Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The "Literary" Genre

For a long time I have wondered about classic literature. Why do those authors like Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Sir Walter Scott, and many others seem to get away with things that are no-gos in our time? Like telling, for instance. And the author's voice slipping in.
The beginning of Pride and Prejudice is all telling and author-voice for the first paragraph. But everyone seems to love it. Have our reading preferences changed so drastically that what was good writing back then is shabby craftsmanship now?
I was rather confused myself so I asked my critique group about it. Diana Sharples , the group leader, explained it rather well.
She said that the classic novels are in the "literary" genre where such things are acceptable. The only problem is that modern readers are not so much into the "literary" thing. They want faster-paced, more exciting books. If you are trying to write in the "literary" genre you have to have plenty of talent, be a fair hand at keeping an interesting and worthwhile "author voice", and be able to sell it. If you truly do want to be a "literary" writer, than you'll have to accept the fact that your public of adoring fans will be much smaller than if you write for the main group of readers.
I was glad to get that question answered--I don't think I could have figured it out for myself. :P Also, while on the subject of publishing and writing and things of that nature, Taylor Lynn did a really great post on the submission process of publishing, as well as writing queries, etc.
So hop on over and read it--she has some great ideas! :) -Rachel


Maria said...

I think it really depends on your general writing ability and style. Jane Austen's really good at it and we all love it. Jane Asuten does have a large group of adoring fans, believe me. And about your last post, don't Don't DON'T stop writing Puddleby Lane. The excerpt you posted was lovely and I hope to read more of it. (hint, hint)

-Maria Elisabeth

Anonymous said...

Very interesting! Your group leader definitely did explain it well. I think, though, my writing is more geared towards modern than literary genre. I don't mind, however, because I think I'd stink at writing "literary" genre! Not sure. ;)

Thanks for including a link to my post! I hope it helps other writers. :) By the way, in case you don't check back to the comments on my post, I wanted to say that I don't think it would hurt to send "A Mother to the Seasonings" to Chronicle Books. The worst they could do is turn it down, right? :)

Good luck!