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Thread: Two questions about contemporary from a newbie to the genre

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  1. #8
    MacAllister's Official Minion & Greeter AW Moderator Ari Meermans's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    Not where you last saw me.
    Quote Originally Posted by mccardey View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Kalyke View Post
    I may as well jump in -- but I am a dissapointing person in general-- so sorry in advance. I think that the Age bracketing leads to some misinterpretation here. I would say-- for instance in books I have read that might appeal to younger readers (YA, MS) they are not necessarily what would be considered contemporary litereature. It is like Literature is "all writing" but also, it is a specific type of writing that does not follow the rules of genres. So anything can be both YA and also Contemporary literature. I took a YA literature class books among those included were:

    The Life of Pi -- Yann Martel
    The House on Mango Street-- Sandra Cisneros
    The Bluest Eye-- Toni Morrison
    The Curious Incedent of the dog in the Night-time-- Mark Haddon

    All of the writers were adults. (It seems to me that even the youngest taught creative writing at Cambridge, so they have their acedemic diplomas). The topics the books dealt with were the same that adult books deal with.Things that young people (usually teenagers) deal with. Love, sex, in-crouds, bullying, racism, gangs, horrible people, war-- everything.

    But the young age of a protagonist is not a signal that the book is YA. I am writing a book now with a character who is split in two time-wise, one is a 16-year-old, and the other is in his 30's.

    The main thing about being literature and being genre fiction is that literature is "artistic" writing-- character-driven, so the personal dreams, desires and so on of the character are the driving force. Sometimes it feels as though some is "plotless." The point is to go through a mental journey. The plot is really secondary, and often the plot is minimal. Someone's living room, a park, another place, a mountain valley. It has to be strong writing-- timeless.

    So I think you need to wonder, am I writing literature, or is it a genre that I just don't know the name of?
    Is it possible that you're conflating literature and literary writing? Because all literature may be literary (I have no idea, but someone will know) but all literary writing is not necessarily Literature.
    The word "literature" is a noun the simple meaning of which is written prose or poetry. The kind of literature meant is defined within context.

    To make a categorical distinction between "literature" and "genre fiction" is not only improper, it is also incorrect.

    As an added note and I want everyone to be clear on this: When the topic is literary works, entire genres are not to be held here as having no literary merit. Great literary works exist in all genres.
    Last edited by Ari Meermans; 08-06-2020 at 09:15 AM.
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