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backslashbaby
01-06-2012, 09:50 AM
You know how the crits or reviews you usually get for your work are technical, or about the actual words and things? Well, where would one go to get thoughts on whether you are doing the genre as it should be, on whether the work is literary or not, maybe -- all those sorts of questions?

I would think you could post in SYW, but I really am asking for me, so I'll tell you why that won't work. I'd like someone to read maybe a couple of published stories and give opinions. The work is finished and owned by somebody else who probably wouldn't want it publicly workshopped, you know?

Would this be a type of beta?

Any help is appreciated. I'm mainly trying to figure out what others would call my work. I call it magical realism, but I'd like someone more experienced in analysis to make sure that sounds correct. I don't know if my work would be considered literary, either, and that's probably something an author should know :)

Should I just ask a mod to put this in Interstices? I could discuss specific aspects of the work without actually posting it, and that may help.

Puma
01-06-2012, 06:29 PM
Sometimes in the genre forums there are discussions of particular authors work and how they compare to the current norms for the genre. I got the impression from your post that the pieces you're curious about are published - so why can't you post a question in genre - anyone else read X and Y by so and so. What do you think? There's a decent chance you'll get some response. Puma

backslashbaby
01-06-2012, 06:34 PM
Chances are, folks haven't read them, but thank you!

I'm getting some response behind the scenes here from this post, and that certainly works for me :)

Anyone who is interested in MR who'd like to give their opinion is very welcome to contact me. Or post here. I write shorts (so far), so it's not hard to describe the sorts of things I include.

jjdebenedictis
01-06-2012, 10:55 PM
Are you trying to find the right cubby-hole for a novel you'd like to see published? If so, agents and editors generally only want to know where in the bookstore that novel would be shelved. That might help you narrow things down.

Literary work tends to have high standards for the beauty and subtlety of the prose, and the journey that the protagonist takes is more likely to be an internal one than an external one.

That said, the really important benchmark is whether readers of literary fiction would like your book also. If so, go ahead and call your novel literary fiction.

If not, the presence of magic probably implies fantasy, but it could also just be general fiction, if your book doesn't really fit with the other fantasy books out there. Again, the important benchmark is whether people who like fantasy would like your book too.

backslashbaby
01-07-2012, 07:15 AM
Are you trying to find the right cubby-hole for a novel you'd like to see published? If so, agents and editors generally only want to know where in the bookstore that novel would be shelved. That might help you narrow things down.

Right now my novel WIP is going to take a long time to finish, but I'm continuing subbing shorts. I'm working on a collection of shorts and trying to write to that collection, if that makes sense. Subbing shorts means knowing my genre well, too, so that's where this comes up now.

Literary work tends to have high standards for the beauty and subtlety of the prose, and the journey that the protagonist takes is more likely to be an internal one than an external one.

That said, the really important benchmark is whether readers of literary fiction would like your book also. If so, go ahead and call your novel literary fiction.

The journeys do tend to be internal, yes. I don't know how I do on the beauty of the prose part, because that just sounds impossible to judge myself :) Crits have been favorable (by enough people) but I don't know how people would characterize my prose.


If not, the presence of magic probably implies fantasy, but it could also just be general fiction, if your book doesn't really fit with the other fantasy books out there. Again, the important benchmark is whether people who like fantasy would like your book too.

This is the big thing. I don't write fantasy that would please most fantasy readers, I don't think. My work would be frustratingly vague, might not include enough magic, doesn't explain the magic, and other factors like that. It really is a product of reading magical realism, primarily. Or literary works with some surreal elements.

I don't mind calling it fantasy at all, except that it isn't done right for normal fantasy, I don't think. Readers would be disappointed.

I don't think it's exactly right for lovers of the really complex magical realism authors, either, but it seems more in that ballpark.

jjdebenedictis
01-07-2012, 07:48 AM
It sounds like it would be safer to call it literary fiction, especially if you get your shorts into literary markets.

There is such a thing as "literary fantasy", but I'm not sure how well it took hold in the marketplace. I certainly have seen agents commenting online that they love it, but it doesn't seem like I've see much of it on the bookstores in the SFF section.

I think the safest thing for you might be to target agents/editors who want literary fiction and to describe your work as magical realism. One nice thing about literary fiction is that it's very flexible; there are a lot of science fiction and fantasy books that have been marketed as literary. (The Handmaid's Tale, The Road...)

Karen Junker
01-07-2012, 07:53 AM
Yeah, I was just going to suggest you try for Pynchon's agent. :)

backslashbaby
01-07-2012, 08:07 AM
Yeah, I was just going to suggest you try for Pynchon's agent. :)

:D


It sounds like it would be

safer to call it literary fiction, especially if you get your shorts into literary markets.

There is such a thing as "literary fantasy", but I'm not sure how well it took hold in the marketplace. I certainly have seen agents commenting online that they love it, but it doesn't seem like I've see much of it on the bookstores in the SFF section.

I think the safest thing for you might be to target agents/editors who want literary fiction and to describe your work as magical realism. One nice thing about literary fiction is that it's very flexible; there are a lot of science fiction and fantasy books that have been marketed as literary. (The Handmaid's Tale, The Road...)

Yeah, I love Atwood's work (mostly her short stories based on folklore) and could see how my focus and style might be vaguely similar. In other words, since she's literary, maybe I really am, too.

I hate that literary-genre divide, so that's why I'm not entirely comfortable with the topic. I do want to steer readers the right way. My stuff is not the sort of thing everyone likes, and I know that :)

ElsaM
01-07-2012, 04:02 PM
This is the big thing. I don't write fantasy that would please most fantasy readers, I don't think. My work would be frustratingly vague, might not include enough magic, doesn't explain the magic, and other factors like that...
...I don't mind calling it fantasy at all, except that it isn't done right for normal fantasy, I don't think. Readers would be disappointed.


I read a lot of things, but think of myself as primarily a fantasy reader, and you've just described my absolute favourite kind of fantasy. Subtle fantasy, where the magic isn't properly explained. There just isn't enough around.