Genre Mashup

Rachel Kent

Blogger: Rachel Kent

I’ve had books like Pride & Prejudice and Zombies on my mind recently. (I actually own an autographed copy of that book–it was a gift and the giver knew it was a funny one.) The writer (re-teller?) of Pride & Prejudice and Zombies took a classic, romantic, near-perfect novel and mixed it with horror and satire.

I am not a big fan of this book or others like it because I feel like the original text is too heavily used in the books. Jane Austen wrote most of Pride & Prejudice and Zombies, too. It’s her book nearly word-for-word with some zombies mixed in. It doesn’t feel right to me for her work to be used in this way even if if is public domain. I am one small voice in a vast sea. That book was wildly popular when it came out (as was Sense & Sensibility and Sea Monsters), so others do disagree with me on this and that is totally fine. While googling just now I saw Android Karenina! I hadn’t heard of that one yet!

I do think that mashing up genres on a book that YOU wrote or are writing could be fun. Do you write WWII historical romance? How would your story be if it was mixed with a sci-fi plot?

Or if you write horror, can you add fantasy?

Contemporary romance? That’s a little bit harder because I have actually seen successful books with contemporary romance mixed with most other genres. But your current plot with a little added robot, zombie, or alien activity could be fun!

If you have a minute to play with this, I’d love to see a little paragraph-long description of a  “mash-up” of your work-in-progress!

Have you read a mash-up like this? Did you enjoy it? Why or why not?

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  1. Ulysses S. Grant was nobody’s fool
    (though he once had a problem with booze);
    he was strong, he was wise, and under fire so cool
    that he might be an Eskimo in disguise.
    He set loose the dog Sherman, that horrible tool
    desecrating sweet Georgia, and Atlanta besides;
    but he didn’t consider that Grand Cosmic Rule
    that flowed in the Milky Way’s tides!
    The South called for aid in this time so brutal,
    Responded the Borg! And Grant’s resistance was futile.

  2. Keely Keith says:

    Years ago I got bored reading the same ol’ genre tropes, so I decided to mash up my favorite elements of several genres and write a story. The result: my Uncharted series is inspirational frontier-style romance with a slight sci-fi twist.

    When I was shopping The Land Uncharted in early 2014, agents said the market wasn’t ready for it. After signing with a small press, I’m now happily indie. Fast-forward 4 years, and all 5 books in the Uncharted series are selling beautifully. I just finished book 6 and am planning the big finale of book 7.

    So, I agree, Rachel. Mash it up!

  3. Back when Pride/Zombies came out, I was talking with my agent and tossed out the idea of mixing a legal thriller with zombie fiction. Only the hero would be the zombie/lawyer (after all, many people see little difference between the two). We sold the idea to Kensington and I wrote it under a pen name. Now I have the rights again and am slow-rolling the series back into existence (the undead, get it?) The first one is up now. Pay Me in Flesh is not horror fiction. It’s more like the Harry Dresden books by Jim Butcher. It leans heavily on the legal thriller side. It’s just that Mallory Caine, Zombie-at-Law, has to eat a brain every now and again.

  4. Oh Rachel, what a fun post! I love your challenge. I’ve some scrumptious things in my brain. I am throwing them all in a big pot of my homemade sauce and tur ing the heat on low. I have to run and do some wedding errands. (My son gets married in two weeks.😁) BUT, when I get back I’ll toss in the spice, put it to simmer for about thirty minutes. Finally, I’ll plate it up and bring it to the table. I’m hoping it will be so tasty, people will want to chow down least the Zombies anyway.

  5. Um … my current ms. is kind of a mashup already now that you’ve made me think about it. The conversion of Saul/Paul meets “Mean Girls” meets a documentary about Mexican cenotes which then crashes into another more terrifying documentary about attacking Humboldt squids! Hmmm … it sounded less weird in my query letter, I swear!

  6. Annie Riess says:

    Oh, Rachel you certainly do have a sense of humour. Love the idea maybe I could make a good romance out of my memoir. LOL

  7. Okay, I’m back from wedding errands and a local high school football game. My husband volunteers with the team, and I’m his date for all the games. But, here is my plate for the table. Chow down!

    Great Aunt Lizzie adjusted the phone against her ear. “Sheriff Noble?”
    “Yes, Gal. It’s me, and Lizzie we got trouble.”
    “Trouble?” The older woman adjusted her glasses and sat down on a nearby chair.
    “Oh, yes. I tell we got trouble right here in River City. Trouble that starts with t and rhymes with p, that stand for pool.”
    “Did you say something about the pool?” The cell phone crackled.
    “Yes, I did.” the Sheriff shouted.
    “Well no need to shout at me. I think I may know what you’re going to say. I just got back from the morning prayer circle with the women down at the church.
    “How’s that Gal?”
    “Oh, you know us women Sheriff Noble. We pick a little: talk a little, pick a little, talk a little, cheep, cheep, cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more.”
    Yes, I know all about that. But I’m serious Lizzie!”
    “About the trouble?”
    “Yes, the trouble that starts with t that rhymes with p that stand for pool.”
    Great Aunt Lizzie adjusted her apron. She was trying to make a quick batch of brownies for the kids weeding her vegetable garden. “I know all about it. Mary Parker told me there are some strange visitors that came in to town this week. She said that they were in Bob’s Meat Market the same time she was there. They bought up all the ribs and asked for cow tongue. Wearing dark raggedy clothes.”
    “Hmm, didn’t know that part.”
    Gal shoved the baking pan in the oven. “Yes, and Susan Lindell said she was at the pool the other day and they were showering in the outdoor pool showers with their clothes on. Scared the other swimmers away just by their looks and smell. Putrid!”
    “Yes, those are the people…or things I’m talking about. Gal call your ladies and ask them to pray hard, because we got trouble. Zombies, I’m saying. Right here in River City. Oh, that’s trouble that starts with t and rhymes with p and they’re in our pool!”
    “I’m on it Sheriff. I also have a plan, I’ve been running through my mind since the prayer meeting. Get Marion the librarian and ask her to bring anything she may have on Zombies. Meet me at Doc Gaines Vet Clinic in a half hour. I have an idea to stop them dead in their tracks—so to speak.

    And that my dear Ellie, is how one summer was when I lived and worked in the small town of River City, Iowa. I have to go to my appointment with my eye doctor now, but I’ll make sure to write the rest of the story tomorrow for you. Never in all my days did I ever think I would be out setting traps for zombies! And the traps worked too, on six of them. Too bad two got away when they ran into the woods. Okay, darling, that’s all for now. Until next time.

    Loads of love,

    Great Aunt Lizzie, emphasis on the Great.

    • And this, Elizabeth, was worth the wait!

      (trouble with a Z and that rhymes with P . . . )

      • Thank you Shirlee. I was so busy all day, but my brain was percolating. I like to be true to my word, so even though I was quite tired I sat down and wrote. I laughed the whole time. It is a mashup of my work in progress, Letters from Great Aunt Lizzie: Quirky Humor with Indispensable Wisdom, lyrics from two songs of one of my favorite musicals,”The Music Man,” and the name of the librarian, Marian. Then for added flavor, since Rachel wrote about zombies, I mashed up some Zombies and threw them in. Oh, I had a ball writing it, and my husband and I got a good laugh after a disappointing football game. So glad you enjoyed it!

    • Ha!