Thursday, July 22, 2021

The 4 Pillars Of Literary Fiction

 From Writers Write:

Literary Fiction is often touted as the gold standard for fiction. This is because, supposedly, it defies genre conventions and formulae. But if that’s true… how do you identify literary fiction? I mean, we know something belongs to the Horror or Romance genres because they contain certain genre-specific tropes. Is your story about an ordinary protagonist in an isolated, disempowering setting with a dreadful past? Do they face a monstrous force? Cool— that’s a Horror story! See how handy that is?

So, how do you know which stories are Literary? What are its defining features? What are the pillars of literary fiction? I’ve spent almost a decade in academia reading, analysing, and dissecting exemplars of the Literary movement. In workshops, I’ve practiced implementing the techniques favoured by literary writers in my own work. Over that period of study, I’ve developed a theory of how to define Literary fiction I find satisfying.

I realised the source of confusion is that people use the term Literary Fiction to refer to a few different things, and to various combinations of those things. Many use it as a catch-all term to mean ‘superior quality fiction’. But this is a pretty hazy, subjective application of the term. So, you know what? We are going to set that definition aside and dig a little deeper. (Read more.)

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