I suppose one way of looking at this is that the main reason I didn't read literary fiction up until now is that I must have been picking up lit-fic books with bad voices; whereas genre stories can survive with utterly unimaginative voices because they have so much wacky stuff - aliens, deathrays, sorceress witches, etc. - to fill them up, "literature" has really got nothing on speculative fiction without beautiful prose. But the last two books I read - "The Origin of Species" by Nino Ricci and "Combat Camera" by A. J. Somerset - were both literary and narrated in really awesome voices. I was concomitantly unable to put either book down for very long, so enamoured was I with their voices. In short, they were written really, really well.
|say it: lit-ra-cha!|
Not that all literary fiction is good, either. In the last week, while searching for the next book to read, I've been trashing a lot of those, too. But I've suddenly reached a new point in my reading, I think; a point where the writing, and not just the story, must draw me in to a novel or short.
Obviously, this has ended up affecting my writing, too. It's sort of freed me up, in one sense, to tell stories that are stories primarily in the telling (and not in the happening). But it's also challenging me, since now, when I re-read something I've produced, I'm a lot more critical of the style and substance of the prose - in addition to my internal criticism of the plot.
Still, this inner turmoil has made me productive. I've written three short stories in four days - albeit only 7,000 words in total, but three whole stories nonetheless.
I ought to paradigm-shift more often.