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  1. #21
    Jon Piper
    Guest

    Re: Genre vs Literary Fiction

    "I hear this discussion all the time at writer's conferences, and it bugs the heck out of me when some newbie genre writer says in a snide tone, 'I write genre, not literary crap. I write what people want to read.'"

    I understand Stephen King has been trying like hell to write a literary novel, or at least a horror novel, with literary merit.



  2. #22
    Greg Kosson
    Guest

    Re: Genre vs Literary Fiction

    That makes my day. Think of all the people who would love to be Stephen King.

    It sounds as though Stephen King no longer wants to be Stephen King.

  3. #23
    Mya Bell
    Guest

    Re: Genre vs Literary Fiction

    I've read some of Stephen King's columns, which are quite different from his novels. In his columns he is perceptive, observant, thoughtful, and thought-provoking. There are certainly more sides to him than are immediately evident from reading his popular fiction.

    --- Mya Bell

  4. #24
    Amber Scott
    Guest

    Re: Genre vs Literary Fiction

    Jeanne wrote: "I hear this discussion all the time at writer's conferences, and it bugs the heck out of me when some newbie genre writer says in a snide tone, "I write genre, not literary crap. I write what people want to read." The funny thing is that I never hear my fellow literary writers say they hate genre. Most of the literary writers I know speak of good genre writers with a level of awe."

    I hear the opposite, a lot. People say, well, what Greg is saying. "Genre fiction sucks, it's easy as crap to write because it is crap and I can't write badly enough to cater to the mindless masses. Obviously all the agents suck too because they keep buying that stuff, and the publishers also suck because they print it."

    To me, that sounds like sour grapes. For some reason the author isn't selling, so he or she has to bash the market and the readers. Both types of people (those who revere literature and snub genre, and those who snub literature and write "what people read") annoy me. We're all writers, we're all trying to get our message out there. If you want to insult the writing and reading masses (or the literary snob circle or whatever you consider beneath you), it almost always smacks of an "I'm better than them" tone. And if I'm one of "them," then it comes off as "I'm better than you." Can't we just support each other and respect people enough not to judge them by what they like to read?

    In short, let's all join hands and sing kumbayah!

  5. #25
    Joe Zeff
    Guest

    Re: Genre vs Literary Fiction

    Jeannie, I like good literature and love to read it. What I'm not interested in personally is books written to be literature. To me, that's not something you can do; you write to get published and your books sold and if your book survives the test of time and is still popular years later, it becomes literature. Dickens is not considered classic literature, but most of what he wrote was pot-boilers that people kept reading until they transcended their origin. Most of Heinlein's early books are considered classics of the genre, but he started writing (quite literally) simply to pay the mortgage, sold the first story he ever wrote and never looked back. I'm sure there are many other examples, but those are the only two I can think of right now.

  6. #26
    Greg Kosson
    Guest

    Re: Genre vs Literary Fiction

    Amber luv, please don't put quotes around phrases I didn't type and imply you're quoting me. I don't even agree with your statement that genre fiction "sucks" or that it's easy to write.

  7. #27
    Amber Scott
    Guest

    Re: Genre vs Literary Fiction

    My apologies; I was trying to paraphrase this quote from you: "Genre fiction could be written much better and still be genre fiction, but since readers don't hold it to a higher standard, there seems little reason for writers to bother and little reason for publishers to insist. It's the ability to lay out a gripping plot that sells the books.

    It's frustrating for many aspiring writers to pick up a bestseller and see (or at least believe) their writing is equal to or better than what's in the bestseller, yet they can't sell their own. The problem may lie in the fact that they haven't mastered the cheap plot tricks used in bestsellers and haven't quite got the refinements of literary fiction down either."

  8. #28
    Amber Scott
    Guest

    Re: Genre vs Literary Fiction

    Oh, and also the quote "It's almost as though writing classes don't teach us how to write badly enough to get published." by you seemed to imply that the stuff being published is "bad." My apologies again for mangling your words. I know how important they are to us.

    While we're on the subject, I didn't state that "genre fiction sucks and is easy to write." I stated that some people think that way, and that it irks me as much as those who look down on literature as "snobby and pretentious."

  9. #29
    Ashling White
    Guest

    Re: Genre vs Literary Fiction

    Mya,
    Lovely description of literary fiction. Here's a quote in that same vein from an agent interview:

    Literary fiction nourishes and provides all the essential vitamins. It sticks to the soul. Commercial fiction is dessert, empty calories, harmless unless overindulged.
    - ICM Agent Lisa Bankoff

    My own shelves contain 2/3 genre and 1/3 literary, but the literary novels are steadily gaining the older I get. I always thought I'd write mysteries one day, but as it turned out I'm lousy at that, probably because I struggle with plot creation. My strong suit is creating interesting and complex characters which led me into literary land, and much to my surprise, I really really like it here.

    Best,
    Ashling

  10. #30
    Prince Louis Richard de la Pau
    Guest

    Re: Genre vs Literary Fiction

    Following the above thread, I suspect that my book shelves are mainly filled with literary fiction with no more than 20% genre.

    I have always preferred books that are character driven, which is why I don't care for The Da Vinci Code, because the characters are pretty two-dimensional. For the same reason, I adore Umberto Eco, whose works are always filled with incredible characters.

    Louis Richard

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