Readers today are ripe for the blending of genres. They crave stories that don’t just satisfy their love of intrigue, or fantasy, or romance, or mystery, or science-fiction, but combine elements of many or all of these. Or at least that’s how I see it.
Why do I think this? Aside from the interesting combinations I’ve seen pop up on the bookstore shelves and wink at me from the virtual shelves of epublishers, I know this because I am a reader who wants the same. Catherine Asaro is a fantastic example of someone who has pushed the boundaries between science fiction and romance. She writes “hard science” science fiction, yet her romantic relationships are complex and interesting and set in a universe where there is a lot more going on than the development of those relationships. I adore reading her books because they feed my many needs.
I want intricate worldbuilding in fantastical lands, familiar and not so familiar. I want complexity in romantic relationships, but am not caught up with immediate Happily Ever Afters. I want both the slower paced political maneuverings of a fantasy novel and epic, and the fast paced one-disaster-after-another punch of other genre fiction. I want a major love plot line and just as significant parallel plot lines involving twisting paths of their own. I want fast paced dialogue and plenty of internal narrative painting the emotional inner journey of the protagonists. I want humor and darkness.
In short, I want it all.
Thankfully, many talented writers are out there trying to deliver it for me. But most importantly, I’m drawn to writing those stories that satisfy my cravings. I’d say it takes courage to decide to write outside of major marketing trends, but I don’t think that’s it. You write what you need to write, the stories you need to tell. It’s not so much courage as vision and stubborn grit determination. Then you take your babies and help others see that same fantastic vision you did in order to find them a home.
It’s hard work. And it takes finding critiquers who’ll think outside of the box. Friends that write romance have to be able to accept signficant non-romance plots and not so happily ever afters. Friends that write fantasy have to accept a lot more romance and sexual content. Friends that write urban fantasy have to accept a not so urban environment, though contemporary all the same.
I believe the future of publishing will increasingly embrace more complex combinations of genre fiction. There’s been amazing change already in what is being published. Epublishing alone has brought us a far way down that path.
So, yay for me. I get to look forward to more of what I want to read. And more chance of publishing what I want to write.
What are your favorite blends of genre types? What are you still looking for that you have yet to find? Let me know.