Monday, April 18, 2005

Whatsover thy hand findeth to do ...

I've been following with interest the discussion over at the Faith*in*Fiction board about Literary fiction. I love to read, but I admit that I've not read a lot of what people consider "literary" fiction. Probably because I'm lazy. But I've read some of the better examples of genre fiction: books by Dorothy Sayers, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula LeGuin among others.

My reaction to this discussion has been to consider just what it is that I write. I don't think it's "literary." For one thing, I'm not that good a writer yet. But it's also not that ambitious a story.

My goal was to write a good story, from beginning to end, and populate it with people who are living out their faith in a fallen world. Sometimes I think I did it pretty well, as when yesterday a member of my writing group told me she liked my book and compared it favorably to books by a popular CBA novelist. But if I try to look objectively at the story, I know I could do it better. So I rewrite, and read articles about writing to help me find ways to do it better.

But, even after I become a better writer, I suspect that no one will call my writing "literary." I've come to the conclusion that that's probably OK. There's a place for all kinds of writing. People who might never pick up "Gilead," might read "Secrets in Connors Grove" (if it's ever published) and find something they can identify with.

This does not excuse me from becoming the best writer I can be.

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Col. 3:17)

1 comment:

Valerie Comer said...

I'm not into literary, either. I'm sure it has a place, but so does genre. I'm not convinced that literary writing is BETTER writing or more ambitious writing, though it has more in common with the essays we learned to write in school. They simply appeal to different people, and that's all right. I make no apologies that genre is my thing! :)