Monday, April 27, 2009

Literary Fiction

I’m finally back at work after almost two weeks being gone due to the—yes, you guessed it—Ebil Headaches.
So I was on my lunch break and reading some of the blogs that I stal—er…follow and I realized they had one thing in common—it was clear of the genre that they wrote for. And I haven’t made myself clear in that aspect whatsoever. I’ve gotten a couple of emails from people asking what genre do I like, and what sort am I currently writing. I probably mentioned it before somewhere, but I’ve decided to state it again—Literary Fiction.

I think it is possibly one of the more difficult genre’s to write for because it can appear extremely vague. And there is this assumption that just because literary fiction is more focused on ‘character’ than ‘plot’ that there absolutely is no plot—and it ends up being some pontifical piece that leads into nothing at all. Unfortunately, that’s what ends up happening with a lot of new writers attempting to write literary fiction.

When I think of Literary Fiction, I think of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ (which I first read in high school and I loved it), Of Mice and Men and one of my more recent favorites: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston. Admittedly, I saw the movie before reading the novel. But to my credit, I had never even HEARD of the novel before seeing the movie. And since then, I can’t count how many times I read it. And remember that video for that song called Halo? Well that seriously gorgeous man in the video, Michael Ealy, played Tea Cake in the film adaptation of the book.

Seriously...he's gorgeous.

This is one of those rare instances where I didn’t regret at all watching the movie because I think it did the book justice. Some may disagree, but that’s the way I feel. The setting was absolutely perfect, from the setting and imagery to the characters and the story itself. When I first watched the film, I fell in love with it—even moreso when I read the book. Another really beautiful and harsh book was The Color Purple. While the movie is just awesome and every black person and their mama has seen it, they are doing themselves a huge disservice by not reading the book. Granted, the book is long, but it was seriously worth it.
When I think of the way I’m trying to model my book, I think of The Color Purple, Beloved, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Those are the things that I like to read and I really couldn’t imagine writing anything other than literary fiction.

Beloved written by Pulitzer Prize winner Toni Morrison is a perfect example of where my head is at right now. I mentioned in a blog written a few days ago, that my head was in a strange, dark place. Beloved is literary fiction, but there’s just enough disturbing and spooky stuff in there to keep you on edge. Coupled with the fact that it is probably, hands down, one of the best books I’ve ever read—that book is just gold. I would love to meet Toni Morrison. I absolutely idolize that woman. If you’re unsure about reading the book, watch the movie—it’s amazing and horrifying and touching and…wow…not enough adjectives to describe it.
In a nutshell, that is what I write. That is what I love. I mentioned before that writing literary fiction is easier for me than it is for some. Personally, thinking out a long and thought out plot isn’t something I’ve ever been particularly good out. But if I can write a good plot with amazing characters—then I’m really happy. If I prove to be even a fraction as good as these writers—I’m happy and I’ll keep shooting to be just as good as—because honestly, I don’t think it gets better than Toni Morrison or Alice Walker.