There’s an odd stigma in the literary world that genre fiction holds less merit and is somehow less important, relying too heavily on bells and whistles that literary fiction writers refrain from implementing. I call bullshit through cupped hands through a megaphone. Good genre fiction not only provides thought provoking allegories, asks existential questions, as well as epiphanies of self-realization, but these stories that people scoff at provide a much broader gateway for burgeoning readers and writers to become immersed in the literary world.
Writers of genre fiction may have their heads in the clouds often, but getting lost in another world or way of life is all some people want when they sit down to read. I believe our journal should display the wide taste in subject matter that can reach and appeal to a diverse demographic of people. A literary journal that limits its fiction section to solely consist of literary fiction can, over time, appear stagnant and one-note. The addition of genre fiction stories gives a journal far more options for what will appear on the cover of any given issue of the magazine (or header, in the case of an online magazine), as well as the order stories will be displayed in the journal which can greater exemplify linear themes and techniques throughout various kinds of stories, told in different ways.
Iconic genre fiction has challenged and contributed to the way generations of readers perceive the mold of a story and raise the expectation of what a fictional story can say and do to enthrall a reader.
I believe that unless a literary journal is trying to make a name for itself or stand apart as a prestigious literary fiction journal, it’s doing itself a massive disservice by ignoring the interest, skill, and passion that writers of all levels have for genre fiction. The demand for genre fiction has prompted new literary magazines such as Rivet: The Journal of Writing That Risks and Remarkable Doorways. More and more literary magazines like these two are looking for groundbreaking or immersion-worthy genre fiction with each passing month; at least seven have sprouted up in the first two months of this new year.
Runestone can provide an outlet for aspiring undergraduate writers that aren’t ready or aren’t comfortable submitting literary fiction. Runestone can incentivize burgeoning writers to want to submit and work on their stories, giving them a leg up in the arduous process of being prolific in the literary world.
I would love to see a wide array of diversity both in content and voice in Runestone. I firmly believe if our literary journal is going to be compromised of work from undergrads, edited by undergrads, then the journal should appeal to, and represent, undergrads.
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