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Rated: E · Short Story · Writing · #2200306
Penny and Tobias talk about literary fiction.
Penny and Tobias sat in matching wooden rocking chairs, staring over the green yard and listening to the birds sing.

“I hate literary fiction,” Penny said.

Tobias took a drink of coffee from his plain white coffee mug. “I guess you didn’t like my manuscript.”

Penny took a drink of coffee from her beige coffee mug. “I didn’t say that. It just reminded me of that boring drivel they made us read in high school and college.”

“That’s what makes you a legendary writer.”

“I thought telling a decent story made you a writer.”

Tobias shrugged. “There was a story.”

“What was it?”

“It was how the world changed the relationship between the two protagonists.”

Penny snorted. “What was the plot?”

“Wasn’t it obvious? It was about how the daily choices of the characters changed their relationship.”

“Then it was literary, which means it was about nothing.”

“It wasn’t about nothing,” Tobias said. “There was tension between the characters. The story was about whether they would stay together or drift apart. Every scene added to that decision until it was made.”

Penny sighed. “There was no conflict. No adventure. No sense of tension. Just go to work, talk to friends, and come home. They decided they were better off apart in the final chapter. What do you think it means?

“It means the small details of each day impact the big issues of our lives.”

“Then it’s literary. Is that the kind of writer you want to be?”

“Literary work gets recognition.”

“Commercial fiction gets read,” Penny took another drink of her coffee. “You need to make up your mind. Do you want
praise, or readers?”

Tobias sighed. “I guess you can’t have both.” He snorted. “You’re right. I hate literary fiction, too.”

Penny laughed. “Then add a plot.”

Word count: 299
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