Genre tips

Today’s #AtoZChallenge: Genres–Literary Realism

The A to Z Challenge asks bloggers to post every day except Sundays during the month of April on a thematic topic. This year, my second year with A to Z, I’ll cover writing genres.

Today’s genre:

Literary Realism


Literary Realism: the faithful representation of reality

Tipsa to z

  1. Relate reality closely and in comprehensive detail with an emphasis on verisimilitude, even at the expense of a well-made plot.
  2. Relate common everyday events and experiences, even banal ones, without romanticizing.
  3. Make your characters more important than action and plot.
  4. Include complex ethical choices.
  5. Avoid imagery and figurative language.  Explain things without decorative language or sugar-coating.
  6. Often, novels in this genre serve the interests and aspirations of an insurgent middle class.
  7. Make events plausible rather than sensational or overly dramatic.
  8. Make voice natural; the tone may be comic, satiric, or matter-of-fact.
  9. Be objective in the presentation of ideas.

Popular Books

  1. The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekov
  2. The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope
  3. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
  4. John Steinbeck
  5. Frank Norris
  6. Theodore Dreiser
  7. Upton Sinclair
  8. Jack London
  9. Edith Wharton
  10. Henry James

Click for complete list of  2018 A to Z genres

More L Genres:


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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, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the upcoming Born in a Treacherous Time. 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.

56 thoughts on “Today’s #AtoZChallenge: Genres–Literary Realism

  1. Pingback: #AtoZChallenge: Genres–Lyrical Prose | WordDreams...

  2. I am going to have to read more! I haven’t read any of these. Would Camus be in this genre? Have just read The Scapegoat by Daphne De Murier – certainly that was stark. I like the sound of this genre anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Literary realism appeals me as it makes the literature worth reading and the readers can connect easily. The Rape Of the Lock is a very interesting study into human psyche and brilliantly ridicules how people react to minuscule incidents.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There are so many classic here, I wonder if it is more difficult to sell a modern book in this genre, today. Everyone wants flash (and a good plot). Yet, the books you’ve listed have stood the test of time and are still read and appreciated today. I love them!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. One of the basic ideas of Maxine Greene’s & incorporated into Lincoln Center Education’s philosophy is first of close observation: describing only what is seen, not affixing any thoughts, stories, explanations. Be in the moment, just observe. That is what comes to mind with the above. I know I sometimes get adjective heavy in some scenes I write, but I try to hold to the observation. Show, don’t tell.

    Tale Spinning

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Henry James and John Steinbeck are amazing when it comes to real life stories but then there are somany more aren’t there ? Like Mark Twain, Harper Lee, Jane Austen? How do you differentiate these authors from the ones you’ve mentioned ?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I read Jack London (The Call of the Wild and White Fang) when I was a kid and seem to remember that I enjoyed them but found them sad. Other than that I really don’t remember what the writing was like.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had to think back to that. It made me sad too but the characters were more living out their lives–including the wolf. If I think back, London was giving us insight into their world which didn’t revolve based on our emotion.


  8. Like your other commenters, I’m familiar with the works of many of the authors you’ve listed, but I hadn’t realized that they had their own genre with its own name. However, when I read your list of tips, I can see why they are grouped in this genre. Interesting. Thanks, Jacqui.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. I think a lot of books cross genres so where they fit in this one, they could just as well fit in another. This is a less-well-known genre so I would think authors would rather classify their books in one more people understood.


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