Redheaded Neanderlady

Redheaded Neanderlady
This is a photoshopped version of something I found in National Geographic about the time I started researching

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A "positive" website

I am happy to report to anyone checking this blog out, that I got a "notice" from a website called Positively Good Reads, whose purpose is to list "books with substance", which have "positive"endings. This was in response to a post, earlier this year, where I described why I will never write "literary fiction" I suspect the originator of this website wants to raise my sights to writing with "substance".

I don't have anything against "literary fiction" per se. I just have no interest in writing this way. The author of the website reproduces an article she read in a Chicago newspaper, which seemed to imply that other genres simply do not have "substance". The author of the article does make a valid point that what is called "literary fiction" does not have to be "downbeat"; she mentions Jane Austen. But Austen wasn't really writing "literary fiction"; the genre hadn'been invented yet. In Austen's time, t here wasn't any distinction between what was "popular" and what was "literary", for a variety of reasons: by that time, many people could read and write relatively well, and even people who were not as well-off as the sort of people Austen wrote about, read all kinds of books, if they could. And they read for information and entertainment. The distinction between "literary/serious" fiction and other types, came about long after Austen had passed on.

The reason I don't bother writh (most) literary fiction, is that to me, it's basically rather boring. Getting into someone's "character changes", without much happening, doesn't incline me to read whatever is written, whether it is "positive" or "negative". And at the present time, there is a large amount of "literary fiction" that is simply a "downer". Furthermore, a lot of it just isn't that good. There are just too many writers who think they're writing the Great American Novel, but they aren't. They aren't writing about subjects that really interest anyone but themselves, I think.

To be fair, one of the reasons "genre fiction" is looked down on by literary snobs is, that there's far too much junky "genre fiction", too. Romance novels are particularly scorned for this very reasons, yet I have read some romance novels that really are quite good, and actually have something fairly important to say, or at least the author cares about the subject she writes about. The same can be said about novels in just about any genre niche. And believe me, I've seen far too much obviously Tolkien-derived "fantasy" written by various authors, who basically take a "cookie cutter" approach to writing science fiction/fantasy, despite what the blurbs on the back of the book may claim. I've pretty much given up on those. But there are also authors like Ursula le Guin, who write far more intelligently, yet their writing is definitely "genre". There are others: the late Octavia Butler was one, and also Robert Sawyer and even Terry Brooks, to some extent. There are many more I could mention, and this is just in the science fiction/fantasy genre.

Still, I think it is good to know that there is some decent "literary fiction" out there that is not "downbeat". As I say, there is nothing inherently wrong with this type of fiction; it just isn't what I'm writing. And there's nothing inherently wrong with rreading either "positive" or "negative" literary fiction, if that's what one enjoys. I'm all for people rreading!

So, in that spirit, I have added Positively Good Reads to this site, although my primary focus on this site will continue to be my writing, prehistory/Neandertals, and medieval England in no particular order. But I will always take time to help other authors or anyone interested in books and reading
Anne G

No comments: