Thursday, November 20, 2008

What Kids Want

Considering my recent post (rant) about the classification of ages of characters, I thought this post by literary agent Kate Schafer to be rather timely. She basically points out that while there is a place for "literary fiction," there's certainly a place for genre fiction, too, and there's a difference.

... I preferred commercial fiction to literary, because in commercial fiction, the primary focus is the STORY, with beginning, middle, and satisfying end, not just a beautiful collection of words on paper without meaningful direction.

I want pace. I want adventure. I want romance. I want a story.

... If you want kids to read it, then you better make sure there's a driving story.

Which sums up my thoughts on this well. Kate's client, Catherine Cheek, added to the discussion with this post on her blog:

Fiction's primary purpose, first and foremost, is to entertain. If it says something fascinating and timeless about the human condition, that's fantastic, but first it should entertain. Stories should be about interesting people. There should be a conflict; the conflict should be resolved.

This does make me re-think my recent post on gimmicks. I got caught up in the idea of whether or not a gimmick reduces the literary quality of the book--but as long as the gimmick isn't the entire book, and as long as the book serves the primary purpose of entertainment--who cares?

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