Genre question

What's going on in your writing world? Connect with the writing community here and talk about whatever's on your mind.
albrannon
Private E-1
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun May 21, 2017 9:11 am

Genre question

Postby albrannon » Sun May 28, 2017 2:05 pm

So I posted a partial chapter in the critique section and had two members suggest my writing is literary fiction.

SO truth time: I am about to graduate with my bachelor's degree in management and my writing experience and knowledge is limited to basic college composition courses. I am stumped by the term literary fiction.

I did some googling but the term is broad and several websites give differing viewpoints on what makes literary fiction what it is.

In your honest opinion, what makes a book fit into the category of literary fiction? I thought I was writing a historical fiction since the plot in my book will follow along with some real life happenings of the post-revolutionary war settlers of North Carolina and their Cherokee Indian counterparts, but now I'm not sure, ha.

williamadams
 

Re: Genre question

Postby williamadams » Sun May 28, 2017 3:09 pm

imho
it is like smutty spam and that supreme court guy
he cant define but says he knows it when he sees it
seems strange that a supreme would be looking at smutty spam at all :)

there is no real consensus although many definitions have some similarity

for me litfic =

long rambling beautiful prose with no point
emphasis on the writing itself with no real story and no plot

compare to genre fiction
fast moving twisty plots interesting characters
not some verbose slice of life rambling

compare it to watching wheat grow on a beautiful summer afternoon while readign poetry
vs a superbowl playoff game in the snow against two teams who hate each other

for better or worse our attention spans have gotten smaller with tv and commercial breaks
time is scarce and it costs more to make a long movie than a shorter one
ditto tv shows
so people want shorter faster stories and shows/movies

people want the show/movie and even novels to get to the point and see what is important right now not later after the author got warmed up and not in some 18th century verbose style like dickens who got paid by the word for his novels

litfic is imho for hard core english majors without a life who enjoy verbiage for its own sake
real people want a fast moving plot with the excess useless words all cut out
or even something all action with no real plot but at least something is happening - think drift movies
Last edited by williamadams on Sun May 28, 2017 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

albrannon
Private E-1
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun May 21, 2017 9:11 am

Re: Genre question

Postby albrannon » Sun May 28, 2017 4:03 pm

Williamadams, can you give me some book titles to clarify your point? I totally get your examples but I can't place a fiction book that I have read where the plot and point are absent.

williamadams
 

Re: Genre question

Postby williamadams » Sun May 28, 2017 4:23 pm

nope
i would not read such a book

i read little fiction
and i know that it will be genre plot with action before i start reading those

ditto movies
although i am not into the drift type
but a good bond spy film i would see

User avatar
ostarella
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 684
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:51 am

Re: Genre question

Postby ostarella » Sun May 28, 2017 8:51 pm

Literary fiction tends to focus on character; good literary fiction does have a plot, but it's secondary to the characters' viewpoint, experience, etc. The books and short stories I've read do also tend to use more descriptive language, but in the good ones, that's not a problem. (I personally think it's a challenge to be able to write descriptively without being boring or rambling, but I do write mostly genre fiction.) Genre fiction does just the opposite - the plot is generally emphasized over the characters. (Bear in mind, I'm not saying, in either case, that character is more important than plot or vice versa - it's just a matter of where the emphasis is.)

The only other difference between literary and genre fiction is that the various divisions in genre (romance, western, action/adventure, etc) have characteristics that need to be followed in order to fit within that division. These are things readers expect when they pick up a romance versus a western. Literary doesn't really have those divisions.

I will admit I wondered, after posting my comments there, if it really was lit fic, considering the actions involved. I think it was the descriptive nature and the emphasis on the characters' thoughts that probably made me think that way. Then again, I've read quite a few historical novels in my time and they did tend to be a bit more "eloquent" in their language than other genres, so it's not necessarily a negative. Finish the book, and then you can figure out what it COULD be (ie, which agents would be most appropriate). ;)

albrannon
Private E-1
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun May 21, 2017 9:11 am

Re: Genre question

Postby albrannon » Sun May 28, 2017 9:34 pm

I really do not want to put my work into a box which defines it before it even exists so your advice is solid. I have so much to learn but the entire process so far has been immensely enjoyable. Every time I make a revision or throw in a new scene I feel that it is better than the day before.

Based on what I have read here I think that I tend to gravitate toward literary fiction as a reader. I found a Goodreads list where a huge majority of my read shelf was listed and it was of course titled Popular Literary Fiction. So I am not surprised that you picked up on even a hint of it in my writing.

williamadams
 

Re: Genre question

Postby williamadams » Mon May 29, 2017 10:01 am

[/quote="albrannon"]I really do not want to put my work into a box which defines it before it even exists so your advice is solid. I have so much to learn but the entire process so far has been immensely enjoyable. Every time I make a revision or throw in a new scene I feel that it is better than the day before.

Based on what I have read here I think that I tend to gravitate toward literary fiction as a reader. I found a Goodreads list where a huge majority of my read shelf was listed and it was of course titled Popular Literary Fiction. So I am not surprised that you picked up on even a hint of it in my writing.[/quote]
===========

it depends why you are writing

if it is strictly commercial to make money they you need to give the reader what they want and define that box first
if this is just for you then you need to make it the way you will be happy with

you can always self publish anything for free
although most authors pay too much anyway
and a lot get taken to the cleaners and grossly overpay for nothing of value

if you want to learn then read WM by WD books and their other specialised books
it will be the fast education without going to the uni or school of hard knocks to learn about writing and the biz of writing

User avatar
ostarella
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 684
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:51 am

Re: Genre question

Postby ostarella » Mon May 29, 2017 1:10 pm

[quote="williamadams"]
if it is strictly commercial to make money they you need to give the reader what they want and define that box first
if this is just for you then you need to make it the way you will be happy with [/quote]

I think it's quite possible to write a book that matches reader expectations AND write it in a way that makes the author happy. I doubt a lot of really successful authors put out crap they don't like; certainly there are some, as in any endeavor, but I don't think it's the norm. The most important thing is to tell a good story - everything else comes from that.

williamadams
 

Re: Genre question

Postby williamadams » Mon May 29, 2017 1:45 pm

[quote="ostarella"][quote="williamadams"]
if it is strictly commercial to make money they you need to give the reader what they want and define that box first
if this is just for you then you need to make it the way you will be happy with [/quote]

I think it's quite possible to write a book that matches reader expectations AND write it in a way that makes the author happy. I doubt a lot of really successful authors put out crap they don't like; certainly there are some, as in any endeavor, but I don't think it's the norm. The most important thing is to tell a good story - everything else comes from that.[/quote]

i dont think most readers want something other than the genre they prefer
the number of english majors who just love pretty writing for its own sake dont buy enough books to move the meter

User avatar
ostarella
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 684
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:51 am

Re: Genre question

Postby ostarella » Mon May 29, 2017 7:27 pm

[quote="williamadams"]
i dont think most readers want something other than the genre they prefer[/quote]

I didn't say they did. What I said was that one can write to reader expectations and still write what they're happy with. ie - it's not an either-or proposition.

[quote="williamadams"]the number of english majors who just love pretty writing for its own sake dont buy enough books to move the meter[/quote]

Literary fiction is more than just "pretty writing". And most English majors I've known are voracious readers. So why don't we call an end to this before it devolves into another one of those pointless battles between literary and genre fiction, okay?

Next

Return to Writers' Block Party

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests