I WAS ACCUSED OF BEING LITERARY – AND I REBELLED
I am not a literary writer – I believe in good writing regardless of the genre.
I have come to call what I write ‘commercial mainstream fiction.’ With literary quality.
The difference between literary fiction and what I call literary quality is that I am focused on plot and character, not language. The language is a given, but I control very tightly to make sure my tiny excursions into literary quality are 1) consistent with the character who is speaking or thinking them, and 2) incredibly short, and 3) not allowed to stop the flow of the story.
I have no narrator – either as an avatar of me or as another character, so I don’t have a place for a voice distinct from my characters where I might write just for the hell of it.
The fiction I’ve seen that is classified as literary has long paragraphs of flowery language rhapsodizing about the quality of the blue of the sky, and it drives me crazy to read.
My touchstone: skimming
Any time you are reading my stuff, and you find you are skimming because I’m taking flights of fancy, let me know. Out it goes. Story is primary.
It takes long enough to get all the points in I want to write: if I add too much beautiful description, the reader will abandon me.
Does that make more sense? Someone today gave me another word to describe the kind of book I’m trying to write – she called books like The Thorn Birds ‘epic’ – I liked that description. I want to write epic.
Epic contemporary mainstream commercial fiction.
None of this is saying anything in literary fiction is ‘wrong’ – it’s just not me. Some people love literary fiction. But it’s too rich for my blood.
*Shorties are me NOT going on and on with an idea for a post. Get in, keep it brief, get out.
Expand in the comments – it if catches someone’s eye.