Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday's Musings - Genre Fiction vs. Literary Fiction

It’s time for another Monday’s Musings post, this week the topic is genre fiction vs. literary fiction. 

For my fellow bloggers’ postings, check out the links below…

There is a lot of discussion (and disagreement) about the definitions of genre and literary fiction, let alone which is “better.”  So, I guess the first place to start in a discussion of the two is to try to define them. 

Genre – Tends to be thought of as “escapist” fiction, with a lesser quality of writing compared to the literary category

Literary – Considered “higher level” and thought to examine human nature, higher quality of writing

Notice the quotes used in my definitions, they probably give away my thoughts on the subject so I guess they aren’t totally unbiased definitions.

In this day and age, I think the line between genre and literary fiction is blurring, if not disappearing completely.  When I think of the two categories, I tend to think of books that have been around for a while.  Say, the difference between To Kill a Mockingbird (literary) and The Deep Blue Good-by (genre), which is the first Travis McGee novel by John D. MacDonald. 

To Kill a Mockingbird is considered one of the great pieces of American Literature, a story that has touched millions across generations and still speaks to people today.   Whereas the Travis McGee novels are mysteries focused on a sort of bum who helps people recover things.  Not what a lot of people would consider great literature.  But, if you give them a chance (and I recommend you do), you realize there is more.  They are about a guy who seems to be totally self-serving and only helps people when he needs the money, but there’s more to Travis than meets the eye.  He has a sense of honor and helps those who need it.  What more can you want from a hero?  How is that not examining human nature?

I think the classifications of these two books are outdated.  Today, I think “literary” is a genre of fiction, just like mystery, science fiction and fantasy. 

What does the literary genre of today look like?  It’s hard to pinpoint exactly, in my opinion.  I tend to think of it as the category that things fall into if they don’t fall into any other category.  Is that a popular opinion?  Probably not.  People seem to get very bent out of shape when you tell them “literary” isn’t the end all, be all.  Or that books in other genres are just as good as “literary” titles.  I keep putting that in quotes, I can’t help it.  I tend to think it sounds kind of pretentious. 

When I think of literature, I think older.  I think of what I read in my AP English class in high school; Pride and Prejudice, The Sound and The Fury and Crime and Punishment.  It’s not that I don’t think people write books that are important anymore, it’s just that what’s written today hasn’t had time to become classic yet.  Maybe someday a book that came out last week will be considered a classic, literary novel.  The great American novel of the 21st century that will be studied in English classes a hundred years from now.   But, I still think it will be considered part of the “literary” genre of fiction.  Not a group of fiction above all others.

This just my opinion obviously.  But, what do you think?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday's Musings - Self Interview

I’m taking part in a new mini-blog hop starting today, along with Chris Allen-Riley and Tess Grant.  Please be sure to check out their blogs as well by clicking on their names. 

Each week we are going to choose a specific topic to write about; this week is sort of a mini self-interview.

What’s your favorite word?
Seriously.  I use it all the time, usually with a question mark at the end.  I had never actually noticed it until this summer when my brother came to visit and started making fun of me.  I mean seriously, what are big brothers for, right?

What’s your least favorite word?
Moist.  Hearing it makes my lip curl.

What sound do you love?
Waves crashing.  I could listen to that day and night and never get tired of it.

What sound do you hate?
People chewing.  I have an almost violent reaction to having to listen to other people chew, unless I’m eating something at the same time.

What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Well, since my profession is actually accounting, I would have to say being a professional writer.  J

What profession would you not like to do?
 Anything that deals with the public in an extended manor on a daily basis; i.e. working in retail or something like that.  I don’t have the patience, it’s just best for everyone involved.

What do you like best about writing?
Fleshing out one small idea that seemingly came from nowhere and seeing it through to the end.

What do you like least?
Time.  I’m so impatient to get a story finished, or to get to the next section, that the actual time it takes to write it frustrates me sometimes.

Do you have a day job aside from writing?
Yes, I’m an accountant by day.  Can’t get much farther being a writer than that.

What’s your favorite animal?
Penguins.  But I also really like giraffes, I think they are majestic in their own way.

Favorite color?
Purple – just about any shade.

Coffee or tea?
Tea – preferably Earl Grey or British Breakfast.

City or country?
City, I think.  Although I’ve never lived in a big city, I would like to at least try.  I like the idea of having so many options of things to do at any given time. 

Star Wars or Star Trek?
That’s a tough one.  Original Star Wars, but new Star Trek. 

Buffy, Angel or Firefly?

Pirate or ninja?
Pirate.  I don’t have anywhere near the stealth required for a ninja.  And pirates dress better.

If you were a book, which book would you be?
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  Because it has the best advice in the world… “Don’t Panic.”

Thanks for visiting today and be sure to check back next week for another topic.  And if you feel like sharing, choose a question from above and leave a comment!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Thursday's Children - 2013 Writing Goals

I know this might be a bit cliche, but in honor of the new year I'm putting my writing goals for 2013 in, well, in writing.  I haven't done this before, but I don't think I've ever been this serious about my writing before.  I've recently received some very positive feedback and encouragement which has helped me focus.  For the first time in a long time I feel like my goal might actually be attainable.

I know there are different thoughts on goals; make them achievable, make them in small increments, make them specific, make them vague.  I'm not sure what is best for me, so I'm just going to make my goals the ones I want most to achieve.  If not done in small increments, they are at least simple, in appearances.

Writing Goals for 2013:
1.  Finish first draft of The Elementals - Book 1
2.  Finish first draft of Juliet Falling
3.  Achieve my monthly goals for my writer's group (this is where the small increments come in)

While I know this is going to be a lot of work throughout the year, I think I can do it.  No, I know I can do it if I just stay focused and work hard.

So, here goes...