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What is literary fiction?

(8 Posts)
Periscopepress Thu 16-Mar-17 23:01:19

People often ask me what genre of book I'm writing, but I don't know. I am just writing what I want to write about. Is women's fiction a genre? What is literary fiction? How do I tell if it is "literary?" It not being chick lit?

TizzyDongue Thu 16-Mar-17 23:21:35

It's 'serious fiction'. So must be about something serious topic.

'Chick lit', imo, is any book that isn't Serious written by a woman.

Personally I think it's used as a put down by some. Easy read or light fiction would be better. It's quite amazing to discover there's quite a lot of men who won't read a book written by a woman!!

schmalex Wed 22-Mar-17 14:51:40

I think literary fiction is anything non-genre, so it doesn't fit into existing conventions.

Ontopofthesunset Wed 22-Mar-17 14:57:20

In my own definition, it's well-written fiction which is not just about plot. So, for example, The Girl on the Train is not literary fiction because it is badly written and is just about a (frankly ridiculous) page turning plot. On Chesil Beach is literary fiction (though not in my view very good either) because the actual plot is no more important than the writing and the character development.

But that's just what I think it is.

GetAHaircutCarl Thu 23-Mar-17 07:59:27

Women's Contemporary Fiction is an umbrella term used by agents and publishers to describe fiction aimed at (predominantly) women.

It's not chick lit, though.

So think Marian Keyes, Liane Moriarty, Jodi Picoult, Anita Shreve.

There is a large market for this genre and agents and publishers are always on the look out for the next big thing in this category.

Literary fiction is considered the serious end of the market. It is not aimed at women, though women make up the largest part of its readership. There is not a big market for this genre (except for the Big Hitters - think Martin Amis, Zadie Smith et al).

In truth, a description of WCF is much more appealing to agents/publishers than Lit Fic.

squoosh Thu 23-Mar-17 13:31:28

a)Serious
b)Wins awards
c)Sells 247 copies

In the case of John Banville there's a d) too much of a fondness for purple prose

eyespydreams Thu 23-Mar-17 17:36:39

Squoosh has it. Also e) people sat in a marketing meeting and said 'well none of the supermarkets will take it (ref:247 copies) so ye may gussy it up in a naice jacket with posh letters and hope that Waterstones and daunts like it' grin

eyespydreams Thu 23-Mar-17 17:39:00

'upmarket women's fiction' is another good one.

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