Literary fiction is a solipsistic mental patient, gazing at itself in a mirror. Very little is happening, except the internal churning of its little grey cells. Literary fiction demands center stage, simultaneously fascinating and repulsing the reader as its flesh is peeled away like layers of onion skin, revealing the bare bones of angst-ridden minimalism. It resides in the self-contained world where it presides over itself. It uses the spare, forceful language of an OCD scrabble champion, invoking triple word score metaphors.
In therapy literary fiction contends with its world weary ennui, cynicism, and laconic empathy. It needs to work on social skills and developing sustainable relationships based on respect. Less dark sarcasm and condescending attitude. More happy faces and smiles.
Popular fiction is the good-natured codependent man child that aims to please everyone. Always on the go go while scarfing down a ho ho. Easy-going and full of life, it fills the emotional void in its life with vapid sentiment. Popular fiction lacks a sense of self, instead playing the part that is demanded of it by others. Popular fiction is always trying to escape its current living arrangements. It speaks with plain, everyday words, often in an amusing and quaint dialect.
Unencumbered by even the remote semblance of reality, popular fiction can dream big. It needs intense therapy to confront the deep seated trauma and pain of its author that it attempts to bury beneath escapism and dysfunctional relationships with readers.