Genre Bending and Blending


This post is part of the Rolling Mystery Blog Tour. My blog was third on this list for this roll, which started with John Hines, who was followed by Kathleen Kaska. All of the participants of today’s roll are listed at the bottom of this article, and all have written articles on the subject of Genre Bending and Blending. Please take time today, or this week, to visit all the blogs on the list. And now, on to my article on Genre Bending and Blending:

This topic wreaks havoc with writers, especially unpublished writers. We plot and plan, write and revise, polish and submit, and our manuscripts are often returned for the simple  reason that they don’t really fit into the category the agent or editor represents. I have a friend who is in the midst of writing a wonderful story. It has a literary feel, but with mystery, and unending sexual tension. So, what genre is it, really? I don’t think it will pass for a romance, though it has hot spots. It might be a mystery, but not the typical who-done-it. It’s not a cozy, or a thriller. If we can’t name it, put it in a nice, neat slot, does that mean it deserves to sit in the slush pile for ever? If the storytelling is wonderful, the writing is crisp, and the plot is intriguing, if the characters are well-rounded and interesting, and the script has been polished to within an inch of its life, but it doesn’t fit anywhere, does the writer deserve to go on being unpublished just because her writing is unique?

Fortunately, there are small presses out there that are willing to take a chance on those of us who have trouble fitting our writing into preconceived notions of what is and isn’t publishable. And with the advent of ebooks, and the ease and availability of self-publishing, almost anyone can get a book published. The kicker is, readers need to be able to find your books, no matter what you write. So if your writing doesn’t readily fit into a genre, how will readers know what to expect?

As the publishing industry continues to go through growing pains, and readers become more open to the bending and blending of genres, it will get easier for those of us whose writing doesn’t quite fit the molds out there. But until that time, writers may have to hold on to those manuscripts they have worked so hard on, or else, compromise their writing to fit into the stereotypical genre of the week.

There has to be an answer to this problem. There must be a way for writers who bend and blend genres to let readers know what to expect from their writing. One way is to blog about it, and to set up their platform so that it praises the newness, the uniqueness of the writing. We need to find words that fit our writing and use them to put our names and our work out there for readers to find. Celebrate your uniqueness, and then make sure readers are able to find that uniqueness and celebrate it with you.

The next stop on the Rolling Mystery Blog Tour for this roll is Mollie Cox Bryan. Mollie has a great blog and her articles are full and fun. Below is a  list of blogs participating in this roll of the rolling blog tour. Please enjoy the articles on Genre Bending and Blending at each of the blogs.

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5 comments on “Genre Bending and Blending

  1. mollie bryan says:

    Hey Ryder, thanks for the kind remarks about my blog. I think you’re right. Ultimately, those genre labels are for readers. But it’s difficult for writers to see what genre their writing fits into. Maybe your friends book could just be labeled “fiction.”

  2. Ryder,
    I enjoyed reading your blog this morning.
    Your questions hit the nail on the head. A well-written story should have a chance to be published no matter what genre it fits or doesn’t fit into.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Kathleen

  3. Thanks for the spot on post. I find that there are many great writers who have yet to fit into a well-known genre so they are lost in the shuffle. That seems quite sad to me. Thanks for delving into the topic. Hopefully the lines will blur somewhat with time and we can find some of these terrific storytellers on bookshelves sooner than later.

  4. beverlydiehl says:

    RWA (Romance Writers of America) does offer a category for novels that are not really romances, but “with a strong romantic element.” I’m REAL new to RWA so I’m not sure where/how it works, but perhaps entering something like that in one of those contests might help a cross-genre novel get some eyes on it, at least.

  5. I loved your point about the importance of uniqueness … so true.

    Nancy

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