On Writing Crossover Fiction: CWC Session VIII


Author Highlight: Rebecca Johns

Readers are always looking for something with an edge—and crossover fiction could be the answer. If you are in the process of writing crossover, are interested in writing it, or have no idea what it is, then this post should be useful for you. Plus, there’s a list full of awesome crossover books to read!

“Crossover Fiction” can be any of the following:


To write good crossover fiction, you need to:

  • Start with a great premise. You’ll build the crossover aspects of your work around this, so make sure it’s totally stellar.
  • Include high external stakes (though it does not have to be world-ending). The book itself is an experiment, and experiments, by definition, can fail. Impart this sense of worry into the text.
  • Have a main character with high internal conflict and strong desires. This mirrors the conflict of the two styles you are trying to bring together, and will strengthen the book’s overall feel as a crossover.
  • Impose a time limit on the character or story. This is good for any kind of fiction—but it turns out to be a strange commonality shared by good crossover.
  • Have a surprising ending. The story is already a surprise for its style-clashing. Don’t go out without a bang!

Some good examples of crossover fiction:

  • The Historian. A three-storyline supernatural, historical thriller concerning the modern-day existence of Vlad the Impaler.
  • The Night Circus. About a circus that magically appears overnight, and two people who become enmeshed in its intrigue.
  • Kindred. A time-traveling story about a modern black woman time-traveling to an era where she is a slave.

In my next post in this CWC Recap Series, I’ll go over Random Tips and Tricks From CWC 2015 Presenters (gained across all presentations), and after that, I’ll do a Final Thoughts & Conference Advice post – and then I can stop chugging out stuff about this conference and move on to some new projects!

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