That said, these kinds of reductive definitions are unfair to both genres. literary fabrication can absolutely be unrealistic, trope-y, and plot-heavy, and writing style fiction can surely include well-developed characters in real-world settings .
partially of the issue with these definitions is that literary fiction vs. genre fabrication describes a binary star. certain, every patch of fiction can be categorized in one of two ways, but there ’ s a wide variety show of fabrication out there, and very little of it falls neatly in a particular box. If our homo experiences are widely variegated, our fabrication should be, besides .
thus, let ’ s break down this binary star a piece farther. What are the elements of literary fiction vs. writing style fabrication, how can we better define these categories, and what elements can you apply in your own fiction writing ?
Along the way, we ’ ll take a look at some literary fabrication examples, the different types of fabrication genres, and some writing tips for each group. But first, let ’ s dissect the differences between literary fiction vs. writing style fabrication. ( They ’ rhenium not adenine different as you might think ! )
Literary Fiction vs. Genre Fiction
Before we describe these two categories, it ’ sulfur crucial to note their origins. The differentiation between literary fiction vs. music genre fiction is holocene : book publishers had no want to make these categories until the twentieth century, when music genre labels became a market tool for mass publication .
For exercise, many consider Edgar Allan Poe to be the first mod mystery writer, as his 1841 narrative “ The Murders in the Rue Morgue ” was one of the first detective stories. But when he published this fib, it was precisely that—a history. Terms like “ mystery, ” “ thriller, ” or “ detective ” wouldn ’ t start describing literature until the 1900s, peculiarly when these music genre tag helped distinguish and grocery store raw works .
however, literary fabrication and genre fiction aid describe today ’ randomness literary landscape. then, what do they mean ?
Literary Fiction Definition
In general, literary fiction describes work that aims to resemble real number life sentence. ( Of course, writing style fiction can do this besides, but we ’ ll bring there in a here and now. )
literary fabrication aims to resemble real number life .
In club to transcribe very life, lit fic authors rely on the practice of realistic characters, real-life settings, and complex themes, equally well as the function of literary devices and experimental writing techniques .
nowadays, if you ask 100 different writers about what makes literary fiction “ literary, ” you could well get 100 different answers. You might hear that, opposed to genre fabrication, unhorse fic is :
- Character-driven (instead of plot driven).
- Complex and thematic.
- Based on real-life situations.
- Focused on life lessons and deeper meanings.
These distinctions are all well and good—except, genre fiction can be those things, besides. Additionally, some examples of lighted fic involve scenarios that would never happen in veridical life. For example, time travel and visions of the future occur in Kurt Vonnegut ’ s Slaughterhouse-Five, but the novel is distinctly literary in its focus on war .
possibly the best way to think about literary fabrication is that it ’ randomness uncategorizable. Unlike genre fabrication, which can be broken down even further into different types of fabrication genres, lit fic doesn ’ t fall neatly into any of the genre boxes. Some literary fabrication examples include To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, and A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens .
Unlike writing style fabrication, literary fabrication can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate be subcategorized ; it doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate break down far into genres .
Genre fiction, by contrast, provides us with neat categories that we can assign to different literary works. Let ’ s take a closer look at some of those categories .
Genre Fiction Definition
The primary sport of music genre fiction is that it follows certain formulas and tropes. There are rules in writing style fiction that don ’ t apply to literary fiction : tropes, structures, and archetypes that make for successful genre influence .
There are rules in genre fiction that don ’ triiodothyronine use to literary fabrication : tropes, structures, and archetypes that make for successful music genre work .
thus, genre fabrication is any patch of literature that follows a certain formula to advance the story. It ’ s important for music genre writers to immerse themselves in the genre they ’ re write, because tied if they don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate want to follow a accurate convention, they need to know how to break the rules. We ’ ll take a expression at some of those conventions when we explore the types of fabrication genres .
If literary fabrication started borrowing from music genre tropes, it would then become genre fabrication. however, both categories can share alike themes and ideas, without being in the lapp camp .
Take, for exemplar, the novel Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Lolita falls firm in the class of illuminated fic, even though the novel centers around love, crave, and relationships .
If Lolita is about love, then why is it not considered a romance novel, which falls under writing style fabrication ? Because Lolita doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate use any of the romance writing style ’ second tropes. For starters, the novel is about a professor ( Humbert Humbert ) who falls in love with the adolescent Dolores, makes Dolores his step-daughter, and then molests her. thankfully, you don ’ metric ton see that much in romance novels .
More to the point, Lolita doesn ’ thyroxine consumption any of the romance writing style ’ randomness conventions. There ’ second no exciting first encounter—no meet cute, no chance interaction, no beloved at inaugural spy ( though there is lust at first sight ) .
Neither does anything complicate the relationship between Humbert and Dolores—there ’ s no relationship to be had. The novel charts the power asymmetry between a center aged homo and a daughter who ’ second barely old adequate to understand consent, much less previous enough to enforce it. Romance writing style conventions—like love triangles or meet at the wrong time—simply preceptor ’ metric ton lend oneself. Yes, many plat points do make it harder for Humbert to pursue Dolores, but those plot points aren ’ metric ton conventions of the chat up writing style .
Literary Fiction vs. Genre Fiction: A Summary
To summarize, each class abides by the follow definitions :
Literary Fiction : fabrication that can not be categorized by any specific genre conventions, and which seeks to describe real-life reactions to building complex events using well-developed characters, themes, literary devices, and experimentations in prose .
Genre Fiction : fiction that follows specific genre conventions, using tropes, structures, diagram points, and archetypes to tell a report .
additionally, literary fiction may borrow from sealed music genre tropes, but never enough to fall into a specific music genre camp. Genre fabrication can besides have complex characters, themes, and literary devices, and it can surely reproduce very life sentence situations, a hanker as it besides follows music genre conventions .
The differences between literary fiction vs. writing style fabrication have been mapped out below .
Literary Fiction vs. Genre Fiction Venn Diagram
More About Literary Fiction
Without the use of genre conventions, lit fic writers often struggle to tell a complete, compel narrative. so, how do they do it ?
Let ’ s take a count at some contemporary literary fiction books. We ’ ll concisely explore each exemplar, taking a spirit at its themes and what makes the work “ literary ” .
Literary Fiction Books
All of the literary fiction examples below were published in the twenty-first hundred, to reflect the character of ferment that contemporaneous novelists write .
1. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Pachinko follows three generations of a korean family that moves to Japan, during and after Japan ’ second occupation of Korea. The fresh examines this syndicate ’ s culture shock, their experiences with oppression and poverty, the enduring bequest of occupation .
The congress of racial equality theme of Pachinko is family : the value of syndicate, the struggle to protect it, and the length one will go to make their family survive. These struggles are magnified in their juxtaposition to colonization, the other core theme of this novel. How did the Japanese occupation permanently affect the lives of Koreans ?
What Makes This “Literary”?
Pachinko attempts to tell realistic stories, based on the know experiences of many korean families that endured Japan ’ mho occupation. additionally, the novel doesn ’ thymine follow a particular convention or set of plot points. Pachinko is organized in three parts, with each partially focusing on the future generation of the same family, deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as their reaction to a unlike ball-shaped event .
2. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
Kafka on the Shore follows two disjoined, so far metaphysically intertwine narratives. One history is about Kafka, a 15-year old boy who runs away from home plate after ( unwittingly ) murdering his father. In search of his lost mother and sister, Kafka ends up living in a library, where he meets the healthy Oshima and begins his journey of heal .
The other narrative follows Nakata, an old man who became intellectually disabled in his youth following a mysterious accident. Nakata lost his ability to read and think abstractly, but he gained an ability to talk to cats. Nakata rescues a cat-o’-nine-tails, and in doing sol, begins his own path, which involves hitchhiking with a random truck driver and assassinating a vomit killer whale.
Read more: 17 of the best feel-good books
On a metaphysical kingdom, Nakata ’ south actions are substantive for Kafka to complete his own journey of religious bring around. Though they never meet in person, their fates intertwine through spiritual means .
A recurring theme in Kafka on the Shore is the communicative power of music, which accompanies both Kafka and Nakata on their journeys. additionally, questions of autonomy, dreams versus world, Shintoism, and the power of destiny interpenetrate the novel .
What Makes This “Literary”?
Murakami borrows from many unlike genres, including charming platonism, absurdism, and fantasy. Yet the novel never leans besides far into one genre. By combining these elements with his own stigmatize of wit, ordinariness, pop culture, spiritualism, and sex, Murakami creates an coordinated narrative about two equally alone protagonists. While Kafka on the Shore ’ s plot points are baffling and cryptic, it is the protagonists ’ apparitional journey which the novel focuses on .
3. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
half of a Yellow Sun follows the lives of five individuals before, during, and after the nigerian Civil War. The ephemeral state of matter of Biafra forces each character to make impossible decisions. A village male child is forcibly conscripted in the army ; a university professor follows a dark path of alcoholism ; the daughter of a war profiteer becomes the runner of a refugee camp, and her counterpart sister adopts her conserve ’ south child, who was born out of marriage. ultimately, a british writer becomes obsessed with telling Biafra ’ s story, only to realize it international relations and security network ’ t his floor to tell .
War, and everything about war, colors this novel ’ mho thematic landscape. The fresh dwells on the relationship between ability and the people, particularly since all of Biafra ’ s supporters—including its brawny supporters—are squashed under occupation. War besides makes the novel ’ sulfur characters contend with ideas of Socialism, Tribalism, Nationalism, Pan-Africanism, and Capitalism, among others. other themes of this novel include family, office & corruption, and survival .
What Makes This “Literary”?
Although Half of a Yellow Sun centers around war, it ’ s not a “ war story ”. The fresh is wholly unconcerned with war ’ south music genre conventions, dwelling short on things like battle strategies or build suspense. Rather, the novel focuses on the human affect of war. The nigerian Civil War displaces each main quality, forcing them to confront frightful truths and make heart-wrenching decisions as a consequence. half of a yellow Sun concerns itself with the consequences of war and political discord, specially given the ideal nature of the Biafran nation .
More About Genre Fiction
In many ways, genre fiction is no easier to summarize than literary fiction. Each genre has its own rules, tropes, character types, plot structures, and goals .
Mystery novels, for exemplar, should present an uncrackable whodunnit that builds suspense and scheme, whereas Romance novels should create tension between two characters who are meant for each early, but keep encountering setbacks in their relationship. Since each novel has different goals, they take drastically different paths to achieve those goals .
Below, we ’ ve summarized the rules, tropes, and goals for 8 popular fabrication genres. Links and far readings are provided for writers who want to dive deep into a specific type of music genre fabrication .
Types of Fiction Genres
Science Fiction, or Sci-Fi, explores fabricated societies that are shaped by newly and different technologies. Aliens might visit Earth, wars might take identify across galaxies, humans might have bionic arms, or scientists might discover human immortality. The finish of most Sci-Fi is to explore man ’ s kinship to engineering, a well as engineering ’ randomness relationship to club, world power, and reality .
many of the technological innovations in Sci-Fi can double as themes. For model, the gene-editing technology in Margaret Atwood ’ s Oryx & Crake represents man ’ s hubris in trying to command nature, the resultant role of which is a dystopian society that hastens its own apocalypse .
big Science Fiction writers include Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clarke, H. G. Wells, Margaret Atwood, Ted Chiang, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Octavia E. Butler. here ’ s a list of common tropes in Science Fiction .
Thriller novels attempt to tell engaging, cliff-hanging stories, much based on a complex supporter undergoing a Hero ’ s Journey. A spy might chase down an international assassin, a boy might fake his own death, or a lawyer might have to prove she ’ second been framed for murder. In thriller novels, the supporter faces a travel that ’ randomness farseeing, dark, and arduous .
Thrillers much blend into other types of fabrication genres. It ’ south common for a thriller to besides be categorized as mystery, Sci-Fi, or repugnance, and even some woo thrillers exist. While the best thrillers have complicated protagonists, authors of thriller novels prioritize making each plot point juicy, compelling, and cliff-hanging .
Prominent thriller novelists include John Grisham, Stieg Larsson, Gillian Flynn, Dean Koontz, Megan Abbott, and Lisa Under. This article explains the key elements of thrillers .
The mystery genre typically revolves around murder. ( If not murder, then some other high-profile and complicated crime. ) normally told from the perspective of a detective or medical examiner, mystery novels present a host of clues, suspects, and possibilities—including bolshevik herrings and misleading information .
Because mystery revolves around crime, many novels delve deep into their characters ’ psyches. A mystery novel might string you along with clues and plot points, but it ’ s the complicate characters and their nameless desires that make a mystery juicy .
big mystery novelists include Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Walter Mosley, Patricia Highsmith, Anthony Horowitz, and Louise Penny. here are some considerations for writing mystery novels, and here are 5 mistakes to avoid when writing mystery .
Ah, fifty ’ affair. Romance novels follow the complicate relationships of lovers who, despite everything, are meant to be in concert. As they explore their relationship, each fan must embark on their own travel of growth and self-discovery .
The relationships in romance novels are never simple, but always satisfying. Lovers often meet under unique circumstances, they may be forbidden from loving each other, and they always mess things up a few times before they get it right. Alongside thriller, chat up is frequently the bestselling genre, though it has its humble roots in the Gothic fabrication of the nineteenth century .
big woo novelists include Carolyn Brown, Nicholas Sparks, Catherine Bybee, Alyssa Cole, Beverly Jenkins, and Julia Quinn. here ’ s a list of common tropes in the romance genre .
Fantasy novels require tons of worldbuilding and imagination. Wizards might go to struggle, a man might chase after a unicorn, men and Gods might go to war with each other, or a champion might go on a mystic request. What is impossible in real liveliness is everyday in fantasy .
many works of fantasy adopt from mythology, folklore, and urban caption. Like Sci-Fi, many of the charming elements in fantasy novels can double as symbols or themes. The telephone line between Sci-Fi and illusion is often unclear : for example, an extraterrestrial being invasion is categorized as Sci-Fi, but the journey to defeat those aliens can easily resemble a fantasy fresh .
outstanding fantasy novelists include J. R. R. Tolkien, George R. R. Martin, Andre Norton, Rick Riordan, C. S. Lewis, Zen Cho, and Erin Morgenstern. here are some tropes in the fantasy writing style, a well as our exploration of urban fantasy .
charming Realism blends the fantastic with the everyday. There won ’ thymine be grandwizards, surrogate universes, or potions with unicorn tears, but there might be a man whose principal is tied to his body, or a womanhood who cries tears of fabric .
In other words, fantasy slips into everyday life, but the characters don ’ t have magic at their disposal—they react as only mortals know how to react to magic. Because it is a relatively young writing style, and because it frequently focuses on characters rather of plot points, charming reality is often seen as a more “ literary ” genre of genre fabrication. charming platonism has its roots in the storytelling of Central and South american novelists .
big authors of charming realism include Isabel Allende, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Carmen Maria Machado, Haruki Murakami, Samanta Schweblin, Jorge Louis Borges, and Salman Rushdie. Learn more about charming naturalism here .
horror writers are masters of invoking fear in the subscriber. Through a combination of tone, atmosphere, plotting, the introduction of equivocal ( and unambiguous ) threats, and the writer ’ s own resource, repugnance novels push their characters to the brink of survival .
Most horror novels involve supernatural elements, including monsters, ghosts, god-like figures, satanic rituals, or Sci-Fi creatures. sometimes the protagonists are armed and cook, but normally, the protagonists are trapped and trying to escape some unfathomable danger .
Prominents horror writers include Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, Clive Barker, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, and Ray Bradbury. here are some common tropes for repugnance writers .
“ You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be excessively difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children. ” —Madeleine L ’ Engle
Children ’ s fabrication is technically its own class of fiction, but the genre does have its own tropes and conventions. With many similarities to the legend, children ’ randomness fiction teaches crucial animation lessons through the journeys of memorable characters, who are often the lapp age as the fresh ’ mho intended reviewer .
Writing for children is much harder than normally believed. Whether you ’ re writing a picture book or a YA fresh, you have to balance your book ’ mho core themes and ideas with the reading level of your audience—without “ talking down to ” the reviewer.
outstanding children ’ randomness writers include A. A. Milne, Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss, Madeleine L ’ Engle, Diana Wynne Jones, Anne Fine, and Peggy Parish. here are 10 tips for video script writers, and here is advice for YA novelists .
Explore Literary Fiction vs. Genre Fiction at Writers.com
With so many works being published in both literary fiction and genre fabrication, it helps to have people read your make before you submit it somewhere. That ’ s what Writers.com is hera for. From our upcoming fiction courses to our Facebook group, we help writers of all stripes master the conventions of their genre .