C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

Write and publish with love and fury.

Odd and unfamiliar literary genres

My luckless hit man is a funny guy in big trouble.

My luckless hit man is a funny guy in big trouble.

People argue plenty about genres. Is Literary Fiction just another genre or The Standard? In an age of ebooks and fewer bookstores, must we be so strict about classifying genre? When is cross-genre going to get more respect? When will hardboiled come back? Why isn’t funny neo-noir bigger?

Okay, those last two are more personal to me because of my crime fiction friction (and the first question is a snob test. If you answered “The Standard”, get out.)

Let’s talk about literary genres you probably don’t think about much (yet): 

Boomer lit

Claude Nougat introduced me to Boomer Lit with A Hook in the Sky. Tailoring fiction to an age-related niche is an interesting idea. Can Zoomer Lit be far behind?

I picture further fragmentations: Debt Lit for the trials of our depressed global economy; Sandwich Lit for the generation stuck between supporting their parents and their children; Hack Lit for needful cottage-dwellers in the cottage industry of electro-self-help in an e-commute/quasi-agoraphobic Internet world without trees.

This is worth considering:

If you can identify an audience, you can create a genre. If you can create a genre, or at least put your stamp on it, you could sell more books.

Click it to get it.

Click for suspense and hilarious frivolity in Self-help for Stoners.

Case in point: Self-help for Stoners.

Zombie Erotica

Warm Bodies introduced this idea to me. Jay Wilburn discusses this genre  further on Armand Rosamilia’s blog. Creeps me out, though I guess The Corpse Bride gave it juice and Frankenstein originated it. We romanticize the dead  all the time (Marilyn Monroe, Jack Kennedy, Marty Feldman.) 

Cropped screenshot of Marilyn Monroe from the ...

Cropped screenshot of Marilyn Monroe from the trailer for the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But sexualizing zombies? Hm. Could be a tough sell to a broad audience (depending on initial hotness, location of mortal wound and room temperature). However, we don’t need a broad audience. We need an identifiable and reachable niche of fans, fanatics and possibly freaks.

New Adult

For post-adolescent readers aged 18 to 30 or 18 to 26 (depending on whom you ask), this is mostly for those readers who are finding their way to their quarter-century life crisis. (Don’t wait for a mid-life crisis! Get started young when you don’t understand how little you really have to complain about! You still have so many crises to look forward to!) Click here for a list of popular New Adult reads on Goodreads.

New Adult is a very welcoming genre in that you can stick zombies or aliens in there, too, if you want. It’s typified by its target age-range and less by its subject. A popular misconception is that New Adult is for sub-literate people who don’t like to read. That’s not how people who write New Adult describe their work, so we shouldn’t, either.

Lad lit

Not a new genre but under-appreciated and not near as popular as Chick lit. This is fiction about young men and their lives, sex lives, failures and aspirations. It would be bigger if more men read books. Nick Hornby was crowned King of Lad Lit (by someone or other) with High Fidelity. I like High Fidelity the book, but I love High Fidelity, the movie. FYI: John Cusack is a demi-god. Also, we watched the credits to find out who that awesome young unknown was. It was Jack Black. His singing at the end of the movie was so awesome, we thought he must be lip-syncing. Nope! And that’s how I became a Tenacious D fanboy.

Dystopian versus Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic:

A cross-genre flurry about  society's collapse under the crush of the Sutr Virus combined with a boy's love for odd words, Latin dictionaries and his father.

A cross-genre flurry about society’s collapse under the crush of the Sutr Virus combined with a boy’s love for odd words, Latin dictionaries and his father.

I include these three not because they are new or all that odd, but because they are often confused.

Apocalyptic is The Big Bad Thing that’s coming to kill us.

Post-Apocalyptic is how the few survivors deal with The Big Bad Thing. 

Dystopian comes after the fallout from The Big Bad Thing, when it becomes The New Normal. Like George Orwell’s 1984. Or getting felt up by the TSA.

~ The events in This Plague of Days, my coming coming-of-age Aspergers plague thriller, occur as society collapses. Things go from apocalyptic to post-apocalyptic. If the series sells enough books, we’ll get to see how the world devolves into a dystopia. I’m looking forward to finding out, assuming the real world flu pandemic doesn’t kill us all first. This Plague of Days launches at the end of May. To find out more, go to ThisPlagueofDays.com.

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What Is a Literary Novel? | Jane Friedman

Via Scoop.itWriting and reading fiction

Click it to get it.

Does this book qualify as "literary" fiction? I don't know.

I reject the distinction many people make between literary writing and fiction. I think good writing is good writing.

Is literary fiction a different genre? Perhaps, but since all good fiction has depth, style and character and can be intellectual, the boundaries are fuzzy. Still, the arguments people make for those distinctions are no less interesting.

Maybe the literary novel is like pornography: undefinable but you recognize it when you see it. I don’t necessarily recognize it, though. Is my book Self-help for Stoners literary fiction? It has all the elements listed in the link, but I really don’t know. I just call it suspense. If you figure out if Self-help for Stoners is “literary” or not, please email me. I’d love to know! Click Jane Friedman’s link below to see if you can puzzle it out. ~ Chazz

Via janefriedman.com

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Winner of Writer's Digest's 2014 Honorable Mention in Self-published Ebook Awards in Genre

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