Tag Archives: fiction

Literary And Mainstream Novels: What’s The Difference?

From the Huffington Post:

The guidelines for literary and mainstream fiction often differ from those of popular fiction such as romance novels, fantasy novels, crimes novels, etc. Although the guidelines for submitting literary and mainstream novels are similar, the content of the work is very different, and it’s important to distinguish between the two.

If your novel doesn’t fall into the genre fiction categories, don’t automatically assume it’s literary fiction. Literary fiction tends to focus on complex issues and the beauty of the writing itself, and your novel may rely more on action, which is the tendency of mainstream fiction. So how do you know if your novel is literary or mainstream, and how best to move forward if your book doesn’t perfectly match the definition of either category?

Answers at the link.

Capote Classic ‘In Cold Blood’ Tainted by Long-Lost Files

From The Wall Street Journal, the opening paragraphs:

Truman Capote’s masterwork of murder, “In Cold Blood,” cemented two reputations when first published almost five decades ago: his own, as a literary innovator, and detective Alvin Dewey Jr.’s as the most famous Kansas lawman since Wyatt Earp.

But new evidence undermines Mr. Capote’s claim that his best seller was an “immaculately factual” recounting of the bloody slaughter of the Clutter family in their Kansas farmhouse. It also calls into question the image of Mr. Dewey as the brilliant, haunted hero.

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On Worry

From The Browser—FiveBook Interviews: The author, Steven Amsterdam, “tells us about books that have anxiety at their heart, ranging from obsessional love and chronic neurosis to conspiracy theory paranoia and existential angst.”

What. me worry?

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An Open Letter to Fiction Writers

From The Huffington Post, by Yael Goldstein— the opening paragraph:

Fellow fiction writers,

Let’s be frank: we’re not the healthiest-minded bunch. If we were we’d spend our days doing something more pleasant than writing fiction. But lately we seem to have taken a turn for the worse. We look out at the shifting landscape of publishing – e-books rising, big publishers quaking – and obsessively ask, both publicly and privately, Is the novel dead? Is it all Fifty Shades of Twilight from here on out? Are we going the way of the poets, soon to be read by only each other?


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More Ray Bradbury

From long-gone Holiday magazine, an uplifting essay about Disneyland and the possibilities of robots: The Machine-tooled Happyland, by Ray Bradbury—October 1965.

And from The Paris Review, an interview with Ray Bradbury on the art of fiction.

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Why fiction is good for you

From Boston.com, the opening remarks:

Is fiction good for us? We spend huge chunks of our lives immersed in novels, films, TV shows, and other forms of fiction. Some see this as a positive thing, arguing that made-up stories cultivate our mental and moral development. But others have argued that fiction is mentally and ethically corrosive. It’s an ancient question: Does fiction build the morality of individuals and societies, or does it break it down?

This controversy has been flaring up — sometimes literally, in the form of book burnings — ever since Plato tried to ban fiction from his ideal republic. In 1961, FCC chairman Newton Minow famously said that television was not working in “the public interest” because its “formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons” amounted to a “vast wasteland.” And what he said of TV programming has also been said, over the centuries, of novels, theater, comic books, and films: They are not in the public interest.

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‘Books: The Great Leader, by Jim Harrison’

Okay, I have to read this authorBooks: The Great Leader, by Jim Harrison—found at GuelphMercury.com. The hook?

He might cringe at the thought, but Harrison is both a moral and a spiritual writer who sees decency in living honestly and holiness in the pleasures of the flesh.

Continue reading

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Writing and Ruined Families

Chicago Tribune article titled, What if dad thinks he’s Dostoevsky, is really a book review of Fiction Ruined My Family, by Jeanne Darst. An excerpt:

Maintaining that arch, slangy tone — referring to those who suffer from seriously debilitating psychiatric maladies such as depression and alcoholism as being “nuts” — helped Darst survive. The wisecracking, ultrahip but ultimately tragic voice in “Fiction Ruined My Family” — part stand-up comedy, part “Lie Down in Darkness” — is fetching and fast and fun, and it’s only after you fully understand the trauma at the heart of her family, the neglect that bordered on child abuse, that the sadness kicks in. By then, Darst has moved on to another joke.

Family memoirs are a dime a dozen these days, but Darst’s is different because she organizes it around art and the flamboyant dreams of self-transformation that accompany it, the fortune and immortality that always seem to be just around the corner. We tend to give our creative artists license to be sullen, selfish jerks — if you doubt it, check the biographies of Ernest Hemingway or Pablo Picasso, or “Reading My Father: A Memoir” (2011) by Alexandra Styron, her solemn, anguished account of volcanic daily life with the novelist William Styron — because we believe their work is too important for them to be distracted by the petty strictures that rule the rest of us: honesty, decency, fidelity, temperance.

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