1. ParanormalWriter
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    ParanormalWriter Contributing Member

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    Genre Fiction

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ParanormalWriter, Aug 12, 2008.

    Reading another thread here brought this subject to my mind. Genre fiction: how many of us write it? How many prefer something more literary? While we're on the subject, does anybody here mess with nonfiction much? Just curious.
     
  2. Still Life
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    Still Life Active Member

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    I do prefer literary over genre fiction. There's only one real reason though: Genre fiction is difficult for me to write. ;/

    Closest I've done to nonfiction is "journalistic literature" that collects a series of personal interviews from different Cambodians who survived the Killing Fields of Cambodia in the 1970's, much in the same stylistic (yet personal) approach that Haruki Murakami took with the people who suffered the gas attack in the Tokyo subway in the '90s. I'm still in the process of interviewing, and finding willing participants. So far I've managed to convince 10 people.
     
  3. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I'm in the opposite camp. I write genre fiction (primarily fantasy, some others) only. I just can't understand the concept of most literature; to me it seems plotless and hard to relate to. I know it has plot, just not of the kind I myself can follow. Literature's just not my cup of tea. I'm not deep enough for it. "Literature" is too hard for ME to write.

    I don't mess with nonfic because I don't feel qualified enough to write anything nonfictional aside from journal entries. Most nonfic works seem to be either expert-type things on a particular subject, or memoirs, and I haven't the experience/expertise for the former, and am far too dull for the latter.
     
  4. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've always believed that just because it fits into a particular genre doesn't mean it can't be "literary." In my mind, it almost insults people who like magical stories to say that what they read isn't literature. Here's the definition of literature: "writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features, as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays."

    Nowhere does it say that it can't include magical stories, romantic, have its plot based in scientific ideas, or anything of the sort. In my opinion, its about the quality of the writing, and how it speaks to human values.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Sorry, but "fits into a genre" is not the same as genre fiction. Genre fistion is a category of fiction in which the publisher dictates elements that must and must not be contained in submissions, essentially prescribing a formula.

    I hope this clarifies enough so the discussion stays on track.
     
  6. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sorry.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No need. I only became aware of the term a few months ago. It''s far from obvious.
     
  8. TwinPanther13
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    Ok I disagree with this in a way. Salvatore write's about a group of people brought together to protect a friend while overcoming racial obsticals in one of his trilogies. Yet I do not consider it literature even though it meets the definition.

    Tolkien, on the other hand is literature. To me Salvatore is just entertainment. I feel it has to stand the test of time first. Tolkien has other novels out there but we all know The Hobbit" and the "Lord of the Rings". I would only consider these four novels to be of any literary consequence as the others did not stand the test of time.

    I believe if my grand children are telling Me about Drizzt Do'Urden and the Fellowship of Mithirl Hall then it has some literary merit. Till society has accepted the story as a testement to the power of friendship and the triumph of good over evil then it should not be considered such.

    Just my 2cents
     
  9. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    and this makes Genre different then Pulp... How?
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    pulp is not a publisher category. It's a more or less slang term for cheaply made novels/novellas, characterized by lurid, melodramatic plots. They are named from the inexpensive acid wash pulp paper stock many of them were printed on - most modern daily newspapers are printed on a higher quality paper.

    That pulp paper stock tended to yellow and disintegrate with age due to traces of sulfuric acid remaining in the pulp from the process.
     
  11. Ungood
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    I see, the difference is purely formality of name.

    Thank you.

    I enjoy genre fiction as a means to escape, it's "just a book" and something to enjoy.

    I suppose it depends on why I am reading something

    IF I am reading for fun, I want it to be mindless fun and Genre fiction fits the bill just fine. Normally it is shorter so it digests better, not to mention cheaper so I don't feel bad about how much I am spending.
     
  12. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    So, ungood, by your definition, nothing is literature until it is at least fifty years old? You're talking about classics, not literature as a whole. Besides, who can say what will survive and what won't?
     
  13. Ungood
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    Ok... Ummm... mistaken identity... Problem solved.
     
  14. TwinPanther13
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    I think she meant me
     
  15. Ungood
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    Oh.. well then.. that would explain my confusion perfectly.

    Please do carry on.
     
  16. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    *smacks forehead* This is what I get for reading too fast. But let's stay on topic for we get struck by lightning.
     
  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sorry, but that's not quite what it means... it's not really the same as the 'guidelines' that you seem to be describing, per the underlined part... 'genre' is really dictated by the reading public's favorite types of stories, which then translates to publishers' labels in re the types of novels they specialize in and/or want to publish...

    wikipedia has a good definition/explanation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genre_fiction
     
  18. Ungood
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    Thank you for this, that does explain things.

    I suppose I do enjoy genre fiction as well in this case, as well as pulp fiction.
     
  19. TwinPanther13
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    Hey that link is very beneficial. I guess i can accept that definition of literary. Would Tolkien fall into that though. his books seem more driven by plot and narrative not so much by dynamic characters.
     
  20. TWErvin2
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    I write genre fiction (novel length and short fiction). Mainly I prefer science fiction and fantasy, but do write some mystery and horror/suspense short fiction.

    I also write what would be termed non-fiction--articles on writing or related topics.

    Terry
     
  21. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Interesting, so it's not the content of a book that makes it genre fiction, it's the process through which it is published?

    Or is a book always called genre fiction when it's very formulaic and similar to other books of the genre?
     
  22. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Not exactly. The publisher's requirements determine what they will and will not accept, and the writer who wishes to sell through that market writes to fit into that mold.

    So it's formulaic, but the formula may vary slightly depending on the publisher you are targeting the work for.
     

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