As most of you know who've been following the blog for a while, I'm the least experienced writer in the bunch. This week we're tackling the topic of crossing genre boundaries within our writing and how we do it. My opinion on this topic is limited because I've only written one thing and I've only been writing for a year.
I didn't know I was mixing genres when I wrote. I had a story I wanted to tell, simple as that. I wanted it to have hot sex, so I wrote that in. I wanted action and adventure like my favorite movies have, which also meant it needed some suspense to keep the reader turning pages. Oh, and I wanted to make my own world up to play by my rules, so I threw the fantastical into the mix as well.
Hmm... let's see -- that's an Erotic Action/Adventure Paranormal Suspense. Gee, okay. And where do we stick your book on the shelves, lady? I'm not so sure myself. The books I buy range from horror, to romance, to fantasy, and finally to mystery. I like them all and I see elements from two or three genres crossing into the current bestsellers. I think Steve explained it best in his post on why he writes crime. Every story has a puzzle behind it, or it wouldn't be worth reading.
Now to the question of how - how do you successfully mix all these elements into a story and make it believable? I hark back on Greg's excellent post on believability equals credibility. You must plan well. You must be able to incorporate all of the facts about the world you've created, balance it with character developing subplots, manage to move the main plot of the book along in every chapter and make sure the sex is not gratuitous, but actually appropriate within the story.
How did I do it? I wrote it all out in a brief outline and had key points I wanted to string together - then I worked toward that goal. I knew my ending, I knew the sex scenes I wanted to write - heck, I even planned out a mild woman on woman scene and worked it in with the main focus being the monogamous married couple (and how, you may ask? Read it to see! ;-)) Sometimes planning out a cross-genre book is simply stringing together a bunch of wild scenes you've imagined and giving them life.
I had an absolute blast writing my one and only book so far. Sometimes I made my husband read scenes right as I finished writing them because I was desperate to see if it came across as hot as I'd hoped. And yes, he said they did. Scoff and laugh all you want - but sex sells. As long as it doesn't fill every page and there is an actual story to go along with it, then readers will love it (or at least that's one of things I love as a reader).
How about you? What's your favorite mix of genres? I'd love to hear because I'm working on my next book and learning what people like is invaluable.
Important Update: My husband and I discussed things extensively and made the decision yesterday that I would self-publish my book for release this May. Let's look at it as an experiment -- one I invite you along to witness each step as I take it. Who knows? The end result may surprise us all.