The book market is shifting again as it has quite often in the last five years. Let’s face it. It’s desperately trying to keep up with our fast-paced world. How we discover books, how we purchase them, and how we read them have changed completely. All of that change is difficult for an industry that’s been around a couple hundred years, and it’s arguably even more difficult for those of us who create books in the first place. But the market is bound to evolve, especially in a digital, global world that must meet the needs of different kinds of readers. The market changes, sure, but is the craft of writing evolving too? I asked some established authors to see what they had to say. This is what I asked:
How has the craft of fiction changed in the last decade? Specifically, what have you noticed about books in terms of structure, characters, topics, trends, etc?
“I think in genre fiction, the readers are pushing for shorter chapters, quicker reads, and less depth. The publishers are following their lead. Literary fiction still allows the full beauty of the language to be explored, but genre authors have a unique challenge. Many of us try to inject a literary tone while still producing a page-turning quick read. That’s the sweet spot we are all shooting for, but with shorter attention spans, it is becoming a greater challenge.”—Julie Cantrell Perkins, NYT Bestselling author of The Feathered Bone
“I think the lines between genre and literary fiction are blurring. I think genre lit is becoming more character driven and nuanced. Literary fiction is becoming a little less self indulgent… stuff needs to actually happen in the book. In all cases I think the reader is beginning to expect more in terms of balance between engaging story and well-crafted prose.” —Aimie Runyan, author of The Daughters of France series
“Many published novels are shorter than earlier works, often less than 100,000 words and/or 300 pages and also much more first-person and multiple viewpoints rather than third-person following one pov.”—Sally Koslow, author of The Widow Waltz
“In women’s fiction, we’ve gone from which designer shoes to wear to much darker, beefier themes. I see this as women claiming literary equality: there’s no problem a male character can tackle in a novel that a female can’t–and the female may learn more from it.”—Kathryn Craft, author of The Far End of Happy
“I think there are expectations to crank out books faster and faster. Especially for romance and contemporary books (thrillers, woman’s fiction, mystery, etc).”—Amy E Reichert, author of Luck, Love, & Lemon Pie
Other changes authors have noticed include: [Read more…]