By Writing Excuses | July 12, 2009 - 6:29 pm - Posted in Fantasy, Genre, Horror, Sci-fi

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.

This entry was posted on Sunday, July 12th, 2009 at 6:29 pm and is filed under Fantasy, Genre, Horror, Sci-fi. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

66 Comments

  1. July 12, 2009 @ 9:47 pm


    Ooooh!

    That’s pretty ballsy of you to point to Firefly, Howard. I did that once a long time ago and got FLAMED across nearly a dozen sites.

    Although I have to admit, I agree with you.

    Posted by onelowerlight
  2. July 12, 2009 @ 9:55 pm


    WHOA! I will not hear another word against the Firefly main theme. You can take my love, take my land, or even take me where I cannot stand, but I don’t care. I’m still free.
    You can’t take the sky from me, Howard Tayler.

    See? Could a dumb song do THAT?

    Posted by Don Gwinn
  3. July 12, 2009 @ 10:10 pm


    I had to explain Firefly to a fellow geek a week ago*. I figured I’d use pretty much that explanation, and he immediately said it wouldn’t be anything for him because he hates Westerns. I suppose he was imagining that one episode from the old Battlestar Galactica (you know, the one where the cowboys all have tin hats).

    That’s the problem when you take something and describe it as double-genre. People will just take the one they like the least and imagine the product has the worst tropes from that.

    *Before anyone asks, the show had a brief run in 2004, here, and the only other way to find out was the internet.

    Posted by Me
  4. July 12, 2009 @ 10:14 pm


    Some interesting ideas here, plus really useful points on how to make sure you don’t freak out editors by pitching your product the wrong way.

    Best of all, this gives me a short story idea that could turn into more later. Hrm…

    Posted by Patrick Sullivan
  5. July 12, 2009 @ 11:11 pm


    Stephen King is ahead of us on this prompt. I don’t expect to get much argument in calling the Dark Tower books horror/western, hidden within an epic fantasy; the main reason most people recognize the horror there is because, well, he [i]is[/i] Stephen King.

    Posted by Erich T. Wade
  6. July 13, 2009 @ 12:43 am


    Psst. Still working on the transcript, but you can get the complete John G. Hemry (or individual books) as ebooks over here http://www.webscription.net/s-170-john-g-hemry.aspx

    Posted by Mike Barker
  7. July 13, 2009 @ 1:58 am


    I try to Genre Blend a little in most of my writing, but I’m doing in the most in my planned second book and I wasn’t too sure how I was going to do it. This podcast had some good advice about that, thanks.

    As for the Writing Prompt, my mind immediately focused on the exact opposite of what you are looking for: Westworld. The movie you absolutely know is a western horror.

    Posted by DarkEyedBlues
  8. July 13, 2009 @ 6:05 am


    I’m currently working on a blend of hard military scifi and magical girl anime. Top that. :)

    Posted by Aiyel
  9. July 13, 2009 @ 6:33 am


    Since I’m at the outling stage for what you could call a gay, sci-fi, romance drama, I found this episode pretty timely and useful. I promise not to add any Western elements to it. ;-)

    By the way, when downloaded and in my media player the title of this shows as “genera blending”, which gave me a chuckle, thinking ‘are the guys getting into some kind of genetic experimentation now then?’

    Posted by junkfoodmonkey
  10. July 13, 2009 @ 8:52 am


    @Aiyel – I’ve got a story in an upcoming issue of MindFlights that’s a blend of hard military SF, traditional magical creature fantasy and a dash of children’s play. ;)

    Oh, and romance.

    – Alastair

    Posted by AJWM
  11. July 13, 2009 @ 10:07 am


    This podcast was so relevant to me. Anyone who visits my website knows that I have had a hard time categorizing my books. Basically, they’re a cross between Indiana Jones and X-men, and I’ve had to lump them under the genre “Contemporary Fantasy”. Maybe what I really need is to ignore the name of my books’ particular genre, and focus on describing how its something of a new subgenre in and of itself.

    And, pardon me for being pessimistic, but horror and western blended together would probably look like those movies where someone gets a flat tire on an old abandoned highway in the middle of the desert, and they get attacked by demons or something. And come to think of it, that is, itself, a unique genre.

    Posted by AlanHorne
  12. July 13, 2009 @ 10:57 am


    I don’t want to nitpick, but I kind of will. Sorry.

    If there’s demons, that would be more horror/fantasy. I’d have thought it would be Western if you had lawlessness.

    Best genre-mashup? Maybe a magical girl anime/serial killer story?

    Posted by Ed
  13. July 13, 2009 @ 12:41 pm


    Great advice.

    I can compete on this one. I’m currently writing (107,000 words in) a serious novel set in 1932 that has magic, ninjas, alternative history, John Browning leading a secret society, talking animals, lots of guns, gangsters, Tesla super weapons, J. Edgar Hoover, Imperial Japan, teleportation, Al Capone, more guns, Black Jack Pershing, dirigibles, dirigible fights, the Great Depression, air pirates, and the FDR of my world is one step below the Emperor from Star Wars, and it all started on a whim after being on a panel at BYU and being the only person who hadn’t written any epic fantasy.

    Meanwhile as far as genre blending goes, my one published novel has been described as a X-Files meets Rambo meets Heavy Metal with a Wonder Years narration… Go figure.

    Yeah, I’ve always had a hard time with those pitch letters… :)

    Posted by Larry Correia
  14. July 13, 2009 @ 1:11 pm


    This took my mind to Battlestar Gallactica, actually.

    It’s sci fi because it’s in space and tere are AI robots, etc. – but the religious/mythology/quasi-magical stuff was always the most interesting aspect of the series (at least I thought so). And it’s very light on science.

    Posted by Eliyanna
  15. July 13, 2009 @ 1:50 pm


    Eliyanna (and anyone else who lives in New York):

    My wife and I will be in New York for three days leading up to WorldCon, and we’re looking for suggestions of awesome places to eat/visit/etc. I’d appreciate any tips: http://www.fearfulsymmetry.net/?p=243

    Posted by Dan Wells
  16. July 13, 2009 @ 2:41 pm


    These last two have been very, very good.

    It’s interesting that the main thing the guys talked about being blended was a plot situation taken from another genre and adapted to fit a SF or Fantasy container–heist, lawyer (JAG), frontier problems, zombie takeover, sports movie genre, teen problem, etc. I think it would be very difficult to blend setting tropes and still have a clear marketing message.

    Some more examples of these types of blends: Lion King (Hamlet adapted for kid flick container), Fraser’s “Cold Mountain” (Odyssey adapted for Cival War container), Card’s “Journeyman Alvin” (Court story adapted for Fantasy).

    Another example of a series that tries to blend and invite both groups to the party in its marketing is Kristine Rusch’s “provocative interplanetary detective series”–http://kriswrites.com/kristine-kathryn-rusch/ . I like Rusch, but didn’t want to read about detectives in space. She’s getting great reviews and is an excellent writer. But that genre confusion probaby affects other readers as well.

    BTW, the most popular blend right now is Twilight: A teen romance problem in the horror container. Of course, there’s always been the erotic vampire story, but I don’t think we ever had the teen romance angle before with vampires.

    Posted by John Brown
  17. July 13, 2009 @ 6:15 pm


    I don’t think we ever had the teen romance angle before with vampires.

    @John Brown: Joss Whedon called and asked me to beat you about the head and neck with my Season 1 DVD set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

    Posted by Howard Tayler
  18. July 13, 2009 @ 6:18 pm


    Oh, and while I’m making up things for Joss Whedon to say to me, here’s one:

    “Congratulations.” ;-)

    Posted by Howard Tayler
  19. July 13, 2009 @ 9:07 pm


    :)

    Interesting, I’ll stand beaten and corrected then. I watched the first few episodes and didn’t find Buffy to my tastes. Alas. Meyer did say it was her homage to Pride & Prejudice. So maybe that’s the actual genre taken. Of course, I’m sure somebody else will beat me with some other DVD set now.

    Posted by John Brown
  20. July 13, 2009 @ 9:16 pm


    John, I never even saw the series, and even I have heard of Buffy and Angel. Wasn’t the great love tragedy, the Vampire Slayer and the Vampire who loved her?

    Posted by Mike Barker
  21. July 13, 2009 @ 9:23 pm


    Okay, forget demons: a guy gets a flat tire on an old abandoned highway, then walks along the highway until he comes to an old ghost town where a serial killer is currently hiding and planning his next murder. The guy finds out about it, and now the killer is after him. The guy finds a really old gun that miraculously still works, and the story basically becomes a sniper contest, with the hero and villain trying to sneak up on each other in the dusty, dark, ruins.

    Western, Horror, and doesn’t exactly feel like either. Well…maybe it feels a little like horror.

    Posted by AlanHorne
  22. July 13, 2009 @ 10:05 pm


    And we have a transcript. A little bit of this, a little bit of that…

    http://mbarker.livejournal.com/118752.html

    Posted by Mike Barker
  23. July 14, 2009 @ 2:32 am


    While we’re talking about Pride and Prejudice and genre blending…

    http://www.eeriebooks.com/horror/book-club/pride-prejudice-zombies.jpg

    Posted by S.M.
  24. July 14, 2009 @ 7:52 am


    I don’t know if I buy Twilight as a Pride and Prejudice homage. Wuthering Heights, maybe.

    Posted by Dan Wells
  25. July 14, 2009 @ 8:14 am


    Edward,
    It’s me I’m happy, come home now.

    Posted by Ed
  26. July 14, 2009 @ 3:11 pm


    @ Alastair:

    Awesome. My idea was a challeng from someone else actually to make a universe with heavy influence from Starship Troopers and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha.

    Once I wrapped my head around the sheer insanity of the task, it… evolved. Took on a life of its own. Absorbed concepts and tropes from across the military scifi and magical girl genres, as well as from tangent sources. Never before have I had a setting come together so easily.

    Posted by Aiyel
  27. July 15, 2009 @ 1:58 am


    The horror/western has been done in the form of “Westworld” with Yule Brynnor. Go rent it.
    “A robot malfunction creates havoc and terror for unsuspecting vacationers at a futuristic, adult-themed amusement park.” (Michael Crichton)
    it rocks.

    Posted by Fiona
  28. July 15, 2009 @ 7:32 am


    Of course, there’s always been the erotic vampire story, but I don’t think we ever had the teen romance angle before with vampires.

    While John Brown’s claim might’ve been technically inaccurate, he does have a point. Buffy first aired shortly before my eleventh birthday (March 1997) and ended a little after I turned seventeen (May 2003). By the time I was in Buffy’s target audience, the show was in its last seasons. I never watched it. Sure, I knew it existed, but diving into a show after it’d been on the air for so many years was too daunting. It wasn’t an age where teenagers knew you could stream/download entire TV shows online, and if they did know, chances were they still had dial-up, and that would have made things nightmarish. (My parents didn’t graduate from dial-up until this summer. Ugh.)

    Twilight came out in 2005, when I was 19. If you accept Twilight’s target audience as being somewhere in the audience of 12 to 17, that means those kids were between 4 and 9 when Buffy first aired and 10 to 15 when the show ended. The majority of them were definitely out of Buffy’s target audience. Chances are if you ask a kid who was in Twilight’s target audience range at the time it came out (currently in the neighborhood of 16 to 21) if they have ever seen an episode of Buffy before being exposed to Twilight, the answer would be no (unless their parents or older siblings were fans). For Twilight’s target audience, Twilight was the first they’d ever seen the teen romance angle with vampires.

    Posted by Audrey
  29. July 15, 2009 @ 9:08 am


    Genre Blending?

    Steampunk!

    Shadowrun!

    Orcs in space? Warhammer 40K!

    And don’t get me started on the Final Fantasy series or WoW.

    Did a bit of genre blending myself: Techno Thriller/Urban Fantasy. Nothing new there, of course.

    Posted by Rafael
  30. July 15, 2009 @ 11:03 am


    @Dan Wells – Excellent, excited to hear it! I will post some thoughts at your site now.

    Posted by Eliyanna
  31. July 15, 2009 @ 1:45 pm


    @John Brown: LJ Smith beat Meyer to the teen vampire love story way back in the late 80’s. She was writing right there along with Christopher Pike, RL Stine, and other speculative fic YA authors. But her series The Vampire Diaries covered the “Twilight” genre long before Meyer went there.

    Posted by bdagger
  32. July 15, 2009 @ 4:36 pm


    @Audrey: Not being old enough to see something when it first came out isn’t really an acceptable excuse for saying something didn’t exist. It might be valid for the average audience member, but the literary cognoscenti will get called up on that.

    (It happens to me all the time.)

    In these kinds of discussions it really comes down to how well-versed you are in a given genre. I think bdagger wins the thread for showing pre-Buffy examples that are apter examples than Buffy was.

    Posted by Howard Tayler
  33. July 15, 2009 @ 7:49 pm


    I sort of expect people to throw things, but here in Japan they’re doing retrospectives of Michael Jackson. In the process, I’ve finally seen the full, uncut versions of both Thriller and Bad. Thriller — what an odd mixture of horror and musical. Great use and abuse of tropes. And Bad also steals from the return of the token, gang stories, and so forth. All in service to pop?

    Posted by Mike Barker
  34. July 15, 2009 @ 9:00 pm


    @Howard: I didn’t mean to imply that it excused ignorance, just that it was one reason why Twilight was huge with that age group. It hit an audience that hadn’t been exposed to Buffy. I’m aware of several Twilight fans who ended up later looking into Buffy or Hamilton or Rice because older fans of Twilight who already had the previous exposure to the genre.

    I read Twilight–my only exposure to the vampire genre–because it didn’t have a cover that I felt I would need to hide in public and I wanted to find out what all this vampire hype was about. I still don’t get the fascination with vampires though (hello, necrophilia!).

    I agree, bdagger was awesome. I will freely admit my experience in the horror genre is limited to the Ring, Twilight, Higurashi, and I Am Not a Serial Killer. Oh, and watching my roommate play Fatal Frame.

    Posted by Audrey
  35. July 15, 2009 @ 10:33 pm


    Perfect example of what you were talking about: Sukiaki Western Django.
    The Japanese made a Western movie.
    All the actors were Japanese, but they spoke English. The character names were Japanese, the writing was Japanese (but it was set in Navada-Utah), the archatecture was Japanese, but the plot was a Western. The whole thing was unintentionally hilarious.

    Just thought I’d share that.

    Posted by K.E.Ireland
  36. July 15, 2009 @ 11:27 pm


    Actually, some people point to Bram Stoker’s Dracula as the earliest combination of romance/horror. Even though it is a vampire story, its deals a lot with seduction and temptation. And isn’t the main female character in that book in her teens, technically? (I’m not sure about that last part, I’ll have to double-check). So the horror/teen romance blend is potentially over a hundred years old.

    Posted by AlanHorne
  37. July 16, 2009 @ 5:20 am


    For a beautiful piece of blending read Peter F. Hamilton’s Night’s Dawn series. Utterly compelling sci-fi/horror piece.

    Interesting point about the Firefly theme tune and opening. I think the same thing happened to Enterprise with much the same results. The sci-fi fans thought it sounded like a soap and the soap fans thought sci-fi. End result: low audience figures.

    Lj.

    Posted by LordJuss
  38. July 16, 2009 @ 8:18 am


    The original Dracula was, at least in part, a cautionary tale for young women about not dating (or even SEEING) bad men.

    The genre blend between vampires (their own sub-genre these days) and teen romance turns that cautionary tale on its head and (depending on who you talk to) sends all the wrong messages to young women who might be engaging in abusive relationships.

    Whoops. I slipped into moralizing. Sorry. My point was that blending teen romance and vampire fiction is a lot different than putting young women in a vampire novel 25, 50, or a hundred years ago.

    Posted by Howard Tayler
  39. July 16, 2009 @ 8:50 am


    @Howard:
    I think Audrey has a point, though, even if it’s not what this discussion is about. Whether or not a certain story was the first to do something, historically speaking, doesn’t matter if it’s the first to do it to you. That’s the same reason Eragon makes a great “my first fantasy,” even though it’s a ripoff of The Hobbit and Prydain and Star Wars and every other “my first fantasy” out there. If you’re aiming at a very young audience, you don’t have to be incredibly original because most of them haven’t read what you’re referencing.

    Posted by Dan Wells
  40. July 16, 2009 @ 8:31 pm


    @AlanHorne Doesn’t it seem that pretty much all genre fiction prefers that its female protagonists are teenagers? Particularly fantasy. Don’t see much fantasy fic from the POV of a middle-aged woman.

    Posted by Eliyanna
  41. July 17, 2009 @ 7:45 am


    @Eliyanna, I think it’s because there is a bit more ‘energy’ to teenagers. Not to say middle-aged woman is past the expiration date–i’m approaching fast myself–but when someone mention middle aged, first thing that comes to my mind is ‘the crisis’ and ‘lack of energy.’

    Of course, being a fiction, I imagine this particular POV might be different. Perhaps she might live to 1000 years, making her effectively an infant! But… I don’t think the hook will be the same.

    Posted by Jin Kang
  42. July 17, 2009 @ 2:46 pm


    Best part of this podcast, Howard’s mention of StarCraft. Awesome classic game!

    Posted by M
  43. July 18, 2009 @ 7:24 am


    Okay, okay, I give. I’m not a vampire loremaster. I do know, however, that vampires have fangs of some sort. Right?

    Still, I think this Dan’s and Audrey’s comments highlight the practical answer (versus the literal one Howard gave) to the “if a book isn’t read, does it exist?” question. The answer seems to be no.

    For example, people in the SF world were writing about nan0 catastrophes long before Michael Crichton wrote his novel about it. Same thing about bringing dinosaurs back. But this didn’t stop Crichton, and for hundreds of thousands of readers, his books became the introduction. Elvis, as I understand it, sang literal rip offs from Black singers. But for that big White audience he was fresh and new. What Elvis and Crichton had were the resources to popularize to a whole new audience.

    I’m not advocating lazy copying. Or that Howard’s wrong in his statement above. I’m just saying it’s nice to know as we contemplate the topics that jazz us and we want to write about that the “that’s been done” argument is probably worthless when used in general. Even the stronger “that’s been done to death” argument depends entirely upon the specific audience.

    Posted by John Brown
  44. July 18, 2009 @ 9:39 am


    Speaking of Crichton, Timeline seems like a great example of genre blending to me. Really one of my favs of his.

    Posted by S.M.
  45. July 19, 2009 @ 3:05 pm


    >>the FDR of my world is one step below the Emperor from Star Wars<<

    So about the same as in real life, eh?

    ;)

    Posted by Me
  46. July 19, 2009 @ 6:40 pm


    @Eliyanna

    There are actually quite a few middle-aged women in sci-fi and fantasy works. Many of Robert Jordan’s most memorable characters are middle-aged women. Terry Pratchet is way ahead of the curve in this area, though. However, most women in sci-fi/fantasy are not allowed to be actually middle-aged, they are usually rejuvinated through magic or science, a la Honor Harrington. I think there is an interesting academic treatise waiting to be written about the treatment of middle-aged women in fiction generally and sci-fi/fantasy in particular and how it reflects our perceptions of the “real” world. The common stereotype is if a a middle-aged woman is powerful, she is usually (at least) an unpleasant ballbuster, regardless of whose side she is on. Often, a powerful woman is not allowed to be gentle and nurturing unless she is overwhelmingly powerful, in which case she is then not permitted to actively assist one side or the other — she gives gifts to the heroes in the form of healing or magical items, etc.

    I find the character of Siun Sanche in the Wheel of Time series as a very interesting case study. But, I won’t say anything more because I don’t know whether Howard has gotten far enough in the series.

    BTW, I recently had an idea for a middle-aged woman as the main character in a story, that I have filed away for later. All of these issues came to mind when the character occurred to me.

    Posted by JamesC
  47. July 19, 2009 @ 8:20 pm


    @JamesC Not to knock WOT (which I love immensely) but Jordan’s middle-aged women are mostly Aes Sedai — and therefore mostly have an “ageless” look about them (read: they can still be hot). Having said that, there are some genuinely older female characters in WOT who are described as such, and I agree that Jordan does this better than almost anyone – although none of these characters are POV characters.

    But yes, this is why I raised the issue. The most middle-aged major POV character I can think of in recent sci fi and fantasy is in Charles Stross’ Merchant Princes series. The character’s name is escaping me (and I feel too lazy to Google it or walk across the room and check in the book) but she’s, like, 34 or something. You know, “old.”

    :)

    Posted by Eliyanna
  48. July 19, 2009 @ 9:19 pm


    Eliyanna, I would take it further and venture to say that most readers don’t read WOT for the middle-aged, still-hot women that pop up from time to time. :) The main characters and points of view are young adults.

    The latest NEA study on literacy asked a genre question: “Which do you like to read?” Note the dramatic decline in interest in SFF as the populace ages.

    AGE % OF RESPONDENTS
    18-24 34%
    25-34 31%
    35-44 28%
    45-54 22%
    55-64 19%
    65-74 22%
    75+ 13%

    It might be because the older folks weren’t there for the blooming of fantasy (although they would have certainly been there for SF). Or it might just be that fantasy presents belief or topic hurdles to many people as they age, e.g. tiny people just aren’t as fascinating to a 50 year-old as they are to a juvenile. Or it might be that because fantasy is so chock full of young protagonists, it’s not as appealing to as many people who are looking for more adult themes found in thrillers and mysteries.

    The bottom line, however, is that the main audience for fantasy right now is a younger audience (middle-grade – early thirties). And if a writer chooses to make his or her protagonist much older, I would think they’d begin to close their story off to a big part of the market. Doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. Maybe they start a new trend. Just that I don’t think you’re going to get many teens to read about middle-aged men and women and their middle-age issues.

    However, I will say the Incredibles did a great job of blending the youth and adult groups, making the story for both.

    Posted by John Brown
  49. July 20, 2009 @ 10:21 am


    Hey John, I’ve poked about looking for the NEA study you reference. Is it online? I’d love to look at more of the numbers.

    Thanks!

    Posted by Guerry
  50. July 20, 2009 @ 11:22 am


    Come on, Howard, where’s our weekly fix of writing advice? ;)

    Posted by Chaos2651
  51. July 20, 2009 @ 12:15 pm


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

    =P

    Posted by Raethe
  52. July 20, 2009 @ 12:37 pm


    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.

    Posted by Chaos2651
  53. July 20, 2009 @ 12:39 pm


    I think someone has to take all those pronouns away from you until you’ve figured out how to use them.

    Posted by Raethe
  54. July 20, 2009 @ 12:40 pm


    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.

    Posted by Chaos2651
  55. July 20, 2009 @ 12:42 pm


    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

    Posted by Raethe
  56. July 20, 2009 @ 1:45 pm


    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.

    Posted by John Brown
  57. July 20, 2009 @ 2:11 pm


    John,

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

    Thanks!

    Posted by Guerry
  58. July 21, 2009 @ 2:11 pm


    BTW, the report says “Science fiction” but the actual survey question asked “science fiction and fantasy”

    Posted by John Brown
  59. May 9, 2010 @ 5:59 pm


    […] here at Writing Excuses have talked about the Anxiety of Influence before, we’ve discussed genre-blending, and we’ve talked about where ideas come from. Now we’re going to blend all of those in […]

  60. October 25, 2010 @ 7:07 am


    […] It’s common for writers to smash genres together in hopes of aggregating two disparate reader groups.  The problem with this approach is that you’ll usually only succeed in diminishing your readership further by only appealing to fans of both genres instead of each feeding into the other.  The Writing Excuses crew give an excellent example of this on their genre blending podcast. […]

  61. March 13, 2012 @ 12:21 pm


    […] this is by mashing concepts together. Brandon Sanderson talks about this in his Writing Excuses podcast (He calls it genre-blending). Here, you take something familiar and blend it with something […]

  62. August 1, 2012 @ 8:09 am


    What! The Firefly theme song is the best ever!

    Posted by Burst
  63. August 1, 2012 @ 12:51 pm


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

    Posted by Burst
  64. February 23, 2013 @ 11:20 pm


    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.

    Posted by Sarah
  65. February 23, 2013 @ 11:35 pm


    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.

    Posted by Sarah
  66. April 29, 2013 @ 3:10 pm


    @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.

    Posted by Sir Read-a-Lot