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literary

Genre Reading: Is “Escapism” a Bad Thing?

Barrel-of-monkey toys linked inside jar to the top edge with text: Can Readers Escape with a Story?

Certain types of reading are sometimes valued more than others. One descriptive term that’s often used as a put-down for genre stories is escapism, but is romance or any other genre story really “escapism”? What does that mean? Is escapism a “bad” thing, and if so, why?

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April 18, 2017

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Strengthen Your Writing with Rhetorical Devices

Crop stems in winter snow with text: Rhetorical Devices: Turning Language into Emotions

If you’re anything like me, and your English or grammar instruction was less than ideal, you might not be familiar with the term rhetorical devices. But once I did learn about them, I quickly became aware of how using rhetorical devices can strengthen our writing—even if we’re writing genre stories.

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June 30, 2016

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Plot Obstacles & Character Agency

Stick figure in a maze with text: What Do Your Characters Choose?

Ashley asked a question in the comments last week that gets at the heart of strong, proactive characters. Even in literary fiction, characters are usually faced with making choices, and whatever triggers those choices is where we’ll find plot and character agency.

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May 17, 2016

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Can Genre Fiction Be “Art”?

Piet Mondrian's "Composition with Red Blue Yellow" with text: Can Genre Fiction Be "Art"?

We have a hard time defining literary fiction. Society gives us assumptions on the relative value of genre vs. literary fiction, but those assumptions miss the point. Assigning value judgments to the labels “literary” and “genre” doesn’t make sense because preferences are subjective opinions and there’s no “better” or “worse.”

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April 17, 2014

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Literary vs. Genre Fiction: Which Do You Prefer?

Rustic gate opening to a wildflower field with text: Our Reading Habits: Do You Believe in Fate?

Reading is subjective. The stories some of us hate, others love. Personally, I have no interest in non-genre stories. This is not a sign of my inability to think deeply, but rather a personal preference. Mary Buckham’s ideas about the differences between literary and commercial fiction made me wonder about this preference.

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April 15, 2014

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Rediscovering Our Love of Reading

Woman reading on a beach with text: The Importance of Reading for Pleasure

Too many kids who were voracious readers earlier in their life learn to hate reading during their teenage years. According to a post on Writer Unboxed, one third of high school graduates won’t read another book—for the rest of their lives. For too many, reading becomes a means to an end. Absorbing knowledge. Period. And reading for pleasure now seems like a faraway dream.

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April 10, 2014

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What Are You Looking for in Your Reading Choices?

Stick figure hunting a heart in a maze with text: Choosing What to Read...

Last time, we talked about our reading habits and whether the price of an ebook affects its ranking in our to-be-read pile. (If you haven’t answered the polls with your answers to that question yet, please check out that post.) Today we’ll continue the reading-habits theme with two other issues […]

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January 9, 2014

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Does Your Writing Have Rhythm?

Two drumsticks with text: Does Your Writing Have Rhythm?

We’re probably all familiar with the idea that poetry, music, and song lyrics can have rhythm. But prose writing—our normal, everyday writing with sentences and paragraphs rather than lines, stanzas, and verses—can have a rhythm too. I’d occasionally heard a rhythm in my head while reading stories but never paid much attention. […]

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November 5, 2013

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