Life Isn’t Just One Genre, Why Should a Story Be?

I write this as I came to wrestle this very question the other day.  I’ve posted some snippets from the Sci Fi Novella I’m working on and there was something I wanted to do a little different at the end.  I wanted to add a horror element.

But you’re writing Sci Fi!  And it hasn’t been horror at to this point!

Both points are true, but it felt like I had come to a natural place in the story where it just fit.  Yes, the piece has pretty much been a Sci Fi Crime/Action piece with a sprinkling of spy work in it!  But we’re at the point where they’re making the return trip home and someone really wants to see them not make it, so there’s a surprise on the ship.

I wrestled with this idea for days.  Would the reader get mad at me for the sudden swerve?  Would they revolt at the change of tone?  And then it hit me:  Life isn’t one genre.  Sure, you can point at certain times in your life where THIS genre or THAT genre was dominating but life never looses that multi-genre status.  Happy romance stories turn to tragedies in a heartbeat.  Funny, adventure stories can turn into horror nightmares.  As time moves along, the genre we’re in changes, bends a little, and sometimes completely gives itself over to another genre.  “Hey, buddy, I’ve had a blast, but it’s your turn…. give ’em Hell.”

So I’m going to do it.  All the action and character builds are going to lead us right into a suspenseful ride of horror back to earth.  Is it risky?  Yes.  Am I okay with that?  Yes.  Life isn’t just one genre and your story doesn’t have to be either.

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