Darkness Enthroned and The Awakening Blog Tour: ‘Using Elements From Other Genres in Your Writing’
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.
The tale involves the undead, supernatural/paranormal threats, a necromancer, and much more. As such, it also brings in mystery, suspense, and horror elements, in degrees that vary from Darkness Enthroned, to create atmosphere and tension. It even brings in a little of an erotic romance element, in a sequence that has great bearing on some future tales involving Ragnar.
I know that both stories benefit strongly from implementing the techniques used by writers of other genres. Mystery elements are a specialty of a mystery writer, just as horror elements are a specialty of a horror writer. Learning the techniques of such writers broadens the palette that I have available when crafting my own stories.
Additionally, reading other kinds of writing and studying the techniques of the writers can bestow a broader view in terms of the conceptualization of a story and the plotting of it. More ideas rise for both plots and sublots, and more aspects come to mind for the characters that emerge.
I strongly advocate reading outside your own writing genre, and learning from writers of other genres, to improve your craft and enhance your storytelling. It will give you a greater appreciation of the craft of writing, more sources of inspiration, and significantly improve the quality of your own storytelling.
About the author: Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie Tales (Sword and Sorcery), The Ragnar Stormbringer Tales (Sword and Sorcery) the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk), and the Faraway Saga (YA Dystopian/Cross-Genre).
Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot.
Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family.
Book Synopsis for Darkness Enthroned: In the heart of a frigid northern winter, Rayden Valkyrie takes refuge in the lands of the Sarvan people when a mounted column of Attun warriors is seen passing along the outskirts of their territory heading west.
Far from their steppe domain in the east, the Attun warriors are journeying into a remote, unpopulated wilderness, drawing great alarm from the Sarvans about their purpose. Learning of the situation, Rayden joins with a band of warriors from the area’s villages to investigate.
Following the tracks of the Attun warriors, they are led to the base of an enormous, ancient burial mound, where the trail vanishes abruptly. A mystery looms, and Rayden seeks to discover the nature of the burial mound and the reason why the Attuns have traveled so far from their homelands to enter it.
Darkness Enthroned is a stand-alone adventure that is part of the Rayden Valkyrie Tales.
Book Synopsis for The Awakening: Following the end of a brutal war, Ragnar Stormbringer travels across the sea channel to the west with the warrior Thorsalla to visit her brother’s new settlement in the fertile lands of Ulstara.
Coming upon a scene of total devastation, they find no bodies, but there are a large number of strange tracks heading in one direction and signs of a few survivors in another.
Ragnar will soon discover that some mysteries are the gateways to even greater ones.
The Awakening is a stand-alone adventure that is part of the Ragnar Stormbringer Tales.