How Many Genres Can You Shove Into A Story?


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  1. #1
    Member Rojack79's Avatar
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    How Many Genres Can You Shove Into A Story?

    So far after taking everything into account for my main series of novels I've found that my stories will be comprised of the following genres.

    Christian, Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Low Fantasy, Western, and Romance.

    That's a lot of genre's to have in one story but then another question I popping up in my head. Just because my story has little bits and pieces of these themes sprinkled throughout it does that mean that it needs to have these genre's assigned to it? Does it matter what genre a story is filed under or is it just a convenience?
    This might not be my best work but that just means there's room to improve.

    I don't have a big ego. You just can't comprehend my greatness!

  2. #2
    What you're talking about sounds like it could be categorized as a couple possible things. Romance is an element in many other genres, and Christian isn't really a genre, so I don't think you have to worry about those two. (Though booksellers may still shelve it under "Christian" depending on how central that element is).

    I'd say find a home genre and use the other genres as qualifiers. If it's a Space Western at heart, call it a Fantasy Space Western, for example. If its central theme is the post-apocalyptic element, call it a Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy. (If you've mentioned Post-Apocalyptic, you don't have to mention Sci-fi, since Post-Apocalyptic is a subgenre of that).

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArrowInTheBowOfTheLord View Post
    What you're talking about sounds like it could be categorized as a couple possible things. Romance is an element in many other genres, and Christian isn't really a genre, so I don't think you have to worry about those two. (Though booksellers may still shelve it under "Christian" depending on how central that element is).

    I'd say find a home genre and use the other genres as qualifiers. If it's a Space Western at heart, call it a Fantasy Space Western, for example. If its central theme is the post-apocalyptic element, call it a Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy. (If you've mentioned Post-Apocalyptic, you don't have to mention Sci-fi, since Post-Apocalyptic is a subgenre of that).
    So then it would be, Christian (Christianity is a huge chunk of this story) Post-Apocalyptic, Low Fantasy. Ok then. That's a much tidier mouthful to swallow.
    This might not be my best work but that just means there's room to improve.

    I don't have a big ego. You just can't comprehend my greatness!

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    Mentor Dluuni's Avatar
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    Which genre in Christian? What elements do the story revolve around? Mostly I know Christian books through romance / clean and wholesome / inspirational, where a faith crisis is central to the story. I don't write there, but I have to be watchful of the adjacency if a character starts talking about faith. I'm not sure if that's where you are talking about, though.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Rojack79 View Post
    Just because my story has little bits and pieces of these themes sprinkled throughout it does that mean that it needs to have these genre's assigned to it? Does it matter what genre a story is filed under or is it just a convenience?
    Genre only matters for marketing/selling fiction. It is entirely irrelevant as a concern for the nascent stages of writing a story and, more often than not, creates problems where folks such as yourself start to question the validity of their work because they don't see their work as fitting neatly under 'science fiction' or 'fantasy' or whatever when in reality it's malleable anyway.

    Most good stories tend to hybridize or transcend genre. Consider something like Star Wars. It's obviously sci-fi/space opera but there are elements of all kinds of other things in there. It uses tropes and themes common from action/adventure, romance, aspects of horror (the Dianoga freaked me the fuck out), fantasy. It has a little bit of everything and 'something for everybody' and that's undoubtedly why it has such a huge fan base. It would not have existed if George Lucas, etc had been worried about it 'not seeming like a true science fiction story'.

    My main concern with genre these days is when I am submitting stories to publishers. Genre is, as mentioned, a marketing problem not a writing one and a lot of publishers want stories to fit in with their catalog, which makes sense. Unfortunately sometimes I think my work suffers from not being sufficiently heavy on the genre tropes, largely because I write a lot of different stories and don't focus on a particular genre.

    I just sold a science fiction story to a science fiction magazine. Because I am not a huge SF buff (I read some but hardly a lot) when I was revising the manuscript I had to intentionally try to ham up the aspects that I knew to be 'sci fi' in order to make it something that a hardcore SF fan (that magazine's typical reader) would read long enough for me to hook them in with the story. I had to include things that would reassure the publisher (and their reader) that my work belonged. If I had just assumed they would read it because 'it's a good story' I imagine I would be out of luck. Genre is marketing and marketing is all about hooking readers.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dluuni View Post
    Which genre in Christian? What elements do the story revolve around? Mostly I know Christian books through romance / clean and wholesome / inspirational, where a faith crisis is central to the story. I don't write there, but I have to be watchful of the adjacency if a character starts talking about faith. I'm not sure if that's where you are talking about, though.
    The story heavily revolves around what being a true Christian is all about following in Jesus's footsteps but still making the characters human. To often I see stories based on Christianity and the characters are horribly represented. They're either bible thumping lunatics who'd kill a heretic in a heart beat. Or there the prefect depiction of humanity's virtues.
    This might not be my best work but that just means there's room to improve.

    I don't have a big ego. You just can't comprehend my greatness!

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    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    Genre only matters for marketing/selling fiction. It is entirely irrelevant as a concern for the nascent stages of writing a story and, more often than not, creates problems where folks such as yourself start to question the validity of their work because they don't see their work as fitting neatly under 'science fiction' or 'fantasy' or whatever when in reality it's malleable anyway.

    Most good stories tend to hybridize or transcend genre. Consider something like Star Wars. It's obviously sci-fi/space opera but there are elements of all kinds of other things in there. It uses tropes and themes common from action/adventure, romance, aspects of horror (the Dianoga freaked me the fuck out), fantasy. It has a little bit of everything and 'something for everybody' and that's undoubtedly why it has such a huge fan base. It would not have existed if George Lucas, etc had been worried about it 'not seeming like a true science fiction story'.

    My main concern with genre these days is when I am submitting stories to publishers. Genre is, as mentioned, a marketing problem not a writing one and a lot of publishers want stories to fit in with their catalog, which makes sense. Unfortunately sometimes I think my work suffers from not being sufficiently heavy on the genre tropes, largely because I write a lot of different stories and don't focus on a particular genre.

    I just sold a science fiction story to a science fiction magazine. Because I am not a huge SF buff (I read some but hardly a lot) when I was revising the manuscript I had to intentionally try to ham up the aspects that I knew to be 'sci fi' in order to make it something that a hardcore SF fan (that magazine's typical reader) would read long enough for me to hook them in with the story. I had to include things that would reassure the publisher (and their reader) that my work belonged. If I had just assumed they would read it because 'it's a good story' I imagine I would be out of luck. Genre is marketing and marketing is all about hooking readers.
    So don't over think it and just save it for last. Got it.
    This might not be my best work but that just means there's room to improve.

    I don't have a big ego. You just can't comprehend my greatness!

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