Literary Fiction vs. Genre Fiction


A literary fiction genre, with a retrospective narrative voice is what I’d determined the novel I’m writing to be, and still do. Except I’ve recently had some reservations on a definitive genre and probably will just write it and let my

readers determine what it should be considered once it’s published. This is the best thing for me to do, I’m sure, after reading way too many articles on “genre” and coming to the conclusion to not spend any more time trying to decide where my novel will stand in this arena.

As far as the voice, that’s pretty clear-cut and I’m certain what I’m writing is retrospective narrative. No question. It’s the genre thing I keep getting caught up in and really need to let go. In every seminar, workshop, book discussion group I’ve ever attended,Inevitably, the question of literary fiction vs. genre fiction is asked. Sometimes it comes down to literary fiction being deferred to mainstream fiction for genre. Then, if someone in the group opposes this view and speaks up to say that literary fiction is not the same as mainstream fiction, there is usually no general consensus drawn through this discussion. Some say literary fiction is a stand-alone genre, and some say it shouldn’t be considered a genre at all.  Huh?

I won’t take more time trying to list all of the back-and-forth that abounds when this question comes up, but I’m sure you’ve heard all of it in the seminars, workshops, book discussion groups you’ve attended as well. Following are interesting articles I’ve found on each of these subjects: Retrospective Narrative Voice and Literary Fiction vs. Genre Fiction. If you’ve found a writing that gives a definite answer to this age-old question, please, please send it to me so I can finally put this one to rest in my mind.  It would be so very much appreciated.

The first link is to an article on  Literary Fiction vs. Genre Fiction and gives, what I thought to be, a really good answer. The next article, on Retrospective Narrative Voice I found to be very interesting as well, and hope you’ll enjoy reading these.

3 comments on “Literary Fiction vs. Genre Fiction

  1. etlynch says:

    An interesting post and subject for discussion. As Doreen commented, today’s publishing world almost demands identifying a genre, I think literary fiction is still a viable category. Thanks for the post.

  2. When you put your book out, you will probably find that you need to classify it in order to optimise your SEO visibility. I don’t know how many people search for “literary fiction” but I suspect that in real life you might get further using keywords like “romance” or “thriller”.

    • djfontana says:

      Yes, I think you’re right Doreen. For now, though, I just need to put this aside and concentrate on getting my novel completed, Excellent point on reasoning for use/need of genre designations. I hadn’t thought of that at all. Thanks so very much Doreen.

Comments are closed.