The “Third Wednesday Free For All” on “genre” (4/17/19) set an attendance record for FFAs, with the usual suspects sharing the table and the conversation with some new folk as well as some long-time WFoD-ers who don’t usually join the “off-week” folderol. It was great chat, with lots of information and informed opinion flying in all directions. It seemed to me though that one thing we had trouble nailing down was a response (or responses) to Nicole’s query about “literary fiction:” what it is, how can you tell, and so on. The best we could come up with was “not some other mainstream genre.”

I suggest though that there might be some other telling attributes, such as:

  • a elevated concern with characters’ interior lives
  • digressiveness, discursiveness, i.e. being unafraid to wander away from the current plot point
  • sometimes a lack of concern for the plot; certainly a lack of concern for the “rules” of a genre, even when the piece might look like some genre or other.
  • a lack of fear of style
  • <add your favorite here>