Fiction that crosses genre boundaries is increasingly popular, so much so that many sub-genres are popping up, such as steampunk, paranormal romance and Western science fiction. Reading Map of Bones by James Rollins recently, I was struck by how easily the plot could have been adapted for a fantasy novel. Map of Bones is a fast-paced action-packed thriller involving secret societies, undercover agents with special abilities and a race to stop an evil sect from gaining ancient knowledge that would give it unassailable power over the world and beyond. There are shades of 007. It could be rewritten as a fantasy thriller with potential for many spin-offs.
In no way am I suggesting that anyone should rip-off the plots of other people's novels, but I am suggesting that if new ideas are a little elusive, or if the story you are working on is proving stubbornly reluctant to get onto the page, it might be worth revisiting your own work to see whether a change of genre could give it a new life. Or maybe you will find two pieces that could make a perfect marriage of two genres. Who knows? You might even end up inventing a completely new category–cyberpunk spy thriller or sword and sorcery whodunit perhaps.