/, Thursday's Random Thoughts/Thursday’s Random Thoughts(2): Literary is a dirty word

Unorganized, unedited, straight from my stream of consciousness to your head…Thursday’s Random Thoughts.

The above sentence is meant to excuse me from any and all forms of judgement, which I know won’t happen, but whatever, I tried. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is spill exactly what you’re thinking. Sometimes the easiest thing to do is spill exactly what you’re thinking. Which brings me to the word Literary.


Actually the label literary as it pertains to YA fiction.

Things i used to think about literary YA

L is for Librarian
I is for idiots need not read (aka-over my uneducated head)
T is for totally academic
E is for excellent way to grow the Spark Notes collection
R is for real authors write literary
A is for assuming you like that sort of thing…
R is for right now I’m reading something fun instead
Y is for You’ll probably like it

Things i thought when my agent suggested current WIP might be more “literary”

1. not possible
2. other authors can do that, but not me, I’m not good enough
3. really? you think it might be…?
4. wait…does this mean that I can kill the love interest? Hasn’t John Green done this? Twice.
5. Huh. So I like don’t have to explain everything, right? I can be like, if you understood my art then you’d get it! Go freakin study harder!

Things i thought when I went back to writing said WIP

1. literary. Okay. Here we go…
2. what’s that saying? fake it til’ you make it
3. does this require a college degree? if so I’m screwed.
4. does it matter if I haven’t read Faulkner? Or like, you know, all those authors
5. wow…this is kind of fun
6. why is this so easy?
7. I feel free
8. to be or not to be…
9. this is like the time I ran 3 miles with ankle weights and then took them off to run some more, except just the part where I take them off and run super fast and easy
10. it’s a room without walls, a race track with nothing to crash into, the infinite possibility of space

What the hell just happened to me? Anyone care to explain? 

And can’t we all just declare L-I-T-E-R-A-R-Y a dirty word? Let’s call it Unpredictable, Might Make You Think, YA Lit instead…



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  1. Mark Murata May 15, 2014 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    "if you understood my art then you'd get it! Go freakin study harder!"
    Obviously you're being facetious, but do you remember those literary types who looked down their noses at Charles Dickens because he wrote in a style that the average reader with a fair education could understand? Of course not. Who remembers them? But we all remember Dickens.

  2. Julie Cross May 15, 2014 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    I know! This is absolutely true. You're basically pointing out the other side of the negative effect the literary label can have. Who gets to make these decisions? Who is amazing and awesome enough to decide whether a book has "qualities of literary genius"? The label does things to readers that it shouldn't. It creates a box that limits the potential a great story has to effect more people, imo.

  3. Sophie May 15, 2014 at 7:50 pm - Reply

    Literary or not, a good story is worth reading. Love seeing you grow as a writer!

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