Using Elements From Other Genres in Your Writing
By Stephen Zimmer
I have long maintained that it is of great value to authors of one genre to read and explore writers who write in other genre,s and examine their techniques. It is one of the big reasons why I created the Imaginarum Convention as a creative writing-centered event for all genres, to bring together writers of various genres under one roof to learn from each other and share insights into their particular craft.
The fantasy writer can gain great insights from the mystery writer, and vice versa, and it is the same for the writer of faith-based fiction and a horror writer, to use a couple of pairs as examples.
I read often outside the genres that I write, and I love to listen to writers in genres that I am not published in talk about the details of their craft. I believe, in the long run, that this pays great dividends in terms of developing my own craft in storytelling.
For stories in the Rayden Valkyrie Tales and Ragnar Stormbringer Tales collections, I draw in elements of several genres to bring the particular stories to life and engage the reader.
Darkness Enthroned is a Rayden Valkyrie adventure where she accompanies a group of warriors tracking an anomalous incursion by a group of riders from the Attun tribe. The tracks of the riders end at an ancient burial mound of enormous proportions, and this story involves Rayden’s efforts to discover the nature of the mound and what happened to the riders.
The storyline brings in suspense, horror, mystery, and thriller elements, in addition to the core elements that define sword and sorcery, or heroic fantasy. The elements do not change the overall classification into a cross-genre category, but they do make the storytelling far more effective and impacting for the reader.
The Awakening is a Ragnar Stormbringer adventure that sees Ragnar sailing with another warrior who is very close to him, Thorsalla, to visit a homestead/settlement founded by her brother. Upon their arrival, they find the settlement destroyed, along with some mysterious tracks, and Ragnar has to uncover what happened to the settlement and confront the forces behind it.