Literary vs. Genre Fiction: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

I posted this back when I didn’t have much of a following, so many of you missed it, and I think it’s one you’ll enjoy.

Allison Maruska

novelistI’ve learned something since I started this writing adventure: there are two very distinct types of fiction, and readers and writers are divided into one of these groups, whether they know it or not. Maybe they’re not 100% camped out on one side, but they definitely lean one way or the other.

I kind of knew this before, but it really hit home since I joined a critique group. Before I get into that, let’s get a couple assumptions and definitions out of the way.

1. All books have characters.

2. The characters do stuff.

Duh, right? Here’s where the breakdown occurs.

Definition time:

Literary fiction is very character-centered. Some would say it’s “character driven”. It doesn’t usually fit into a named group (mystery, science fiction, etc. – those would be genres. I’ll get to those in a minute). My understanding of literary fiction is that we watch a character…

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