Writing Excuses Season 3 Episode 7: Genre Blending

You’ve seen it done… “Zombie Apocalypse in Space.” “Perry Mason in the Armed Forces.”  It’s genre blending, where the author takes themes prevalent in two different genres and combines them to create something new.

Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. We call down a few examples of both, and offer you listeners the sage advice you need to blend genres successfully. Summary: like the vegan barbecue chef, one of the secrets to your success lies in letting no-one know what that hamburger is made of. No, that metaphor is not in the podcast. I just thought of it now.

We finish with a discussion of the genres we’ve blended in our own work, and Brandon tells us about the science fiction story he’s decided to work on.

This episode of Writing Excuses is brought to you by XDM: X-Treme Dungeon Mastery. Pre-orders close this Wednesday!

Writing Prompt: Combine “Horror” and “Western” and don’t make it look like either one.


66 thoughts on “Writing Excuses Season 3 Episode 7: Genre Blending”

  1. He heard you didn’t submit to reading excuses this week like you were supposed to, so he’s withholding the ep as punishment.


  2. Pish posh! Howard’s not a part of Reading Excuses, so how would he know? :P Of course, Howard, if you WANT to join our little writing group, we would certainly like to have you. ;) Then you can give me crap for not submitting.

    Howard did say that if you went to Dragon’s Keep he’d punch you in the face. But see, if you were in Reading Excuses, you could verbally abuse us. So see, there’s benefits.

  3. Oh, that’s cute.

    …I’m waiting for that punch to MY face, Howard. See, I said it correctly this time. Howard’s supposed to punch ME in the face.

  4. Cute? Of course. It’s me!

    I bet I could punch harder than Howard could. Five years of boxing’ll do that for a girl.

    …Merely making an observation, of course. :D

  5. Guerry,

    It IS on line. I’ve got a link to it from my site. Just seach under NEA or “literacy.” I’ll be posting more about it this week. I just got back from speaking at the ALA conference and have a number of interesting numbers to share.

  6. John,

    I found the links on your site, and will dig in. I’ll look forward to your post about the ALA conference.


  7. Also the discussion of Westerns makes me very curious how “Alloy of Law” was marketed.

  8. Its said genre blending works best in YA. But then if I have a graphic sex scene they try to censor it, when it could worked as an adult novel. Same with on screen decapitations.

    Either way. go outside their comfort zone and it wont sell. I’d rather go outside the comfort zone because I’m being myself by writing about how sex actually works in a prose poetic contemporary science fiction.

    In manga, genre blending is a lot more accepted.

  9. A lot of the issue is like when people who read military science fiction reading a military/cyberpunk saying “This is not hard enough.” Accept, there is only a 1% chance the person reading it is actually in the military. I’m leaning toward the cyberpunk, thanks.

  10. @Burst: Mostly I saw it marketed as Fantasy Steampunk, or simply “Mistborn with guns.”

    I vaguely recall (but don’t quote me on this) Brandon saying at one point that it wasn’t really a Western, because it mostly takes place in the city, not the frontier. But come on, there’s a gunfight on top of a train. It’s a Western.

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