  1. You read my feelings exactly. I can't write a story that's just one genre. I love to mix things, and create something that's entirely new and different! And I think many readers enjoy when a storyteller does that. :)

    1. Mixing things is so much fun! Glad to find another writer who feels the same way I do. :)


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