Today I welcome friend and co-author of our shared anthology of short stories, Sunny Frazier. She is multi-talented when it comes to all things writing. She knows whereof she speaks. Welcome Sunny:
Although I do astrology, I no longer ask people “What's your sign?” As an acquisitions editor for Oak Tree Press, I now ask authors, “What's your genre?”
For years, literary writers looked down on genre writers. The word conjured up cheap reads for the mildly illiterate. Also known as “popular fiction,” these are books average people want to read. Call it commercial fiction—books that sell and make money.
On the reverse, genre writers have tagged literary works “A whole lot of words about nothing.” Pretty words, insightful, meaningful, intellectual. But, we ask, where's the plot?
Don't get me wrong: genre writers can get a little literary. I love to let readers coast along with the plot I've woven before slipping in a sentence or paragraph to make the astute reader sit up and pay attention. I know my craft. Elizabeth George and P.D. James can certainly be called literary. Even Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, noir hacks in their time, are now respectable. With time comes veneration.
When I received mystery manuscripts from two professors on both sides of the
, I noted the terrific prose but wondered: Where are the bodies? Personally, I like a corpse to show up on the second page to get the ball rolling. Long intros and endless description went out with the Bronte sisters. Tough to reject these teachers, but that's what I did. USA
Both instructors not only listened but brought my novels to the classroom to teach genre fiction. In
and New Jersey , students are learning from my books. I was invited to speak at California , the largest junior college in the states. Reality meets the Ivory Tower. I left with several student submissions and rewrites from the teacher. Mt. San Antonio
I recommend authors define their intent before writing. Whether you write Steam Punk or Zombies, hold your head high and claim your genre.
What do you write? Are you writing cross genre? Or literary?