When we write literary fiction, we render an experience that has not been rendered before (that is, it’s original) in a language (a voice, style, diction) unique to that experience. Such fiction can’t be replicated. A writer who chooses to write a genre novel, even one with literary qualities, can find one in the appropriate genre to serve as a template. Once such a novel is found and analyzed section-by-section and scene-by-scene, writing the book requires filling in the template with your own material until it meets the requirements of the genre.
Though it’s possible to formulate such a template for literary fiction, it makes far better sense to enter a theater-of-the-mind and make sure that you give your reader sufficient and unique sensory detail to experience the human drama unfolding in that theater. It’s possible to write a novel in the style of any genre novelist you might care to name, for example, and to be praised (and rewarded) for doing so, but it’s not possible to write a Margaret Atwood or Haruki Murakami novel unless you happen to be Margaret Atwood or Haruki Murakami. Such a novel would be described, at best, as “promising but derivative.”
In real life, it sometimes pays to be cautious. In the literary theater-of-the-mind, the vertigo of trying to find your original voice is always risky but, as Annie Dillard reminds us, “You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.” Anything is possible on the page; if the wings don’t work, you’ll go splat, but you’ll live to tell the tale and try again. Take chances, make mistakes, and find your voice in the process.