Day 7 – Julia Elliot Blends Genres


Choose two very different and seemingly incompatible genres and think about how you might combine them to create an interesting piece of fiction.

Sketch out a plan for a longer story or experiment with a single scene for a story.

Some genres: fantasy, folk tale, sci-fi, dystopian, horror, slipstream, magic realism, fairy tale, mystery, detective, noir, Southern Gothic, Appalachian noir, bodice ripper, gorno, tall tale, picaresque, yarn, mockumentary, conspiracy, parody, LGBTQ, pastiche, dark comedy, slasher, chick-lit, new weird, apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, saga, historical, pandemic, alternate history, period piece, ghost story, bildungsroman, feminist sci-fi, action, planetary romance, space western, fan fiction, cyberpunk, post-cyberpunk, nanopunk, steampunk, biopunk, superhero, new age, forensic, psychological thriller, docudrama, medical drama, slapstick, Christian, instructional, self-help, dinosaur erotica, cli-fi, postmodern, memoir, disaster, family saga, high fantasy, epistolary novel, fake blog, fictional autobiography, Afrofuturism, fictional biography, space opera, reality, supernatural, speculative, roman a clef, young adult, zombie, wuxia, vampire, allegory, epic, comedy of manners, melodrama, travelogue, creepy kids, splatter, etc. etc. . . .


Julia Elliott’s writing has appeared in Tin HouseThe Georgia ReviewConjunctionsThe New York TimesGranta online, and other publications. She has won a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, and her stories have been anthologized in Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses and The Best American Short Stories. Her debut story collection, The Wilds, was chosen by KirkusBuzzFeedBook Riot, and Electric Literature as one of the Best Books of 2014 and was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Her first novel, The New and Improved Romie Futch, arrived in October 2015. She teaches English and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, where she lives with her daughter and husband.

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Leave a comment to let us know what you wrote about today, and how it went!

28 thoughts on “Day 7 – Julia Elliot Blends Genres”

  1. I’ve written an outline of 450 words for a dystopian romance. It will need a great deal of fleshing out of plot and characters.
    I always struggle with this prompt.

  2. This prompt kind of blew the top of my head off. I’m not sure I even know what half of these genres are, and I’m afraid if I start looking them up I may fall into that portal we knitted on day 5. Still, lots of great ideas to roam through!

    1. Me neither! And I heard from a few people that you might not want to Google some of them on a public computer 😉

      Hope you didn’t fall too deeply into the portal!

  3. So yeah, today didn’t end up being a good day for writing, but I got something done, at least–a loose 200 word blurb for a post-apocalyptic picaresque. Like most of what I’ve written during this challenge, it’s kind of rough and lacking in detail, but there are some ideas there I might want to develop further.

    1. It’s a tough challenge, no doubt.

      With everything else I have going on, I end up writing very, very tiny stories most days, but once a week I try to really dig in.

  4. My word what a stimulating prompt! I could keep re-using this one for months. I was also tempted by Dinosaur Erotica (considered mashing that up with Self Help). I ended up going for Epistolary Novel/Comedy of Manners/Space Opera.

    “You are the matriarch of a family writing to your son, whom you want to marry off. He is busy (secretly) plotting a takeover of some space empire, and getting shot up and chased. The young lady who you are trying to marry into your family ends up falling in love with your younger son, so they get married instead.”

  5. I combined Detective and Travelogue.
    Mr. Arthur Jones, retired detective sees himself as an Agatha Christie of sorts in his remote British Columbian town. There aren’t many mysteries to be solved, so, he makes them up and writes about them on his travelogue. Usually set in towns not far from his own, he creates a realism people believe, and writes of the untimely deaths of innocent souls adding his own particular twist – usually involving a weapon. Trouble is, when gruesome thrill-seekers read his travelogue and come search for this paragon of detectiveness, they’re usually disappointed, and he, at the least, ends up with a black eye and a law-suit. Clever man that he is, he is off the hook when he asks if they read the small print on his travelogue? There, in Sans Serif, Light, 2, it clearly states, “All persons, places, and things, on this travelogue are born of my imagination (almost) and I am not to be held accountable for where your notions take you.”

    1. I like this idea a lot. It could make for a really fun series of cozies, with the secondary mystery being how he’s going to get found out, this time! 😉

  6. This took me a while to sketch the outline of my plan for a longer story. I had to reread the original story of Rumplestiltskin and then see if I had enough ideas of how to turn it into a psychological thriller.
    It was worth the effort and now I’m looking forward to working on the next draft.
    Outline of 543 words.

  7. This one was a hoot. I picked something I never heard of before called “Mind Screw.” It seems to be a mashup of New Weird and Post Cyber-Punk. It’s first person, super-slangy argot. Protag and his girlfriend are urban terrorists striking out agains the plutocracy. Needed to include elements of Cognitive Dissonance to make it truly New Weird.

    1. This sounds great, PLUS you’ve given me some new genres to look up. I’m an old fan of cyber-punk but not sure I’ve delved into much post-, and definitely not familiar with New Weird. Just the name makes me want to find out more 😉

  8. Yeah, that “Dinosaur erotica” was…odd? Didn’t look that one up. But there were several others that I had never heard of and looked up a few. Cli-FI? Had no idea it was Climate Fiction, but decided to run with that and wrote a short story combining global warming taken to new extremes, as documented in a fake blog. “Stationed” at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, my protagonist wrote about giant ice bergs calving just miles from the base from the comfort of his home in Encinitas. And had the cheek to ask for donations to support his “Mission” at the end of a post. Venmo, PayPal and all major credit cards accepted!

    1. I’ve been writing ‘cli-fi’ since before it had a name LOL (I’m not the only one, of cours!)

      I do believe you can buy Dinosaur-erotica on Amazon, should you feel so inclined…

  9. It was tough for me to start. I decided on instructional (but changed that to a recipe) and noir genres. I made a fun start on an outline with the ingredients, did not get to directions due to lack of time. It turned out to be fun and a story I might continue some day.

    1. That DOES sound like fun. Hope you get back to it some day. I imagine you, one day, leafing through calls for submissions and going “Oh wait! I bet my noir-recipe-instructional story would work here…”

  10. I wrote a story about a private detective investigating a disappearance on the planet Mars. Two genres that I love to read and now enjoying to write about.

  11. Today’s prompt send me into a mix that originally started as a mystery about four outdated salesman receipts that arrived monthly from October 2019 to the story opening date in January 2020. That then emerged with the Day 6 prompt as a budding love story and now on Day 7 the present prompt leads my protagonist and his emerging love interest into a history chase as the four receipts from 1956 seem like true golden eggs. Thanks Julie.

  12. I combined Gothic Fiction and Mockumentary and have a plot outline for a retelling of Frankenstein in this format. It’s Frankenstein meets The Office!

  13. Intriguing prompt, since I hadn’t heard of half of these genres (dinosaur erotica?!). I ended up combining planetary romance and fan fiction, using the characters from Seinfeld. It was interesting to see how easy it was to write in the different voices since I know the characters so well! It would be great one day to feel that I know my own characters like this…

    1. That’s a really interesting exercise…and observation. But if you go back to the beginning of ‘Seinfeld’, it’s pretty clear THEY didn’t know the characters that well, either. It’s amazing what happens when you just keep playing with them….

      1. That is a great and encouraging point. I know exactly what you mean as my husband and I have started rewatching the series on Hulu…definitely a rough start!

  14. Oh, my goodness what a choice!
    I went for Fairy Tale and LGBTQ.
    Snow White and the House of SSL (Same Sex Loving)!
    The seven dwarves are called Hunky, Limpy, Jock, Campy, Butch, Softy and Cutie!
    What a giggle!
    I wrote the scene where she first discovers their immaculately clean cottage, and then they find this tall woman asleep in their rather large for seven dwarves, but just right for a tall woman-sized bed!

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