Growing a Novel – Book Thoughts

12 thoughts on “Growing a Novel – Book Thoughts”

  1. I think that’s the problem with even having a category called “literary fiction”. It’s so subjective it’s almost impossible to define. I was going to recommend a couple of contemporary books I’ve read over the past year or so, but I think they can be put in other categories, too. I’m pretty sure The Great Gatsby would be considered lit fic, but it’s so old I guess it might not be…I don’t know.

    Now, that’s interesting to consider; does the AGE of the book help delineate the literary vs. genre thing? When did commercial fiction become commercial? Is Dracula literary fiction or genre horror? Great stuff to think about Sher; thanks for that info. And do give me the names of those books; would love to see ’em. I really want to make this distinction if I can. And maybe Stein’s Stein on Writing would help, since he’s a pompous, pretentious literary fic-snob.

    1. Ooo. I’m teaching The Great Gatsby this semester. It is good to remember that Gatsby was dismissed by critics at the time as fluff. The main thing age will tell you about a book is if it has stood the test of time. We still read Gatsby.

      Go this list of bestsellers
      and see how many are still in bookstores.

      Interesting! Thanks for the link!

      Some books are clearly genre and other literary (in the college literature sense of the term) but tons of books are in-between. Immediately coming to mind is Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which I loved. Fantasy and literary. I think of literary as being a certain style or care maybe? To be honest, publisher packaging has a lot to do with it.

      I think that’s the first time I’ve heard that; no one’s ever said marketing determines whether it’s literary or commercial. Hm.

      I’ve recently decided to give in to my love for fantasy & fairy tale. And if certain people won’t take that as real writing–their loss.

      I’m not going to become a literary writer — not that I can see, anyway — but being able to write it if I want is driving me bonkers. Gotta know! GOTTA KNOW! 🙂

  2. I don’t know what you call it Darc, I read all kinds of stuff. If it is good, I look at the author and will try whatever else they have written. My favorite author’s would include you, Ben, Sara, Bryce, Stephen King, Laurell K. Hamilton, Dean Koontz, Michael Creichton, Raymond Khoury, just to name a few. That’s right, you guys are at the top of my list. I’m not sure what drives you to make you so infatuated with trying to find this out. When you close your eyes and picture them talking about the best selling __________ author, DarcKnyt, what do you hear filled in the blank?

    Oh, it’s not necessarily anything “driving” me to find out something; it’s just a matter of wanting to know firsthand what the distinctions are between commercial (or “genre” — or to this clown, “transient”) fiction and literary fiction. One description is, the plot only unfolds internally to the character(s). I want to know what that looks like. And I want to write this stuff because it will only add to the depth of my ability to write what I want to publish, just as reading outside my chosen genre will deepen my ability. It’s just one of those essential skills to being a well-rounded and publishable writer. OH, and thanks for the flattery. I can always use another ego-boost. 😉

    1. And here I go to you to ask questions and learn how to be well rounded…. I can respect the desire to learn and to strive to be better. Just know that we all already think you are great.

      Well, thanks for that, but I bet it’s not ALL of you. 😉

  3. A contemporary guy whose books are generally considered literary fiction is Michael Chabon. I’d be interested to read your take on him, especially because he loves transient *cough* fiction — comic books, detective fiction, etc. Start with either the Kavalier & Clay book (about early “Golden Age of superheroes” comic books), or the alternate-future/reality Yiddish Policemen’s Union. Don’t even have to read more than, say, 50 pages if you don’t want.

    Thanks, JES! I’ll look at my local library for this name! I appreciate it!

    I can think of a good number of literary types (especially ones from Europe) who would possibly drive you nuts. I don’t want to drive you nuts, though. Heh.

    Well, I’m open to hearing about them and if they drive me nuts — hey, I can always stop reading it, right? Heh. (Thanks for not trying to drive me nuts though; kids are doing just fine with that. 🙂 )

  4. start reading

    anything by Anthony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle, Depak Chopra, and mandatory – the Little Prince.

    Okay, The Little Prince I can see, but … Anthony Robbins and Wayne Dyer? 🙄 Um … yeah, I’d need help understanding that. I realize those guys are all fiction writers and making a mint, but it’s not really SUPPOSED to be fiction.

  5. All I can say is that I heard of a book on writing called “Bird by bird” by Anne Lammott, if I recall correctly, and it sounds like a good one.

    I’ll check it out! … If I can find it, that is. Thanks, Spark!

  6. You are too cute for words. I read Vanessa when I wake up and you before bed. I think you two should collaborate on a book entiled “Letters to a Married Man.” I’m now designing books in my head, it’s time for sleep.

    We’ve tried collaborating before; it just never seemed to get off the ground. We may try again someday. Sleep well! Nighty-night! 🙂

  7. Came across some info the day I read this post, been holding it since: I don’t know if you knew of the so-called “Book Blogger Appreciation Week” — this year is the first I heard of it. But short version, go here:

    …and do a search on “Best Literary Fiction Blog.” I’m unfamiliar with all the nominees, but browsing them might give you a better handle on what makes lit fic whatever it is.

    Sah-WEET! Thanks, JES! I’ll do just that! I appreciate the link and info!

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