As part of my ongoing quest to become an educated writer, I am looking at fine arts writing programs. One of the things I have noticed about all of these programs is that none of them want their participants to write science fiction or fantasy work. I find this idea strange given that one of the largest sections of any bookstore, perhaps dwarfed only by romance, is the science fiction and fantasy section.
I agree that I am treading dangerous waters with the academic writing world by calling this idea into question. After all, large amounts of the science fiction and fantasy genre are not what one could call high literature. nevertheless, the size of the section at the bookstore proves a powerful point: people read sc-fi and fantasy.
There is a value to literary writing, and I think that every writer should take the time to read and try to write some of it. Literary writing elevates the writer and the reader to the higher plane of thinking that has helped propel 2,000 years of Western advancement. It is also writing targeted at a specific, and small, audience.
I think that fine arts writing programs would do writers and the world a great service if they would consider the possibility of targeting genres of fiction that people actually read. Improving the quality of genre writing cannot help but improve the way people think in general, even if that quality is couched in flights of fancy and imagination.
In the mean time, I guess I need to come up with 20-30 pages of literary writing.