Five things I thought about during my morning run:

1. Running on the track at the gym. I like looking out the windows. My favorite view is of an old big white clapboard farmhouse. A barn. A silo. Grass. Across the street is a warehouse. In the other direction, the hospital. In some ways this scene represents so much about the Shenandoah Valley.

2. Switching my music around. Sometimes running at the gym is a head game for me. I get so bored. I switch my music around. It helps.

3. My post on genre blending.

4. My knees are a bit sore because I’ve been running outside on the streets a lot. But I really like running in the heat.

5. Tess will be getting her tonsils out on Wednesday. A part of me is totally horrified by this. My baby going under freaks me out. I just keep thinking that in the long run this is going to be a really good thing for her—a child with countless sore throats, strep incidents, and really big tonsils that swell and make it hard to breath when she gets sick. It WILL be a good thing.

Blending Genre

This is  the third stop on the Mystery Writer Blog Tours Ink.

This article is the third entry in a rolling blog tour on the topic of genre blending.  For the previous tour, please see Ryder Islington’s post on plotting. The details on all the participants in today’s tour are at the bottom of this post, as well as a link to the next article in the series. The next blog tour will be Wednesday and our subject will be our favorite reference books. It will start with Nancy Lauzon http://chickdickmysteries.com

Today’s subject: Genre Blending

The series I’m working on right now is squarely in the “cozy” mystery genre. For those of you who are not sure what that means, it’s usually defined as a  mystery  in which there is no graphic violence and sex. Many “traditional” mysteries fit that criteria, as well.

With SCRAPBOOK OF SECRETS, plenty of sex goes on, but it happens off-camera. The reader doesn’t see it or any of the gory details of the unexpected death, either. And there really isn’t enough of that sex to qualify it as a romantic mystery. And the romance strains in the book are sort of, um, un-romantic.  But this first book in my series has definite paranormal elements. But does that make it a paranormal mystery?

No. Because it isn’t a driving thread to the story. What moves it forward is the mystery. Unsexed up. With no graphic violence. So it’s a cozy. (A word I really don’t like, but there you have it.)

I hope the example of what my book is and what is not helps clarify the mysterious thing that is genre. It’s very often about balance—which thread is the most important thread  in the book?

So if you are blending genre, both genre elements should be of equal importance. Let’s take romantic suspense, a very popular genre of it’s own, now. But, it’s a blending of romance and suspense or mystery. The couple is in a situation because of the suspense. The suspense is ratcheted up because of this romance. Or vice versa. You can’t pull it apart because one element hinges on the other.

As far as I’m concerned, genre blending makes a good story even better, more complicated and layered.

Where it gets complicated for writers, first-time novelists in particular, is defining which thread is the most important so that we can represent our manuscripts to an agent, publisher, and ultimately reader, in the most accurate way possible. It’s difficult for us to see our  own work clearly sometimes. But if you take the time to study your genre, read a lot of books in that genre,  it will help.

What genre are you writing in? What do you like to read?

Check out what some of the other writers on the blog tour say about genre blending.

The next entry in today’s tour is by John Hines I encourage you to complete the tour, and jump in there and comment.

Thanks!

Below is a list of the participants in today’s roll. We’d love it if you could stop by each of them and read more about genre blending.