Monday, June 2, 2014

The Benefits of Hybridizing Genres: Bringing Something New to Old Tables

When I set out to write "Of Murder and Monsters," I didn't want to write a legal drama that most would assume was a thinly veiled memoirs.  Likewise, I wasn't convinced that I wanted to go in the direction of a pure thriller either.  For those that have already read the book, "Of Murder and Monsters" also is not a straight horror tale.  It's a mix of all three: blending a legal drama, thriller and elements of horror.  Could the book survive on it's own if it just focused on only one of these genres?  Maybe.  Does it add something by blurring the lines between the other forms of storytelling?  I'd like to think so.

The reality is that the age old adage that "there are no new stories" is a fairly accurate statement.  The other part of the adage, of course, is that there are only new ways of telling old stories.  So it stands to reason that by taking the familiar and throwing it into foreign territory, you may walk away with something unique.  Mixing romance stories with horror is nothing new, as there are plenty of supernatural love tales (i.e. vampire, werewolf and ghost related stories).  Likewise, sci-fi thrillers have be done to great effect.  So there are plenty of examples of books that have mixed different genres and it's a trend that should continue.  Not only does it help push and expand the types of books that are out there, it helps expose readers to other genres that they otherwise might not try.

The key, I think, is in creating something that has something for everyone surrounding the core aspect of the book.  Essentially, this means that if you're setting out to write a thriller, wrapping it with a morsel of science fiction may end up attracting new readers like foodies to a bacon wrapped pork chop.  What could be better than introducing someone to a new genre that, but for your book, they would have never otherwise discovered?  More importantly, you were their "first."  And let's face it, no one forgets their first.

Have you written or read something that mixed multiple genres together?  What was it and what did you like best about that?

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