Saturday, July 12, 2014

Genre Mashups

The best genre mashup I ever saw was in my living room. My younger daughter in particular was a fan of All The Things from Jurassic Park to Star Wars, He-Man to She-Ra, TMNT to Jem....in short, we had every action figure, compound, vehicle and accessory known to Toys R Us. OK, I was a super indulgent Mom, who wished they'd had all this cool stuff when I was a kid....

But she had a grand story of her own going on. So we had a Playmobil doll house (the BIG one) and a generic dollhouse, which portrayed the "Jurassic Park Houses", or action central. And a rotating mix of the Jurassic Park people and  her favorite Star Wars people, some Hercules and Xena characters and a few random "Willow" action figures did a lot of battle with dinosaurs, aliens, mythological baddies, Darth Vader, Skeletor....there were some Cabbage Patch babies that lived at the houses and the furniture was a mix of plastic, my grandfather's toys, American Girl accessories and Barbie. There were Legos underfoot and the Death Star overhead.

Epic. We are talking epic beyond the wildest dreams of Spielberg or Lucas.

OK, so when I'm reading, I don't personally want quite that much of a mix in my books. Sometimes I want to read Regency romance and let my duke waltz without having to keep a crossbow handy for zombies lacking Almacks' vouchers. I don't mind if people write their stories that way though. I don't tend to mix genres so much when I'm writing but that's just the way my Muse thinks.

The way I understand it, genres originated as a sales tool, so retailers would know where to put all the romances or the science fiction or the mysteries on the shelves, and the readers would know where to browse for either the familiar or the new-to-them. Like supermarkets put the radishes in the produce section and the M&Ms in the candy aisle. I think in the brave new world of ebooks and being able to have pretty much everything the way you want it, when you want it, there's still a use for identifying by genre - maybe the most significant genre of the book? But then being sure to make it clear to prospective buyers in the blurb that  zombies may be in the mix. Or aliens or Egyptian gods or whatever!

But I don't think anyone should feel hemmed in by genre. If you have a great story just screaming to get out and it "breaks genre barriers" like crazy, WRITE IT. You may be discovering The Next Big Thing for all we know.


3 comments:

  1. You forgot the time I used your bed as "Beanie Baby Town" and the pillows were a "mine cave-in" and the giant Galapagos Turtle had to stage a rescue of all the other trapped stuffed animals. :D

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    1. How could I have forgotten that epic moment!

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  2. What a great imagination! I hope I instill that in my children as well.

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