Genre Basics - Contemporary Fiction - article

Contemporary fiction is, technically, any fiction of the time we are in. So, it’s everything that is not non-fiction that is currently being written. But since the category “contemporary fiction” wants to be more clearly defined than that, it cannot be the huge umbrella under which all other fiction exists. Manuscripts tend to be between 65-80K words, so they don’t have to be tomes, but also aren’t typically a book that will be read in a single afternoon. Contemporary fiction – as a genre unto itself – is not necessarily mainstream fiction; it can be mainstream and popular, but it’s not a prerequisite. Contemporary fiction is a tricky genre, because it can deal with any number of topics, though usually in a current setting. The characters are also realistic. They are often quirky, but not so much so that they are unrecognizable. They stop short of being caricatures or stock characters, because they are supposed to be believable.

Believability is one of the cornerstones of contemporary fiction. Like the Modernists of the 1920s and 1930s, writers of contemporary fiction attempt to recreate reality. Almost everything about the stories is something that, when you read it, you believe it is possible. 

Some contemporary novelists include Jonathan Safran Foer (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) and Yann Martel (Life of Pi). Their novels are realistic and placed in relatively contemporary settings. These novels are well paced, with believable characters that you can relate to, and the stories are believable, even when you suspect they aren’t.

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  • Humor and or tragedy mount a salty and characteristic sea. In the fount of my soul when an author allows me to herd notable splashes against my skin and tuft eyelashes--I'm awarded by my sweat and tears, it;s believable. Fiction or no, "My God" what author shouldn't be appreciated.