Hybrid Forms

Definitions and Challenges to Hybrid Forms: The Oxford Dictionary explains hybrid in terms of mating: “The offspring of a mating in which the parents differ in at least one characteristic.”  The concept of mating applies well to what we do as hybrid writers. A hybrid project must have time to inseminate, incubate, grow and flourish. The project will go through many revisions and make many mistakes. You as the creator will make mistakes, too. As with any good parent, you must remember that every mistake is an opportunity to learn something more about your creation and self as the creator.  

The term hybrid usually describes offspring of “widely different parents, e.g. different varieties or species.” In literature and the arts, “hybrid” is the term applied to a blending of forms, creating a single form with attributes of two or more original forms.

Hybrid forms in literature will combine two traditional forms into a single or blended form, such as prose poetry, lyric essays, intermedia and so on.

In Tresspass Journal, Martina Allen discusses some of the issues in using the term “hybrid” to denote this blending of literary and artistic forms: “Against ‘Hybridity’ in Genre Studies: Blending as an Alternative Approach to Generic Experimentation.” One interesting argument against the term hybrid is that “hybrid” suggests an amalgamated form which is no longer a sum of its parts but rather an entirely new entity. Allen suggests that “blended” more pointedly describes the practice of merging two or more forms together. “Blended” suggests that a work retains its original attributes as well as the merged attributes. Regardless of where you land in this argument, the contemporary literary markets, both indie and NY publishing regard “hybrid” as the term accepted and most often used.

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Sources

The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the PresentEric Kandel.

A Handbook to Literature. William Harmon.

“Cogito et Histoire de la Folie.” Jacques Derrida.

Eats Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. Lynne Truss.

The Elements of Style. William Strunk. 

New Oxford American DictionaryEdited by Angus Stevenson and Christine A. Lindberg.

The Norton Anthology of World LiteratureMartin Puchner, et al.

The Norton Introduction to PhilosophyGideon Rosen and Alex Byrne.

Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English. Patricia T. O’Conner

Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. Janet Burroway, Elizabeth Stuckey-French & Ned Stuckey-French.

Writing the Other. Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward.

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