The young writer or the very new writer most often begins with a story or a poem in mind. The subject calls to them, pesters them, until one day they say, “Enough already! I’ll write it down!” After that first adventure, they may start thinking about publishing what they’ve written. They buy some books on craft and some books on formatting and then maybe Writer’s Market or Best in Print. Maybe they join an online critique group.
They sit down to write their cover letter or their query letter and suddenly, they realize that they have to categorize what they’ve written. Is it science fiction? Neo-existentialist? Postmodern? Mainstream? Literary? Wait..what the hell is “literary” anyway? And somewhere along the line, someone tells them that if they want to make money, they have to write genre fiction, but if they want their writing to last, they have to write literary.
Bullshit on both counts.