I get that for some of you writers out there, your genre is pretty darn obvious. You write romance, or scifi, or horror. But what about the rest of us, just writing books about life? What do we call it?
I’m not self-important enough to claim that I write literary fiction, maybe someday, but not there yet. Neither is my work popular enough to call it popular fiction, (heck, I’m not even published, so much for popular). And, I hate the term chick-lit, because really, why alienate half the planet with that label?
Labels, labels, labels. I like what John Updike said, “The category of ‘literary fiction’ has sprung up recently to torment people like me who just set out to write books, and if anybody wanted to read them, terrific, the more the merrier. But now, no, I’m a genre writer of a sort. I write literary fiction, which is like spy fiction or chick lit.”
So, I guess that leaves me somewhere in the range of contemporary, modern, commercial, or mainstream fiction. But, which one is it? Aren’t they all the same thing? Today I received advice from a young literary agent
whose weekly blog posts I really enjoy. She suggested I create a new tagline on this page, something that better describes my writing. While I agree with her, I have trouble picking the right words. Somehow calling myself a writer of contemporary fiction does not say very much. Writer of modern adventures, perhaps? Even that may be promising a thriller instead of just a story about life. If you write in the sphere of literary or contemporary fiction, how did you decide to label yourself?
Even Powell’s blue “literature” room is a catchall for the books that do not fall under the traditional genre umbrellas. But, how does calling something literature describe it?