I came across this picture/ quote today on Facebook and I’ve been wanting to write a blog on this very thing for quite sometime. I just never have the time. Imagine that.
So, I’m taking the time now to do so.
According to Dictionary.com Fiction is defined as:
1. the class of literature comprising works of imaginative narration, especially in prose form.
2. works of this class, as novels or short stories: detective fiction.
3. something feigned, invented, or imagined; a made-up story: We’ve all heard the fiction of her being in delicate health.
4. the act of feigning, inventing, or imagining.
5. an imaginary thing or event, postulated for the purposes of argument or explanation.
Where up there does it say anything about “reality” or “keeping it as close to reality as possible?” Not a single place. Fiction is imagination is over-drive with added excitement and thrills to help the reader “escape” the reality of life. IMO anyway…and it’s very closely related to how it’s defined.
For fun I looked up Non-fiction:
1. writing dealing with facts and events rather than imaginative narration
OH! Look at that…dealing with FACTS and events RATHER than IMAGINATIVE narration. (Rather than FICTION)
Which brings us to why I’ve been wanting to create this blog/post for a long time. OH, for about four years or so…Why?
I’ll say the biggest reason is because not only do I review FICTION books, but I write them too. And when I happen upon a review done by others and they say things along the lines of: “Well, that’s just not possible, that’s not how it works, that’s so not true, it took me out of the story because it’s not REALISTIC!”
Excuse me but WHAT?! Fiction stories are NOT real stories to start with. So, why in the name of hell would one want to have REALISM in a fictional story? If that’s the case, why not go pick up a NON-FICTION book and read that? Then one can get all the boring they want. OR learn all they want. OR experience all they want. Why do people who buy/borrow/steal a fiction story then piece by piece chop it up because it’s sooo unrealistic? See, that’s the point of a fictional story…its NOT meant to be realistic. It’s meant to take one away on a journey to a pretend land, place, with pretend people to see and read about their pretend lives. And it does NOT have to be labeled in the fictional section as “fantasy,” either. Not all fictional stories are fantasy. They are meant to resemble realistic situations but are not. And for those who can’t figure out the difference between fiction and non-fiction…um…perhaps close your eyes and try to allow your mind to relax and accept this for what it is.
When I see a review done on a fiction story and the reviewer/reader says something along the lines of: “It’s NOT realistic,” “It’s not the way it’s really done.” “Oh that character is so far out there I find it impossible to believe in him/her/it.” I want to scream.
I want so ask that person a few questions. So, since I can’t ask any single person in fear of setting said person off to then turn around and say: “OH, she’s a RANTING author. She’s behaving badly.” (eye roll here) As an author one can’t ask the reviewer/reader why they say such a thing in today’s world. They’ll develop a bad rap before you can snap your fingers. Don’t believe me? Just look up: Badly behaving authors…make sure you use the MM Genre when doing so. I totally understand why many of those labeled with the tag: Badly behaving author, are in that folder to start with. Many readers/reviewers don’t like just one thing, just one character, just one scene and voice their opinion, then others chime in to agree with the leader of the pack…(I guess they must find a place to fit in.)
One of my characters from the Lethal Obsession series is very flamboyant and very chatty and very loving, he’s someone I wouldn’t mind having in my life. He’s not afraid to speak his mind, he’s not ashamed of who he is, he’s proud to be gay, and loves his family dearly. He is who he is. Love him or leave him alone. But guess what…he’s NOT real… however, in saying that, there are men out in this big world who ARE just like him. So, when I was shown a review that someone wrote on that story and picked on Nicholas, I wanted to blow. How dare she say he’s fake and annoying and she could not stand him due to his “ways” that she hated the story, and refused to finish the book. NEVER mind the fact that the story is incredibly deep on a level I don’t think she could get her mind to grab, never mind the fact that the story has more than ONE damn meaning. OH and lets not forget… When I write a story…the plot isn’t about sex. Can that story make it if I took out the sex scenes? YES. I’d rather not write a story with sex, because that’s not the main focal point for my characters. They find themselves in rather sticky situations and they don’t have time to stop what they’re doing to get off. I like to say that or think that, we are only seeing a small part of these characters lives, and since I’m big on plot and characterization I’d rather spend that time writing for them showing what makes that part of their lives, or focusing on a special event in their lives that makes it story worthy. That’s my philosophy though.”He’s not realistic.” “He’s too gay.” “He’s like a kid.” I want to ask that individual how often s/he gets out to meet the people in the REAL world, not the so called fictional world created by a person who writes about pretend people in a pretend world, what in the name of hell is wrong with you? THERE are men just like him. Open your mind and eyes a bit. AND even IF there weren’t guess what? It’s a fictional character in a fictional story.
Soap operas- Fictional to the nth degree. Why are we so ready to get lost in a soap opera and take it for what it is, yet not able to take a fictional book the same way. There are characters that you love to hate and hate to love. There are story lines that really make no sense on any level and some that do. Plot holes galore. I mean come on, when was the last time you saw one of them dressed in jeans with holes in them. OR living in a trailer in a trailer park? Better yet…do they even work? Sure, we “see” them in their offices, but you can bet they aren’t working. More often than not they’re either getting it on over the desk or fighting. That’s ALL they do while at work…and not all of them work. I suppose they stepped into money.
So, what’s the difference between the soap opera and a fictional story?
When I write a story, and I write deep angsty stuff that deals with “what could”‘ be happening, what probably has happened, what probably will happen, and what probably is happening, it’s still a fictional account of my characters and their fictional lives. Who gives anyone the right to say “It’s not really that way.” or “So unrealistic I had a hard time getting into it.” OR my least favorite of all time: “People aren’t like that.” I want to have a one on one with that person and ask “How do you know? It’s FICTION. It’s MADE up. It’s NOT meant to be real. It’s not a true story. It’s a story written by characters in my head that aren’t real to anyone but perhaps myself.”
Do you know how long research takes to write a fictional story? WE do have to put “realistic” parts that others probably don’t even thought to, just so that story is with the times and the characters are not using items that perhaps weren’t available to them at the time the story takes place. In writing Deserted I came up against this: Cell phones. I ended up cutting a scene that had dealt with one of the characters using his cell, but the story takes place in the 90’s. Have to keep them in order on a time line. And naturally I had something along the lines that the character had a touch screen. Then added a GPS feature. I read it over and realized that back then, we didn’t have touch screens as we do today and the GPS feature in the phones then are nothing like they are today. The scene wasn’t cut due to the phone, though. It was cut because it was in the first draft and no longer necessary by the second/third go over.
In that, fictional books do take some research so they don’t throw a reader out of the story over the small stuff. But when it comes to the characters and what’s going on during that time of their lives, take it for what it is. Allow yourself to believe. Not everything has to be real.