Sometimes, your story might seem to fit in more than one genre. But audiences for each genre have specific expectations—is it possible to mix more than one genre into your story and still satisfy your readers? Well, shake hands with the Dr. Frankensteins here at Writer’s Relief, because we know the best hacks for combining different writing genres in order to stitch together something your readers will love!
Tips For Combining Writing Genres To Make Must-Read Hybrids
When it comes to genres, the standard writing advice is to stay in your lane. But this type of thinking might lead to tired, predictable story tropes. Remember, there are always exceptions to any rule! There can be very good reasons to mix genres when telling your story. But keep in mind that, as with orange juice and toothpaste, not all genres work well together.
Know your genres. It’s important to do your research. If you write romances but want to add a trope or story element that’s usually found in mysteries, you must be equally familiar with both genres if you want to make it work. Reading books in the genres you plan to mix will help you understand the different expectations and trends, and you may even learn some techniques you never would have considered!
Choose one main genre. Your sci-fi novel may benefit from elements of mystery and romance, but there should still be one main genre as the focus. Take time to consider each genre, subgenres, and the elements that define each, then see how well they blend. Work with the genres, not against them!
Make sure the elements are cohesive. Paranormal romance is a popular hybrid for young adult novels, sci-fi mysteries can be a match made in heaven, and a historical fiction horror mash-up can be thrilling. Elements from other genres can enrich your world-building and character development and make your story more interesting and multifaceted. Stay true to your own style, and add something new. A cyberpunk thriller, perhaps? Or a coming-of-age folktale? Give it a try!
Let the experts decide. Here’s an insider tip from our submission strategists: When querying your hybrid manuscript, you may have more success if you simply call your work a “novel” and leave it to the agent and publishing house to decide where it belongs. You might be convinced your book about elvish detectives solving murders belongs in the fantasy genre, but your literary agent and publisher might sell it as a mystery. Professional booksellers know the audiences for each genre and how they shop.
Following these tips will help you breathe life into your narrative to create an engaging, cohesive story—rather than a shambling zombie. Honor the genres you choose by being faithful to the conventions and carefully blending them together for your story. And when you’re ready to unleash your newly created hybrid novel into the world, the research lab rats at Writer’s Relief can target the best markets and boost your odds of getting published. Learn more about our services, and submit your work to our Review Board today!
Question: What is your favorite hybrid genre novel?