Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.
Is ‘genre-bending’ and ‘genre hybrid’ a reality or a fallacy? Has plot changed since Shakespeare or the Bible?
I think that stories, if they’re good enough, transcend genre. In the end, does it really matter if it’s supposedly Sci-fi or Historical Romance, as long as it moves the reader?
Of course, there is a problem with that theory, as I’m sure you can see. And that is the expectation of the reader. They’re expecting one thing, they get another. If they like Sci-fi, they won’t buy Rom-com.
But, consider this
Life is not fixed in one genre, and experiences will not always conform to what you might expect. After all, everyone’s life consists of episodes in various genres, romance, adventure, maybe crime or politics, all different parts of the same whole.
You get the picture? If your life is not constrained by genre, why should your reading or writing be?
Although, if someone asks me, I will say that I write Sci-fi and Steampunk, it’s not that simple. Other genres have to intrude. I cannot write a single genre story. I guess my job is to mash it all together in such a way that the story becomes accessible to anyone.
I mix my Sci-fi and Steampunk stories with romance, crime, adventure and even history (it might be the history of the future but that still counts). In an effort to make it accessible, I try to make the fiction at least as prominent as the science.
Which doesn’t mean that the science isn’t there, or important. It’s just that it’s not overbearing and never the focus. Science exists in life today, it always has but most of it is in the background. It happens without us noticing and we accept it. So if the story is set in the future (or an alternative present), it’s the reality for the characters. Like us, they accept it as part of their world and get on with it. I remember the first Star Wars film (now there was a genre mashup), the technology used was old and imperfect, just like it is in real life.
That taught me a lesson, the future might not be the utopia that everyone expects. Even halfway across the Galaxy, things will still break down or give you false information. You can use that familiarity to your advantage, make the reader feel at home in your writing.
I want to get all the people who wouldn’t normally read what I write (because they think that it’s not their genre) and turn them into fans.
How do I do that? By trying to be relatable, by starting my stories off in a familiar place, with an experience that we can all relate to. Like opening a hotel room door, working in a café, meeting your soul mate. Or even by getting off a train. We’ve all done this sort of thing, even if we haven’t we know people who have.
Then, when the reader is invested in the normality of the initial idea and wants to know more, you can hit them from left field. Site the hotel or café on another planet, with an incredible view from the window. Put your soul mate in charge of a spaceship. Or make the train journey a riot of steam and brass in a quasi-Victorian society.
While I don’t claim to be an expert, I have had quite a few reviews that start “I don’t normally read Sci-fi, but….,” so I must be doing something right.
I suspect that I haven’t really answered this weeks question, especially the bit about Shakespeare. I promise to try harder next time around.
Let me know what you think about this week’s subject.
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