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Posted on October 3, 2011

Human beings like to classify things, to put them into boxes and label them; that way they feel better about the world, and it gives them the impression that they have some sort of power over it. After all, everyone knows that ‘names are power’.

So stories and novels get put into boxes such as ‘science fiction’, ‘romance’, ‘literary fiction’ or ‘mystery’. Sometimes, modern ones are invented – ‘chic lit’ would be a prominent recent innovation – but, generally speaking, stories are shoe-horned into the same old compartments.

There is a reason for this – it allows publishers to market the book at the target demographic group (and thus maximise return) – but it means that should you write a story that doesn’t fit neatly into one of the accepted classes (the publishing term – and it’s a dirty one – is ‘cross-genre’), then you’re going to have a tough time getting it published.

Tags: cross-genre, literary genres, writing genres