Genre Mashing: Not a technical term, but quite simply defined as a collaboration of two or more genres. It differs from speculative fiction in that it’s not limited in which genres obtain the major influence of these works. An example of a genre mash might be a historical romance detective thriller.
Many have taken to think of science fiction, fantasy, and horror as being siblings of the speculative fiction household, which I think is quite nice. As far as I know, there is no such umbrella term for other closely related genres. So when other genres get together, I call it a genre mash, and when all those other genres get together with the spec-fic family, I call it a good time. Then there are the added ingredients of faith values and religious influences. I personally am excited about the growth of what some are calling speculative faith fiction, but I guess that’s all in how you look at it (a topic for another day).
Even though I think it’s a good time, there are some dangers to genre mashing.
As a writer, it can be pretty tricky developing a story that flows naturally when combining genres that differ greatly. You have to stretch the limits of your skills to give each genre it is due respect while allowing the story to shine and feel organic. Here’s a few tips:
- One way to help with this would be to consider the reason for your particular genre mash. Are you putting these genres together just to be edgy or does it really all apply to story you want to tell?
- You should research other stories and authors who’ve written stories with that particular genre mash to see what worked and what didn’t work. Get your beta readers involved, and experiment with different techniques.
- It’s always good to know your audience. You don’t want to alienate fans of one genre in order to reach another. Do lots of homework and market research to figure out how best to present this genre mash to multiple audiences. Conduct polls and offer samples and ask for feedback.
- Have fun with the whole process. If you’re not enjoying the process of developing your genre mash, odds are readers aren’t going to enjoy reading it.
Consider this: a work of paranormal fiction, but with heavy science fiction and a smidge of horror influences, might be right at home under the speculative fiction umbrella. However, if there is also a very strong love and romance theme that drives much of the story forward, it would definitely be a genre mash.
I’m currently working on my own speculative faith fiction series with influences from Frankenstein, Jekyll and Hyde, The Holy Bible, Beauty and the Beast, Brave New World, and so much more. How could this not be a genre mash?
I’d love to know your thought on genre. Consider taking my poll: Does Genre Matter?
What are some of your favorite Speculative Fiction Stories?
Do you make the distinction of Speculative Faith Fiction or is it all the same to you?
A self-proclaimed techie and foodie, Toi Thomas was born in Texas, but considers Virginia to be home. She enjoys reading, cooking, baking, painting, collecting vinyl records, and spending time with her family. Currently working as a special education teacher’s assistant while blogging and writing fulltime, Toi finds comfort and peace of mind in chocolate, green tea, and naps. For some reason, Toi admits has escaped her, she married a frat boy who has continued to be her best friend and love of her life. She and her husband are now tackling video production and Comicons to promote the release of her second novel, Eternal Curse: Battleground. Visit The ToiBox of Words to learn more about Toi and her writing.