Blending Genres | Writing Spotlight

Hello everyone! You probably don’t know this, but I am actually working on a manuscript at the moment. It is currently titled ‘WIPP’, which stand for Work In Progress Praedon. Praedon is the latin name for pirate and is the name of the opening location of my book. I am currently at 21,000 words and I thought I would start talking about writing on my blog. Rather than consistently going on and on about my book and giving stuff away, they will be more generic on occasion. Today is one of those times.

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My book, WIPP, blends historical fiction, fantasy and sci-fi. How is the possible, you might ask? Well, quite simply. It is sci-fi and not truly fantasy or historical fiction (I mean, it takes place in our universe on planets), but these planets do not exist and the technology in the book has no real scientific grounding. In addition to this, there are characters in this book that have fantasy-type abilities, which are ‘scientifically’ explained, but nevertheless, seem quite fantastical. In addition to this, I have warped or exaggerated historical elements: one of my planets is named Victoria, and its society is modelled after an extreme Victorian England. Another of my planets, Melanos, takes its inspiration from Ancient Greece (although in reality it is entirely different). That is enough about my manuscript, though. I wanted to talk to you about a different book which does something similar.

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Rook by Sharon Cameron also blends these same genres. It is not a fantasy, but it does read one, and nor is it historical fiction, but one of the main themes is that history repeats itself, and a lot of the book is based on The Scarlet Pimpernel and the French Revolution of the late 1700s. However, it is entirely science fiction in practice, as the world came to be the way it is due to a slight shift in the magnetic polars. It is scientifically understood, that a few times in Earth’s history, the magnetic poles have shifted. However, as explained in her authors note, Sharon Cameron didn’t want her world to be patchy and falling apart and inhabitable, but was interested in what would happen if the shift was only slight. Rook is one of my favourite books, so this blending of genres definitely works.

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One of the most important things about blending sci-fi and fantasy is that a fantasy book can not be science fiction, but a sci-fi novel can be fantastical. It is more about seeming unscientific and reading like a fantasy book, than actually being a fantasy book. If everything in the sci-fi book is somewhat plausible or if your book has lots of science and engineering in it (such as in The Martian or Illuminae), then it will definitely read as sci-fi rather than fantastical science fiction. Likewise if your book is set in an apocalyptic setting, where the world is falling apart. If your book is heavy on politics and has things we often associate with fantasy such as Kings, Queens, fancy dresses and courts, or even things that seem to be magic, it will be much more fantastical, even if it has a scientific explanation.

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In doing this, though, one must still be sure in the genre. If you include seemingly fantastical elements in your story, then you must also reason these scientifically, even if that ‘science’ has not been proven or would never actually work. Another couple of examples of the fantastical science fiction type books include: Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine and The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester.

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The Queen of the Tearling is a book that seems like fantasy, until you get to The Invasion of the Tearling and a new POV is introduced, which is also an interesting way to go about blurring the lines between science fiction and fantasy. This common overlap is perhaps one of the reason sci-fi and fantasy books are shelved together in bookshops.

I hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful or interesting! Please let me know if you’re writing something too! I hope you appreciated these quotes as well 😉 Happy writing, Keira x.

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