Can Genre Fiction Also Be Literary?

When it comes to my writing, I’ve always had a bit of a dilemma.

Like a lot of writers, I have a fantasy in my head of being the modern era’s Hemingway or Faulkner. Perhaps sitting in a small cafe in Paris, dutifully punching out literary masterpieces that will be cherished throughout the ages. After all, isn’t that at least part of why people write? So that while we may pass from this earth, at least our thoughts and feelings might become immortal.

Still, while I do love reading the classics, I have to admit that my favorite books have always been in the sci-fi/fantasy/horror genres. Particularly fantasy. It probably won’t surprise most of you to find out that I’m a big nerd. I love nothing more than reading fantastic tales of swords and sorcery. Maybe I’ve always dreamed of being the valiant hero who saves the damsel in distress, (please forgive my chauvinism,) or maybe I just long for a time when courage and chivalry counted for something. Whatever the reason, I’ve always loved medieval history both factual and fictional. I still hold out hope that some day, an archaeologist will discover evidence of dragons. I’m such a fan of the genre, I’ve even taken up amateur blacksmithing as a hobby.

Because of this, I’m afraid I’ve developed a bit of a split personality when it comes to my writing. I switch from being the serious author who wants to immortalize his thoughts and feelings in print, to the writer who just wants to play and step into the shoes of his characters to live out the lives of people he will never be.

I’ve been doing some serious thinking about this recently and have come to a conclusion. Who says genre fiction can’t also be literary? Why can’t one piece of work be both entertaining and meaningful? Of course there are examples of books that, were they written today, would be pigeonholed into a specific genre but have still managed to become literary classics. Books such as The Three Musketeers, Treasure Island, and Robin Hood. The question is, Can it be done today?

I guess there’s only one way to find out.

So I suppose the point of this rather rambling post is this. I’m going to be true to myself and write what I enjoy. Hopefully my more literary personality will be able to reconcile with my other side and I can find some peace. Or at the very least, I’ll be able to finish a project without questioning whether it’s really what I want to be writing.

Of course, the fantasy bar has been set fairly high by certain contemporary writers, (I’m looking at you George Martin,) but I think I’m up to the task.

One other perk of being a successful fantasy writer, if I get popular enough, I might be invited to Comic Con.

What do you think? Can a work of fantasy, sci-fi, or horror also be literary?

Leave your answer here, or on Twitter @JustinMKelly1, or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jmkelly60. Also, please visit my website at http://justinmkelly.com/ (I have plans for a major overhaul but I’m concentrating on the writing itself right now.)

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ChChCHChanges

Okay folks. I’m finally back, I promise. I really mean it this time. I swear. So I’m not sure if anyone even checks this blog anymore. God knows I don’t. But again, that’s going to change.

Anyway, part of the problem is that I’ve been trying to keep things focused on my career as a writer. Unfortunately, so far I only have variations on two themes. Either I’m working really hard on writing and things are coming along swimmingly or alternatively, I haven’t written a damn thing lately and here are my whiny excuses why. Either of these can get very boring when I type them over and over again. Not just for you but for me as well. Especially when as of late it would mostly be the latter.

So here are the changes. First, I’m going to make a serious effort to write a blog every day. Well, Monday through Friday. Well, most of the time. I’m only human after all. Don’t yell at me.

Second, I’m not going to limit things to just my career as a wannabe writer. I have other hobbies and interests and will be on the lookout for cool things that appeal to my geeky nature or really just anything that catches my interest. I will do my best to keep things light when it comes to things like religion and politics. I do have views on both subjects, some of them very strong, but in my experience arguing about those things never accomplishes anything but hurting feelings.

In short, this will become my public journal. A peek into the madness that is being a writer. If there are topics you would like me to weigh in on, feel free to comment and suggest them. If they don’t violate my personal rules I probably will.

Oh yeah, I will still update you on my life as a writer. I just hope there will be something notable to report soon.