Writing a novel in a specific, particular genre seems like a must – until you realize the specific requirements of the genre you’ve chosen for your novel puts a limit on your creativity. This has the negative effect of lowering your enthusiasm until writing your book has become a chore. However, there are always exceptions, to every rule. And mixing more than one genre in your novel can actually improve upon the story, without catapulting your story into a genre that cannot be defined. There are several ways that show how mixing genres successfully improves a novel, and below, we’ve shown some of them.
1. Story gets multifaceted
Things have changed in recent years, especially when it comes to genres like mystery, science fiction, or paranormal fantasy. If the story revolves only around the mystery, or the science, it starts to feel dry. Readers don’t just want to know the science behind the science fiction – they also want to know how the science affects the people who stumble upon it, have created it, or use it extensively. The same is true for the paranormal genre – you need to answer the question: How does that particular superpower affect the protagonist’s life (or whoever wields it)? The answer will make the story more humane and adds aspects to it that wouldn’t be there unless you added a little bit of drama or romance.
2. Characters feel alive
When characters, like the protagonist and the ones closest to him, have to deal with things that seemingly don’t belong in the plot, it helps build their character in a way that’s not backstory, and it’s not a flashback. The action continues, only in a different direction, and we get to know the characters more. These events can be called side plots and need to be crafted carefully. For example, the detective in a mystery novel has to solve the mystery, while having to deal with the erratic behavior of his teenage daughter. If you introduce a dramatic side plot like that (daughter’s behaving erratically, the father has to solve her mystery too) you must bring it to a close along with the main plot. Otherwise, the readers will be aware that it’s a distraction, even if it helps build character.
3. The world gets bigger
When you add a little romance to a science fiction story, or a little bit of magical realism in a romance story, the world expands automatically. If you do it justice, you will not only get a story that feels as if you’ve taken a period of the protagonist’s life and presented it exactly as it is on paper, you also create a universe where not everything is what it seems. This means that the world itself has potential for a lot more stories, and it shows the readers that the story you’re telling is only one of them.
4. Keep it balanced
When you’re mixing more than one genre, you must choose a dominant one and make it clear to the readers that this is precisely what your story is about, and that the elements of romance, or drama, or paranormal are there to add flavor, to deepen the characters and to add to the story and the world building. If you add too much drama, the story loses focus, if you add too much romance, your story will seem to be a romance, with a little bit of sci-fi, mystery, or paranormal thrown in for good measure. This will make your plot suffer, as well as the ending, for it will seem rushed, insufficient, and your readers will not believe in the resolution.
Image credit: Pixabay [author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/photo.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Georgina Roy wants to live in a world filled with magic. As an art student, she’s moonlighting as a writer and is content to fill notebooks and sketchbooks with magical creatures and amazing new worlds. When she is not at school, or scribbling away in a notebook, you can usually find her curled up, reading a good urban fantasy novel, or writing on her laptop, trying to create her own.