My question is rather simple, and means exactly what it looks like. I'm writing a book in which there have been a genre change, from a not-very-good suspense novel to more of an action, however, the storyline is looking like it's going to take another genre change. Yes it will still be an action, but the introduction of super intelligent and almost unbeatable robots is now making it more of a sci-fi.

Don't get me wrong, this story is set many many years in the future, and since the beginning it was something of a sci-fi, there were little gadgets here and there that don't exist in this time, but that was never the main focus, but now that robots have been introduced, I want to make it an almost full sci-fi and action novel. It's close to the end of the book, so the genre change would only last a few chapters and possibly carry over into a sequel, but I want to know; can I do this? Or are the multiple genre slight genre changes too confusing or messy?

  • I don't think the second genre shift is really a genre shift. You're in "science fantasy" territory, and if the basic story is the same if the robots turned to dragons or demons, you are probably science fantasy. Is the point about the implications of robotics, or are the robots merely a plot tool to move the story?
    – DWKraus
    Commented May 6, 2021 at 22:42
  • As of now, a plot tool, but if I do make that sequel I was talking about, they'd be the main villain for the majority of the series Commented May 6, 2021 at 22:55
  • I'd be more concerned about the first transition, but I've read plenty of books that did something similar. Where does your word count fall?
    – DWKraus
    Commented May 6, 2021 at 23:02
  • For the entire book? So far it's around 50,000 words. 29 chapters. Commented May 6, 2021 at 23:07
  • Okay. Your target market for a first book is 60-80,000 words. Chapter length is a style/preference thing. If it was longer, you could split it if the theme changed (sci fi tolerates longer word totals, but not for a first novel).
    – DWKraus
    Commented May 6, 2021 at 23:14

1 Answer 1


The problem with this approach is that it confuses the reader. The genre label is a signal to the reader that this story is one of those type of stories. A reader who is looking for a comfortable reading experience picks a story labeled as a mystery in the expectation that it contains all of the elements of a mystery. There may be some other elements but they are supportive of the mystery and how it is solved. Romance, thriller, they all have elements that readers expect to see. When these expectations are not met, the reader leaves the book (perhaps midway) with a confused and sour experience. This leads to bad reviews and bad word-of-mouth recommendations.

If you are only writing for yourself, you are the only reader that you must satisfy. Then, anything that satisfies you, is OK. The genre signal does not matter.

However, if you want many readers, you need to go back to the earlier parts of the story and revise them to fit into your final choice of genre. Even if you did not switch genres, you need to ensure that the story is consistent throughout the material. It would be unusual for the writer to have not learned new things about the characters, theme, and plot by the end of a draft These must be propagated back to the beginning of the story. A consistent genre experience will attract a class of reader who is willing to take a chance on that genre.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.