What is Genre-Bending and Why is it Trending Upward?

What is Genre-Bending and Why is it Trending Upward?

Have you ever asked yourself “What is Genre-Bending?” after you came across the term?

If so, today’s post will give you a rundown on what genre-bending is, and whether it’s something you’re looking to dive into. Oh, but a word of warning: Once you’ve tasted genre-bending, you probably will never want to leave it and you may find yourself bored if you return to works that feature typical tropes of typical genres.

I touched a little on genre-bending concepts in Elementals of Nordica, but today’s post gives you a broader definition.

In short, it does nothing more than to take classic tropes in one genre, and place them in another setting, often that of another genre. I’ve always liked to think of it more as fusing several genres into one, and it’s what my Elementals of Nordica Series does. Something we will dive into later.

These days, many authors specialize in the concept because of all the possibilities that it entails to create a completely original work. And here in the 2020s and beyond, competition in all genres have heated up tenfold if not more.

And of course, that has set the stage for more than a few exceptionally creative works. So give yourself and your books a chance.


What is Genre-Bending?

Examples Found in Elementals of Nordica?

Chronicles of the Elementals
My Chronicles of the Elementals reader magnet shows readers the genre-bending concepts in Elementals of Nordica.

I’ve always thought of Elementals of Nordica as an epic or high fantasy, since it not only takes place in another world full of magical systems, but it meets the tropes. However, after reading several articles on the subject, I’ve since given it the speculative fiction label.

We’re looking at sword and sorcery concepts, chosen ones, complex plots, primary antagonist wanting to take over the world yet the chosen ones are in their way, and more.

However, readers who have joined the Readers Republic and read Chronicles of the Elementals will discover in about two seconds that it does not fit general epic fantasy.

For one, there is nothing medieval or pre-industrial about it; instead, you’ll find the Elementals of Nordica Series in a world quite like our own. A world full of technology and even more advanced tech than what we’re used to.

And that of course, is where the genre-bending comes in. But you’re also getting a few more concepts than the flirtation with sci-fi or at least urban/military fantasy here. The latter of which I initially placed Elementals of Nordica into in 2020 when I wrote the first drafts of Wind Wielder.

So sadly, if more mainstream epic fantasy is a reader’s thing, they probably won’t enjoy my work. But if they’re into such a concept, Elementals of Nordica might just be the book series for them.

Related: What are Editorial Reviews? (And Why You Need Them)


Pros and Cons of Genre-Bending

Wind Keeper: Elementals of Nordica: Book III
From Wind Wielder to Wind Keeper, Genre-Bending appears in all of my Elementals of Nordica books.

Obviously, the clear upside is that when you stick to more typical genres and their tropes, you already have an audience waiting. The trick is for them to read and like your work. However, you’re facing much more competition going about things the typical way.

You can actually place genre-bending into niche markets, which will allow you to see less competition. However, your niche market may or may not have enough readers for you to successfully earn enough income to live. Therefore, if you genre-bend in more obscure markets, odds are, you’ll need to write more books.

It was something that I became aware of when I discovered just how much I was mixing and matching genres. But for you the bottom line of the previous paragraph should set you into a frenzy: More Books! And its why I rapidly-published the first three works in Elementals of Nordica, since I’ll be targeting those of you who love to binge read.

But as mentioned earlier, genre-bending also takes plenty of typical concepts and turns them into original ideas. Like with Elementals of Nordica featuring all those cool tropes that you often see in epic fantasy, but bent into a modern world with borderline science fiction concepts.

In other words, those of us who take part in it love taking what we like from typical, mainstream genres, and expelling concepts that we don’t like. And our books reflect those products.

Given the freedom that genre-bending brings as described above, it should serve as no surprise that it is and will probably be in an upward trend for years to come.

Related: Write for Your Reader (And You Will Sell Books)


Should You Genre-Bend?

This is the million-dollar question for your audience. I suggest you concoct a survey and just ask them. Suppose you’re like me and you also write more mainstream urban/small town fantasy books. Why not ask your readers if they’re up for something that still comprises urban fantasy, but simultaneously has an old world feel?

Ultimately, your readers should dictate what you write, because they’re the ones helping you pay your bills with each sale. I also like to ask my readers what they want to see more of. For example, my Chronicles of Rondure Series comprises dystopia with urban fantasy concepts. But perhaps they want straight-on dystopia?

I’ve had a few requests for dystopian novels, so the more I get, the more I take the idea into consideration. Tell your audience about genre-bending and what it entails. You may be surprised at the answers they give you when you survey them.


Consider This

The genre-bending concept is heating up. Especially since there are so many books and saturated markets these days on Amazon and other retailers that authors need to throw in something fresh to stand out. But it doesn’t need to be something unseen.

Consider this:

Harry Potter meets The Hunger Games. The Hunger Games meets Game of Thrones. Star Wars meets Game of Thrones. You get the gist of it. Most readers are familiar with and will read anything with the aforementioned fandoms attached to it.

My work has often drawn parallels to X-Men, The Witcher, and Harry Potter, to name a few. I’ve even described Wind Wielder as Avatar: The Last Airbender meets 21st Century Warfare. Others have called the work genre-fusion. But you get it. Take two (or more) popular works that inspire your writing even if they’re from different genres. Fuse them, and create something special.

For more information on genre-bending, check out the following guest post I wrote for Armed With a Book.