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  • Writer's picturePeter Clarke

What's the Difference between Genre Fiction and Literature?

Any piece of writing features a number of different elements. Works of literature usually encompass every element displayed in genre fiction, including characters, dialogue, setting, plot, etc. Literature also features additional elements that are lacking in genre fiction--elements such as analogy, irony, blasphemy, history, religious commentary, philosophical commentary, etc. Literature is also distinguished by its emphasis on the importance of voice and use of language. Due to the wealth of elements that are often displayed in literature, it is usually more rich and dynamic than genre fiction. I've found that when I read a great work of literature, I can usually skim through many of the action sequences or time/place description passages without missing much at all. Alternatively, the last time I tried to read a genre fiction book, I began skimming through action sequences and character descriptions...and pretty soon I found that I was skimming entire chapters...and suddenly I had skimmed through the entire book!

Note that I origionally wrote this as a response to a question on Follow my Quara account here:

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