The book also did an outstanding job of explaining the different styles of rowhouses found in the city, and illustrating what got built where- and when and why. At times it goes deeper into details on architecture and building technique than most people would ever need to know, but remains an interesting read nonetheless.
I've been trying to understand the difference between literary fiction and genre for a long time. A member of my writers' group used to bring in science fiction for critique sometimes, and sometimes her avant garde work.
It was all meticulously written in her delightful, faux naif style, and we could never tell the difference between avant garde and science fiction, except that occasionally the science fiction had writing a builders reference very human aliens in it.
In fact, I believe the best fiction, whether literary or genre, has always combined powerful language with psychological and social insight and story.
The way we separate genre and literature in the twenty-first century is, to my way of thinking, mostly about selling, and there is no doubt that writing in certain niches sells far writing a builders reference than others.
I've been writing since I was about six years old, and in the beginning, I was above all interested in the stories. What happened to the Indian Princess? What did she do? I went through a long period in college and after when I saw myself as devoted to high art.
The truth is that I have always loved some high art, admired other high art, and reacted to some with a big "meh. In our present literary landscape, this often, although certainly not always, means well-written genre books.
The problem with highly polished art writing is the danger of creating only static set pieces— bijoux for contemplation and admiration, rather than a river that sucks you downstream through its rapids and sluices.
The novel I'm working on now is science fiction, and I've been trying hard to master how to create that river. I'm writing just as carefully as ever, at least in the later drafts.
This probably means I'll never be a commercially successful genre writer because it will always take me too long to write a book, and a prime characteristic of successful genre writers is that they keep new product in the pipeline. How is writing this book different from writing my other fiction?
Occasionally in the science fiction novel, I choose to simplify language for action--but I do that for action in anything I write. I am probably more careful about the geography of my settings because I want them to be very clear in the reader's mind as the action plays out.
In language, I pay a great deal of attention to using words that fit the material culture of the world I've created. I avoid images that include objects or ideas that don't exist on this planet. This is part of the pleasure though: I delight in world-creating as much now as I did when I was five years old and my parents bought me for Christmas a miniature ranch with horses and fences and people.
Much genre writing is simply sloppy—hastily written, to meet deadlines, or in the case of some of the mass of self-published material appearing now, written to satisfy personal needs of the writer.
This may also explain some of the popularity of even badly written genre: If I'm going to read it, however, I need a level of clarity and clean writing at a minimum. Along with science fiction, I like good detective and crime fiction and I also like fantasy, if it abides by some set of internal rules.
All novels, of course— and this is why genre and literature are more alike than different— create worlds, whether alien planets far far away or south central Los Angeles just after the Watts riots of the late sixties.
In my science fiction novel I have to spend more time describing my created world than I would if the novel were set in New York City, but frankly, it's a trivial difference because even though I can expect my readers to fill in a lot of blanks about New York City— that there is one sun in the sky on a bright fall day, for example in my science fiction novel, there are twothere are still particular streets and waterfronts and restaurants that have to be built out of observation and imagination.
A failing of much student writing I see is to assume a frame of reference: Genre writing gives me that satisfaction of play from my childhood. I am, at least in the initial drafting stages, manipulating the riders and horses of my little plastic ranch, and clopping them over the floor on great quests by the light of the Christmas tree.
But as I play, I've also discovered that, for me, science fiction in particular, offers a more direct way to write about ideas and power relationships. In my realistic fiction, I have mostly written about people and experiences and social action that I am familiar with. I don't know— for example— what it would be like to have my community destroyed by an enemy.
I can imagine it— and indeed, in my science fiction novel, I'm doing exactly that. What effect will it have on the characters?
How will they be changed from their ideology of non-violence? So in my science fiction novel, along with the fun of imagining lavender shadows from the double suns, I can explore the potential results of decisions based on ideology among the humans and the mistakes different sentient species make about one another's motivations.
I can experiment with political structures, and I can have my characters be major figures in their world's history.
That's not what I sat down to do when I started my genre novel. I think I sat down with the urge to play as I played as a child, but as an adult, the topics I play with tend to be issues I see unresolved in this world, and I find I can write about them more directly here, in my invented places.Writing a Reference Letter (With Examples) By Ali Hale - 5 minute read If you are writing a reference letter for an academic course, you will need to confirm the person’s academic grades.
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