General or Mainstream Fiction

A novel is considered “general” or “mainstream” if it is written for the average reader, cannot be categorized into a specific genre, or is so well written that it can be said to “exceed” its would-be genre. In addition, loosely defined subcategories like “men's fiction,” “women's fiction,” and “chick lit” can all be considered mainstream fiction.

Some bestselling novels that would be considered mainstream include The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks, and Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen.

Mainstream fiction usually has a strong hook or premise that is intriguing to a wide range of readers. The novel can be either plot driven or character driven, but usually the plot conforms to a traditional rather than a more experimental structure. The writing usually doesn't draw attention to itself, but serves the story.

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