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Mixed genre can be considered experimental, and as such, it’s important that the writing be exceptionally smart in order to live up to the demands of the (mixed) genre.Why is mixed genre writing so often self-referential?
A commentary is often very short (a few hundred words) and more journalistic in tone than a personal essay.
It fits nicely as a column in a newspaper or on a personal blog. Some very short nonfiction pieces may be better suited to newspapers than to literary journals; however, literary magazines have been known to publish commentary-esque pieces that have a literary bent.
Or a mixed genre novel might also be a work that plays fast and loose with fact and fiction.
If you’re going to refer to your book as mixed genre, be clear about what you mean.
Some examples: Mixed Genre Example One: A professional accountant named John Jones is writing a story about a man named John Jones, who is John Jones and lives John Jones’ life—except that the fictional John Jones one day decides to leave his real-life accounting job, and live his dream of being a rock star (since the real-life John Jones is thinking of doing the same thing). Mixed Genre Example Two: A writer decides to compose a family history, using pictures and documents from her family albums. She finds herself embellishing elements or omitting characters; and, the result is a story that’s better than the one she might tell if she were to stick to the facts. NOTE: Sometimes the term mixed genre is defined in terms of the novel or book.
A mixed genre novel might be a novel that mixes science fiction elements with characteristics of a legal thriller.Writing mixed genre and passing it off as an essay or a short story could make editors think that you are trying to dupe them, so it helps to include something in the work that makes reference to itself as being a mixture of fact and fiction.These “meta” elements can help put the reader at ease. The primary markets for short prose are literary magazines and journals.Commentary Example: A writer tells the story of a car explosion in his town to illustrate the point that the police are not vigilant enough about people throwing flaming marshmallows out their windows. Memoir generally refers to longer works of nonfiction, written from the perspective of the author.Memoir does not generally refer to short personal essays.Some personal essays may cite other texts (like books, stories, or poems), but the focus of the citation is not to make an academic point.Rather, emphasis is on the writer’s emotional journey and insight.If you’re writing a short piece based on your real-life experiences, editors of literary journals will identify this as a personal essay.If you’re writing a book about an experience, it’s a memoir.Learn more: Genre Fiction Rules: Find Out If Your Novel Meets Publishers’ And Literary Agents’ Criteria For Publication Tips on Writing Mixed Genre If you’re going to write mixed genre prose, do so with care.Mixed genre writing often has a kind of self-aware, almost tongue-in-cheek, element to it—a wink to the reader who is not fooled by the mixing of fiction and nonfiction, even if the lines are blurry.