Genre tips

Today’s #AtoZChallenge: Upmarket

A to Z Challenge asks bloggers to post every day except Sundays during the month of April on a thematic topic–nothing else. This year, I’ll be covering writing genres.

Today’s genre:



Fiction that blurs the line between commercial and literary

Tipsa to z

  1. It’s literary fiction with commercial potential.
  2. Tackle commercial themes in a fresh, well-constructed way.
  3. Include universal themes everyone can relate to.
  4. The aim should be thoughtful, accessible to real life.
  5. It should be appropriate for book club discussions.
  6. Women’s fiction often is included in this category.
  7. Think: Character-driven plots.
  8. Make sure the storyline appeals to mainstream fiction readers while the depth appeals to literary fiction readers.

Popular Books

  1. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  2. Jodi Picoult’s books
  3. The Lovely Bones by Alice Siebold
  4. Michael Chabon’s books.
  5. The Passage by Justin Cronin
  6. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  7. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  8. The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles
  9. The Magus by John Fowles

Click for complete list of genres

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller, To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning. The sequel to To Hunt a Sub, Twenty-four Days, is scheduled for May, 2017. Click to follow its progress.

57 thoughts on “Today’s #AtoZChallenge: Upmarket

  1. Pingback: #AtoZChallenge: Genres–sUbterranean Fiction | WordDreams...

  2. Pingback: Today’s #AtoZChallenge: Genres–Urban Fantasy | WordDreams...

  3. That’s an interesting genre description – Upmarket – a cross between commercial and literary, seems an odd mix. I read the lovely bones and am curious to know where commercialism fits in? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your tip #8, 8.Make sure the storyline appeals to mainstream fiction readers while the depth appeals to literary fiction readers, had me thinking it would be a very difficult genre to attempt. Then I saw your list of books, including Water For Elephants, and realized that it worked quite well for many writers, talented authors all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with everything you just wrote. Maybe Upmarket authors just write and that’s how it comes out. I don’t know anyone who sets out to write Upmarket, as you might decide to write Fan Fiction or Fantasy.


  5. Okay, this is another one that I didn’t know the name of but read quite a lot. John Fowles, Jodi Picoult, Alice Siebold all very enjoyable reads. Another name that would be part of my ‘upmarket’ reading is Daphne du Maurier’s books – loved them as a teen, and still do.


    Liked by 2 people

      • John Fowles was the guy who wrote The French Lieutenant’s Woman, that I think would be his most famous? Others include the Collector, and the Magus as listed by you.Mantissa, in total he’s written some 8-10 I think.


    • I dug into it when the name came up once too often at my last writer’s conference. Someone even asked the speaker what the heck ‘upmarket’ meant. He explained but it was with the attitude that of course, we understood. I didn’t!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I have heard of Upmarket, but now I know enough to be conversant on it. I was just thinking overnight how I had not kept up with your A to Z and wanted to circle back. Up until now I had not fully read your Bio. No wonder you have so much knowledge on genres!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you, Jacqui – I think this is what I write though another friend has told me it’s women’s commercial fiction. I’ve read most of the books on your list and would include Jaquelyn Mitchard in this genre.

    Makes me think that writing genres spread out like water without walls.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love your examples, some of which I’ve read. Anthony Doerr “All the Light we cannot See” and his ‘About Grace’ fall into this category as well as ‘The Light Between Oceans’ by M.L. Stedman comes to mind as well as Hermann Hesse’s ‘The Glass Bead Game’.

    Liked by 2 people

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