Look over your own fence every once in a while. You never know when you’ll find something that will help you tell your story.
The Burrowers (shown above) combines elements of the western and of horror films to create something more interesting. Writers like Homer and Shakespeare often crossed genres, combining conventions from fantasy, romance and a dozen other subgenres to create their masterworks.
There are quite few people who would disagree with this assertion, especially in fiction writing. A book that maintains a strong genre identity is easier to market, people get it and when it reaches their hot, little hands they can read it safely, without fear of being thrown to the far reaches of the literary landscape.
The problem with this mode of thinking is that it is, exactly that, safe. This is not to say you can’t write a good novel in a single style but it is to say that if your sci-fi story needs elements from mystery, romance or horror you shouldn’t be afraid to add them in. At the end of the day, great content wins the day and while someone might be a little confused as long as you play by your own rules and remain consistent, they will appreciate that you trusted them enough to tell the real story.
This isn’t even limited to the medium. Filmmakers can learn something from fiction writers, comic book artists can learn things from video game producers. When you’re creating a story seek perspectives, search outside of your boxes and recognize that there are dozens of ways to tell your story, your only job as the teller is to find the best one.