Lit Fic Check-In?

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ap123

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After much research and cogitation helped along by this thread, I've decided my current WIP is upmarket fiction with a strong element of magical realism. That definition is subject to adjustment depending on where the queries go, of course.

I was beginning to feel quite lonely amidst the fantasy and sci-fi writers. Nothing against either (I've also written fantasy) but that's not where my interest lies right now.
I'm glad if this thread was helpful to you :)

One caveat: If you're white (I don't know or need to know) term it upmarket with speculative elements, or fabulist elements. Yes, we've all seen novels by white authors marketed as MR, but some people feel very strongly that a story can only be defined as MR if written by someone who is Latin American, some broaden to include all POC. I don't know there's a correct answer, but I go with being safe and trying to avoid the risk of offending anyone while querying--especially since I tend to write fairly offensive characters, lol.
 
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Catriona Grace

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I'm glad if this thread was helpful to you :)

One caveat: If you're white (I don't know or need to know) term it upmarket with speculative elements, or fabulist elements. Yes, we've all seen novels by white authors marketed as MR, but some people feel very strongly that a story can only be defined as MR if written by someone who is Latin American, some broaden to include all POC. I don't know there's a correct answer, but I go with being safe and trying to avoid the risk of offending anyone while querying--especially since I tend to write fairly offensive characters, lol.
Appreciate the suggestion, but I'm not interested in dealing with agents or publishers who insist on restricting certain categories of literature to writers of specific ethnic, racial, or societal backgrounds. I'd just as soon discover their prejudices during the querying process and be done with them.
 
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ap123

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Appreciate the suggestion, but I'm not interested in dealing with agents or publishers who insist on restricting certain categories of literature to writers of specific ethnic, racial, or societal backgrounds. I'd just as soon discover their prejudices during the querying process and be done with them.
Eek! That isn't at all what I was trying to say, my apologies for the confusion.

The term magical realism, as it was originally applied to literature, deals with social issues stemming from colonialism--traditionally within Latin America (Gabriel García Márquez, Isabel Allende, Jorge Amado, Jorge Luis Borges, et al).

It isn't a matter of prejudices or restrictions, it's solely a matter of how the term MR is being applied/interpreted by the given publishing professional. Like other aspects of writing a query, you want to show you know/understand the market, and where your book could fit in. Because we don't know the school of thought of each individual publisher and agent, it's easy enough to sub the word fabulism, or speculative, when querying. That's literally all there is to it, changing one word in the query, nothing within or about the stories we're querying. :)
 

Catriona Grace

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Eek! That isn't at all what I was trying to say, my apologies for the confusion.

The term magical realism, as it was originally applied to literature, deals with social issues stemming from colonialism--traditionally within Latin America (Gabriel García Márquez, Isabel Allende, Jorge Amado, Jorge Luis Borges, et al).

It isn't a matter of prejudices or restrictions, it's solely a matter of how the term MR is being applied/interpreted by the given publishing professional. Like other aspects of writing a query, you want to show you know/understand the market, and where your book could fit in. Because we don't know the school of thought of each individual publisher and agent, it's easy enough to sub the word fabulism, or speculative, when querying. That's literally all there is to it, changing one word in the query, nothing within or about the stories we're querying. :)
Explanation appreciated. Thank you. I do know about Latino magical realism, but don't agree that the category of magical realism is or should be restricted to Latino or POC writers who are exploring the effects of colonialism. The term originated in the 1920s in relation to German art; that art influenced certain Italian and Belgian writers to produce magic realism in literature in the 1920s, which in turn influenced the Hispanic American writers.

Fabulism and speculative fiction are not the same as magical realism; changing that one word in a query would misrepresent the book. In doing research on the term, most explanations include reference to Hispanic magical realism but don't define it solely in terms of the same. Since, as you say, we don't know the school of thought of each individual agent and publisher, we are as likely to run across ones who believe magical realism is a broad category that includes Hispanic magical realism as we are to find those who restrict the category to Hispanic magical realism. My preference is to deal with the former.
 

mccardey

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Explanation appreciated. Thank you. I do know about Latino magical realism, but don't agree that the category of magical realism is or should be restricted to Latino or POC writers who are exploring the effects of colonialism. The term originated in the 1920s in relation to German art; that art influenced certain Italian and Belgian writers to produce magic realism in literature in the 1920s, which in turn influenced the Hispanic American writers.

Fabulism and speculative fiction are not the same as magical realism; changing that one word in a query would misrepresent the book. In doing research on the term, most explanations include reference to Hispanic magical realism but don't define it solely in terms of the same. Since, as you say, we don't know the school of thought of each individual agent and publisher, we are as likely to run across ones who believe magical realism is a broad category that includes Hispanic magical realism as we are to find those who restrict the category to Hispanic magical realism. My preference is to deal with the former.
I think you might be missing the nuance in the argument. Language changes and carries immediate weight as well as historical weight. If you're new to querying (new, in fact, to knowing what class your book falls into) it's not the worst idea to listen to someone who's been querying in that class for some time and with some success.

You may decide to ignore the advice, but considering it carefully won't hurt at all.
 
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Catriona Grace

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Thank you, but I am not missing the nuance. I am disagreeing that the terms speculative or fabulism can be substituted for magical realism and offering my reasoning for that disagreement based on research and conversations with other professionals. My decision re: how to categorize the book was the choice between literary or upmarket. I am not new to querying or publication.

You may decide to reject an alternative viewpoint, but considering it carefully won't hurt at all. ;)
 
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mccardey

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Thank you, but I am not missing the nuance. I am disagreeing that the terms speculative or fabulism can be substituted for magical realism and offering my reasoning for that disagreement based on research and conversations with other professionals. My decision re: how to categorize the book was the choice between literary or upmarket. I am not new to querying or publication.

You may decide to reject an alternative viewpoint, but considering it carefully won't hurt at all. ;)
okayyy...
 
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ap123

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Explanation appreciated. Thank you. I do know about Latino magical realism, but don't agree that the category of magical realism is or should be restricted to Latino or POC writers who are exploring the effects of colonialism. The term originated in the 1920s in relation to German art; that art influenced certain Italian and Belgian writers to produce magic realism in literature in the 1920s, which in turn influenced the Hispanic American writers.

Fabulism and speculative fiction are not the same as magical realism; changing that one word in a query would misrepresent the book. In doing research on the term, most explanations include reference to Hispanic magical realism but don't define it solely in terms of the same. Since, as you say, we don't know the school of thought of each individual agent and publisher, we are as likely to run across ones who believe magical realism is a broad category that includes Hispanic magical realism as we are to find those who restrict the category to Hispanic magical realism. My preference is to deal with the former.
*Bolding mine*
I'm not going to continue this, but I want to point out I'm referring to Latin American writers; writers from the countries that make up Latin America. Hispanic Americans is not an interchangeable term. Nuance.
 

Catriona Grace

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You're absolutely right, of course, about Hispanic and Latino not being interchangeable, Hispanic referring only to Spanish-speaking people from Latin America. I automatically used the former term because it most accurately describes my own family.

You certainly needn't continue a conversation with someone who disagrees with you, though I disagreed with you as respectfully as possible. Paraphrasing a condescending phrase was not so respectful, but neither was the original phrase.

Onward.
 

mccardey

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Paraphrasing a condescending phrase was not so respectful, but neither was the original phrase.
I think you're misreading, if that was my phrase you found condescending.

I don't know you from Adam - all I know is what you're written here. It's not condescending to say that you might have missed the nuance in AP's argument. I think you did miss it, but since I don't know you, I didn't want to be too sure of myself.

That's not condescension. It's care. And assuming good intentions.
 

Catriona Grace

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I appreciate your assurance that you didn't intend to be condescending. Thank you. In return, I assure you I considered his suggestion before rejecting it.

The argument re: magical realism being restricted as a genre to Latin American writers is familiar to me. Yes, some people feel strongly about it, but strong feelings do not move the contention from the realm of debate into the realm of Written in Stone. I offered an argument and basis for a wider interpretation of the genre.

Disagreement does not necessarily constitute misunderstanding.
 

mccardey

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I appreciate your assurance that you didn't intend to be condescending.
I don't think I said I didn't intend to be condescending. I think I said the comment was not condescending. However you do seem to bring a tone to reading that overwhelms my (and other's) intentions, no matter what our intentions are.

Rather than engage further, I'll just hop off and toggle the IL button - and it's not intended to be at all condescending to point out that I will not be offended in any way if you do the same. It's just playing safe, and making less work for the moderators.
 

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I'm happy to have my work called 'literary'. I also accept 'contemporary'. I try to use language to its utmost to convey feelings without action-packed or wonder-filled plots. I'm not stuffy about terminology, and I abhor the denigration of 'genre' fiction.
 
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