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I'm wondering if is it possible to write a romantic dramatic book, and then write a second book that's a sequel but in a completely different genre, like a horror or psychological horror story?

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  • possible duplicate? changing genres in the middle of the story Jul 30 '20 at 14:49
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    @dorijan5484 I'm not so sure. I don't think a lot of the advice given on that question is applicable here. For example, if you're switching genres between books, it's easier to signal that in advance (i.e. before release) than if you switch genre within the same book.
    – F1Krazy
    Jul 30 '20 at 14:57
  • @F1Krazy Oh, my bad. I misread the title and misinterpreted the following season as a chapter. Jul 30 '20 at 15:05
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    It's a little poorly-worded, I think we could do with some clarification from OP, but they do seem to be asking about two separate books.
    – F1Krazy
    Jul 30 '20 at 15:09
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    Of course it's possible. But you are guaranteed to lose some readers between the books. Some people have strong preferences regarding genres, and genre switch may feel bad enough for them to not even touch the book. But if you want just to dial the drama up or down, this is done quite often.
    – Alexander
    Jul 30 '20 at 16:15
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Yes, it's possible. While changing genres during a story can leave the audience feeling betrayed - they expected one thing but got something else entirely - but changing genres between stories gives you a chance to let your audience know in advance, through (depending on the medium) trailers, interviews, the front cover, etc. This will lessen the shock, and give them time to adjust to the idea.

Some fans will invariably be put off by the switch; the more drastic the change, the more fans you're likely to alienate. The trick is to keep the core aspect of whatever made them like your first novel. To use your example, while the sequel may be a psychological horror, you can keep some of the romantic aspects by emphasising how the leads from the first book are still very much in love; that love can either help them get through the traumatic events of the story, and/or be exploited by who/whatever your villain is as part of those traumatic events.

A good example of how to do this is Aliens. The first Alien film was very much horror. Aliens, by contrast, was an 80s action movie, but it kept the horror elements from the first film and managed to blend the two together. The Alien Queen appearing from nowhere and graphically tearing Bishop in half? Horror. Ripley showing up in a power loader a few seconds later to fight her? 80s action movie. The fusion worked so well that Aliens is considered one of the greatest sequels of all time.

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    The most recent season of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has done this on a micro level. It's still science fiction, but the episodes have had the characters jump to different times—and whenever they've ended up in a different era, the entire theme of the show has altered in order to match the stereotypes of that era—not just the set design, but many meta aspects of the overall characterizations themselves. For example, one episode was filmed in black and white with a character narrating action, all in the style of old gumshoe private-eye movies. Jul 30 '20 at 21:23
  • Another example is Mary Robinette Kowal's Glamourist Histories. Each book is a different genre, but they stay grounded by using the same characters and literary aesthetic. Jul 31 '20 at 14:50
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Possibly, but not without resistance. Anytime something is successful, both the publisher and the audience will demand more of the same. Your best bet is to do some genre-blending in a way that brings something old and something new at the same time. For instance, if your first book is romantic-drama, your second could be action-drama. People will stick with you if it was the shared elements that brought them to your book in the first place.

Harry Potter is a good example. Several of the books have different genre elements --middle-grade mystery in one, action adventure in another, war novel in a third --but the overall series stays grounded around YA fantasy.

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