From The Daily Beast—the opening paragraph about a very large undertaking:
On the second of the 1,106 pages in his new book, The Novel: A Biography, Michael Schmidt claims without apparent irony that he is writing “what sets out to be a brief life of the novel in English.” Since the hero of his biography has lived for over 600 years in the works of thousands of practitioners, a mere 1,106 pages might be excused as a brief life. But any biographer of the novel faces a problem more fundamental than compressing between two covers a vast and unwieldy subject. It’s also essential—and surprisingly difficult—to articulate what exactly defines a novel.
From The New York Review of Books:
Hasn’t it all been done before? Perhaps better than anyone today could ever do it? If so, why read contemporary novels, especially when so many of the classics are available at knockdown prices and for the most part absolutely free as e-books?
Interesting answers in the article…
From Salon, a current view of a very long debate.
From the Huff Post Blog—I like both, but I never found literary fiction “an emotional journey through the symphony of words, leading to a stronger grasp of the universe and of ourselves.” I found good writing and good story telling, just like quality genre fiction. The explanation as quoted sounds pretentious to me—somebody searching for a distinction in the reality of little difference.
The argument continues—so it goes.
From Expert Enough—just enough to be dangerous:
Many people say they would like to write a book. That statement is usually in the form of “I have this great book idea”, “I’ve always wanted to write a novel” or “I will write it when I have more time.”
I used to say things like that. I kept promising myself that I would write a book someday. Then I realized something important.
There are seven days in a week, but someday isn’t one of them.
From fattygoodlander.com—a personal reflection of how a world-traveling sailor lacking in a formal education (which is not to say that he was uneducated) became a published writer.
From the Huffington Post:
The guidelines for literary and mainstream fiction often differ from those of popular fiction such as romance novels, fantasy novels, crimes novels, etc. Although the guidelines for submitting literary and mainstream novels are similar, the content of the work is very different, and it’s important to distinguish between the two.
If your novel doesn’t fall into the genre fiction categories, don’t automatically assume it’s literary fiction. Literary fiction tends to focus on complex issues and the beauty of the writing itself, and your novel may rely more on action, which is the tendency of mainstream fiction. So how do you know if your novel is literary or mainstream, and how best to move forward if your book doesn’t perfectly match the definition of either category?
Answers at the link.
From Tricks of the Trade, a blog for online entrepreneurs.
From Byliner, “George Orwell, Ann Patchett, and others on the blood, sweat, and joy of storytelling.”
“You can write any time people will leave you alone and not interrupt you,” Ernest Hemingway told George Plimpton in their classic 1958 Paris Review interview. “Or rather you can if you will be ruthless enough about it. But the best writing is certainly when you are in love.” Then Hemingway got shy: “If it is all the same to you I would rather not expound on that.”