As we have seen in Interior Chinatown, it can be hard to really pin down what "literary fiction" is because any text can take risks of form and structure. And, also, if what makes something literary fiction is that it deals with big and heavy truths, wrestles with important, sometimes topical, sometimes timeless, human emotions and ideas, well, there again, any text can do that as well.
WHAT TO POST
Sometimes it seems that what makes something literary is that other people, reviewers, publishers, editors, the litterati (whoever they actually are) are the ones who decide. Writers, I think, just write. And yet, it's a category of publishing because there is something different about literary fiction than genre fiction (which we will read later in the semester)--something about a text that can not be reduced to genre like fantasy or science fiction or detective/mystery. It's the something more that others (at least) see as different, as having a certain depth. So the prompt for you to respond to--in 200-300 words--is both sort of simple and sort of not: What is your idea for a piece of "literary" fiction then? It can be a novel-length idea or an idea for a short story.
I know, you didn't sign up for this class to write novels (some of you anyway), and I'm not making you write the actual novel. I'm asking you to play with an idea. Consider the story you'd want to tell, think about your options for how you might tell it, and then try to explain what ideas/theories/philosophies/burning questions of the day your story might try to explore. If it looks like genre fiction on it's outside, what about its inside makes it "something more."
THEN RESPOND TO (AT LEAST) ONE COLLEAGUE
Whose story do you you really love and why? You can respond to more than one if you love more than one. Essentially, whose story do you really wish they'd write because you would want to read it.
You have until next class to post, but, as always, I suggest you get this done in the half hour after our class ends.