How different is your experience writing a story (or poem) without speculative fiction elements, as opposed to writing Spec Fic?And my answer:
Strangely enough, I don't actually distinguish between writing specfic and realist fiction. It may be because of my relative immaturity as a writer, but I really see the story in terms of the characters and the plot, and possibly the theme.
When I write, I try to get into the head of the main character, and I try to determine his or her reaction to the situation. I like to think that I'm Chestertonian in my outlook (see the chapter "The Ethics of Elfland" in "Orthodoxy") and so every situation has its own "strangeness." And I think that's only right, because otherwise, it ain't worth writing about.