Monday, August 02, 2010

Crossing the Genre Border

I recently joined a Facebook Book Club started by some people I went to high school with. The first book chosen was one I hadn't heard of before: Life as I Know It. I'm currently about two-thirds of the way through. Although I'd consider it women's fiction, the premise is rooted in fantasy. Briefly, after two women are struck by lightning at the same time, one of them finds herself living both lives, switching back and forth from her own life as a single working girl to a married mother of four kids. For me, this would be enough to call it fantasy, though I can see why it's marketed as women's fiction. I think mixing genres in a given book can enrich the story. However, unless there's a way to indicate that the story fits multiple genres, it can be very difficult for a book to reach all the members of its potential audience. Plus, the differences in genre conventions may confuse or alienate some readers.

Do you read or write books that cross the genre border? If so, do you find them more challenging than stories of a single genre?


Ted Cross said...

I am writing a series that is both fantasy and science fiction. Since the first book is stand-alone fantasy, the difficulty I have is that agents don't see the full originality involved. They see the fantasy tropes up front and have no idea that it is all twisted around at a later point when it turns to sci-fi, and I have no legit means of including a big explanation in a query letter. So, yeah it is very hard.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I hate that people would be scared of a book because it's labeled as Fantasy. I know it's the way the world works, but I still think it sucks.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Ted, that's a tough situation. Can you weave any SF into the first book?

Barbara, I feel the same way.

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