Madelaine Shaw-Wong



Mixing Genres. Dinosaur porn, really?

Posted on August 18, 2016 at 11:55 AM

I posed a question on Twitter recently: "Can someone define #speculativefiction? Come on I dare you."

The question was tongue in cheek and I received a couple of "likes" for it, but seriously people, what is speculative fiction? According to Wikipedia: "Speculative fiction is a broad category of narrative fiction that includes elements, settings and characters created out of imagination and speculation rather than based on reality and everyday life. It encompasses the genres of science fiction, fantasy, science fantasy, horror, alternative history, and magic realism." In other words, it's a mixed genre.

For months, I have been trying to decide what genre my novel, Quietus would fit under. It's dystopian, based on real life and set in the near future. It has a touch of horror and is a political satire. You might also call it literary fiction, which according to Wikipedia: The term is principally used to distinguish serious fiction which is a work that claims to hold literary merit, in comparison from genre fiction and popular fiction." This is a vague description. Who is to say that a speculative fiction can't have literary merit? Think 1984DuneLord of the Rings, or Oryx and Crake

Perhaps genres were invented by publishers and booksellers so they will know how to shelve books and so buyers will know how to find their favourite types of stories. What will they do now? Mixed genre stories are becoming more popular. The shelves of bookstores and Amazon are now  filling with fantasy/romance, mystery/horror, and dinosaur/erotica. (Yes, it's a real thing.) The good news is that there are so many more choices now for readers. In the mood for cowboys in space or maybe a little dinosaur porn? We got you covered!

In an article on writing cross-genre,, the writer says, "Learn about the different genres. Read as much as you can of each, before you decide what you want to write. Your writing will read true if you write what you enjoy. If you don't like reading paranormal or suspense, don't attempt to write a story combining these two genres. Once you find your niche, your writing won't be forced. As Vivian Zabel states, "learn (your) craft and master writing good stories and books. The rest will follow." The writer here says that many literary writers are shifting to genre. "What’s going on? Is it a mass sellout, a belated and half-hearted attempt by writers to chase the market? Are they being pushed into genre by their agents and publishers? Are the literary novelists simply ready for a change, perhaps because even the most exalted among them have a miniscule readership compared to genre superstars? Or are two disparate worlds finally merging?" 

In any case, I will write the best books I can, regardless of genre, and hope my readers enjoy.

Categories: My writing journey

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