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Subverting your genre (and/or mixing genres) ?

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taaaylor View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote taaaylor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2020 at 5:43am
Originally posted by LyndaD LyndaD wrote:

Originally posted by Snarkmaiden Snarkmaiden wrote:

My suspense story is a comedy. Apparently comedy-suspense is a thing!

I once wrote a horror/comedy. It kept insisting on being funny, even though I tried to tamp it down. I odn't see why suspese/comedy can't be a thing, too.

Sounds like Tucker and Dale Vs Evil ;) Fun combo!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote sidle_by Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2020 at 6:36am
Pretty sure I've turned every prompt I've ever had into some sort of magic fantasy mash LOL I'm always at least half convinced I didn't hit genre, but so far I've never been dinged because of it (at least not that I'm aware of anyway). Overall, I seem to progress more than i don't, so i figure whatever I'm doing must be at least semi-okay

I've stopped worrying about it now. Am i on genre? Possibly not, but who knows? The important this is that i wrote a story and had a good time messing around with the prompts :)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Emfizz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2020 at 4:13pm
I can only speak from my own experience of course but all the mixed genre stories I've ever written were well received and progressed to the next round (drama that was futuristic/sci fi; drama set in the real past so historical fiction; spy that had fantasy elements; suspense with fantasy/afterlife elements), but as you say that could've been luck with the judges who were open to that. The assignment email we get has this to say about it:

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Feel free to interpret your genre, subject, and character assignment in uniquely creative ways...we're looking for interesting and inventive stories. But also know that we won't be able to accept submissions that are completely off the assignments you are given.

For example; if your assigned genre is drama, a story that reads as an outright comedy will most likely be disqualified.  You may add in elements from other genres, but make sure the predominant elements of your story are without a doubt from your assigned genre.

To me that implies that they very much enjoy genre mixing as long as your comedy, whether it's set in a fantasy world or not, reads as funny (although comedy is so subjectve anyway so that's tricky in itself) or your fantasy, whether it's funny or sad, reads as a fantasy.


Edited by Emfizz - 06 Apr 2020 at 4:13pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote A.J. Gemick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2020 at 12:51am
Thanks all!!  Very helpful to read... I think you're right- just write the story that makes you happy (& make sure the cover the prompts well) and just let the chips fall where they may.   Otherwise writing something that doesnt feel authentic to you, just ends up making the process miserable. 

@suave -I certainly hope the NYCM judges go to such extreme measures! LOL  

and now I'm wondering, the comment from KLNorman- about the idea that some genres lend themselves better toward mixing-  I wonder if it's that some genres are better for it than others or maybe any genre can be mixed, just depends on the skill or unique ideas of the mixer, it's kind of like a philosophical question. :)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Dvmason Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2020 at 9:50am
Originally posted by sidle_by sidle_by wrote:

Pretty sure I've turned every prompt I've ever had into some sort of magic fantasy mash LOL 

Hey! Same here. I’ll try to keep an eye out for you this round :)


For the OP,
I’ve never had any feedback or heard of anyone being dinged for being too on the nose with their genre. I think in this kind of competition, tropes won’t loose you points. Maybe as we get closer towards the end, they will hinder the interestingness of your story, but in general, going straight down the line is a safe bet. I personally can’t help myself from being a little subversive myself, but that’s my own gamble.

For my first comp ever, I drew suspense involving gemstones. I did a retelling of Snow White where she was the bad guy. I got honorable mention because it was literally based on a fairy tale, which is an actual genre. That said, every other pull I’ve ever had (except polsat) has been blended and I haven’t gotten a ding because of it.

Some genres need blending, like action/adventure: unless you are writing about a heist of some sort (or even if you are), you probably are going to be in space, or the adventure is going to be a magical one (maybe that’s just me!).

Anyway, all of that is to say, sticking with your genre is safe. But who likes to be safe?


Edited by Dvmason - 08 Apr 2020 at 9:52am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Lord Xoon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2020 at 7:27pm
My somewhat hot take on this subject is that there are no good stories that couldn't fit into two or three different genres. There's no reason a fantasy can't also be a thriller or a drama or have romantic elements, or have jokes in it. And I think stories that are so one dimensional as to fit into only one genre tend to be a little flat and lifeless.

And that being said, I've written several one-note stories in these competitions, and they never seem to perform well with the judges.


Edited by Lord Xoon - 08 Apr 2020 at 7:27pm
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