First reason? It’s simple math – more diverse elements, more readers. The second reason? It’s freaking awesome. That being said, it’s crucial to mix mindfully, lest you find yourself knee-deep in some Frankenstein concoction. Sure, it is spooky season, but that’s not enough reason to want your concepts to feel like some freak of nature straight out of the lab. This week, I’m going to share some of my favorite genre blends, and in my opinion, why they work so well. Of course, it still requires a delicate balance between niches and trends. But once you master your voice and what you like layered up against what audience you want to win over, you’ll be golden.
This one’s a classic – come on now! People love watching two idiots fall in love despite hilarious circumstances through unorthodox methods. Romance is far too complex to be serious all the time, so unless you’re going full smut, you can easily mix in a heavy helping of comedy. Who am I kidding? Even smut readers probably would love comedy (I don’t read or write smut but if you do, humor is probably a great idea). This will reach romance lovers and Adam Sandler fans, so that’s a great audience to work with. Plus, it’s one of my all-time favorites.
Science Fiction Dystopian Genre Thrillers
Simple – science fiction is vague enough that it has so many off-shoot genre potentials. Time-travel is one of my favorites, as well as steampunk, and fantasy. For the hardcore folks, you can absolutely add some horror in there are well if you want to. The only thing I would caution against in these genre blends, is what I like to call the zombie and werewolf clause. That is, don’t sprinkle those things in there unless they fit. For example, steampunk would be a very weird place to add werewolves, since the emphasis is thematically more on the industrial age and technology more than biological disasters. But then again, rules are meant to be broken. If you have your heart set on it, why not indulge that idea? Just do it carefully, with the full understanding that not everyone is going to vibe with it. If you’re looking for help putting together your dystopian concepts read this other article HERE.
Genre Suspense and Crime Thrillers
While I haven’t read much in these genres, from what I understand, there is a ton of potential to mix up something fun. I’ve seen authors add steampunk or apocalyptic dimensions to suspense novels, and crime is universal for any genre. There are also potentials to intersect nicely with the above genres – like time travel or historical genres – so blend in a twist or two. And heck, why not throw in some romance too? I personally only read books with at least a romantic subplot. But that’s just what I like – you should follow your heart and let your story dictate what it needs. If you listen closely enough, it will tell you.
The best rule of thumb is to have fun with it – if it makes sense to you, that’s enough! Just don’t force more elements into a story just for marketing reasons. That’s why being aware of balancing niche with popularity is also key. Think about what you like to read, and why those books hit all the right notes for you. Is it because they fit with your expectations? Or because they obliterate them? Maybe they even create a whole new sub-genre that you never knew much about before. Any of these reasons would signify something that you can – and should – emulate for your next book idea.
Hopefully these ideas helped you a bit. As is most things in creativity, genres are merely a construct we pesky humans have developed to help us categorize things. But breaking away from those limitations is where the real magic happens. So go ahead – write that mermaid unicorn crime thriller – I’m so sure that in this galaxy or the next, someone will love it too.