Thursday, February 15, 2018

Discussion: Why I Read Fiction


This Week’s Topic: Why I Read Fiction

I have always been a reader. As I got older, my reading became more required reading, and then largely, professional reading. I was really happy to return to pleasure reading, and most importantly, reading fiction. 


I love fiction! It allows me to escape from everyday life, which I must admit, can become pretty mundane and even perturbing. In a work of fiction, wonderful and unlikely things can happen. Things that seem unlikely are probable, and things that seem outlandish are common in many fictional works. I think reading about things like that give me some relief from real life, but also keep me hopeful about certain things. 

So, what prompted this reflection? I saw one too many reviews this past week, where people were complaining about the fiction being too fictional. 


I was pretty perplexed by this, but apparently, there are a lot of people out there, who want their fiction to be more realistic. I also saw a tweet, where the person was looking for more realistic fantasy. 


I don't know. I guess I am ok with my fiction being fictional. It can be unrealistic and over the top because that's what I am expecting. 


Now it's your turn!


What are you feelings about fiction? 
Let us know in the comments!

34 comments:

  1. That GIF for more realistic fantasy had me laughing!! I guess I understand more realistic fiction around realistic events and important representations. However there are times when fiction is just fiction and can be unrealistic. I tend to love those :)

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    1. I primarily read contemporaries, so a lot of the story elements are firmly based in reality, but the complaints I have seen have been with particular elements of the story. I get you want people represented properly and if the book is not set in a fictional location, that needs to be represented right, but I feel like any events can be as fictional as the author wants them to be.

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  2. I like realistic fiction because it's more relatable. I understand heightening situations or characters to make it more interesting, though. I mean, a story about my life would be boring! But I don't need fantasy to be more realistic, that's not really the point of it!

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    1. I guess it would depend on the topic. There are a lot of 9/11 books and books dealing with assault and things like that. I think they have a responsibility to be very realistic, but in the case of the books I saw the scathing call-outs on, they were romances and espionage books. Just pure fiction. Yeah, that fantasy comment left me scratching my head, and also provided quite a few chuckles.

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  3. More realistic fantasy huh? LOL Unless the book is realistic fiction, then I don't mind suspending disbelief on things and just getting caught up in the story. I mean, it's NOT REAL! lol

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. That is exactly how I feel. Realistic fiction has to be done properly. The treatment of the subject matter must be well rooted in reality, but a legit, straight-up fiction book, can be as outlandish as it wants to be in my opinion.

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  4. I read more fiction then anything else and agree with you I am good with fiction being fiction. I struggle if the fiction does become more realish and then I do want harder topics to be dealt with well. If an author is going to write something that does appear more real I want it dealt with more real not the back and forth between real and fiction.

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    1. I do read some of those weightier fiction books, but I have to admit, I lean more towards the lighter ones. I think in realistic fiction, the people or the place can be fictional, but the issue must be handled as close to real life as possible. Like Angela said a few comments up, a little embellishment in a realistic fiction novel is acceptable to make it more interesting, but there's a limit to where you can warp what was supposed to be realistic fiction.

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  5. So interesting that you bring this up because I’ve been mentally toying with a post about fiction vs. reality which is kinda-sorta similar to what you’ve mentioned. Fiction is just that... fiction. As in, imaginary people and events. And if some license is taken with that, I’m usually all for it. As attached as I sometimes get (LOL), I do realize these are not real people making real decisions.

    And I’m still scratching my head over the person who wanted more realistic fantasy. Bahaha!

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    1. I am happy everyone around here agrees that fantasy is supposed to be unrealistic. I get the need to be realistic about certain aspects in certain kinds of fictional books. A lot of good points were made about realistic fiction, but even then, I think it really depends on what specifically the author is over fictionalizing .

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  6. I turn to fiction for the same reason you do, to leave the real world behind for a while.

    I'm sure realistic fiction is a thing, but I wouldn't choose to read such books, because partly they would involve the world I'm looking to escape... if that makes sense :)

    Ronnie @ Paradise Found

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    1. For me, the less realistic, the better. I know what people are talking about in terms of realistic fiction, but the specific examples that rubbed me the wrong way, were purely fictional. They were romances and action books. They were never rooted in the reality the way a book chronicling someone with cancer or a book set in WWII would be.

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  7. I love escapist fiction. Sometimes I don’t want to think about real life. I want to read something fun, and strange, and dangerous and just chill out. I’m okay with fiction being fictional.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. I read to escape. The world is so ugly, and I am constantly bombarded by hate and terrible things. I need the break. I take it via book. I am more than happy to suspend reality.

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  8. I read fiction for pretty much the same reason too- it's a form of escape, and it has always been so for me! I think people should get off their high horses and stop looking down on fiction and calling it too....fictional. Smh. I tend to gravitate towards contemporary, realistic fiction most of the time, but I do so love it all!

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    1. I love this! I do sometimes think people are trying to over intellectualize things. I am not really a nitpicker and I try to keep an open mind when I read, because it's fiction. I am ok if there are inconsistencies with my reality.

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  9. Fiction is an escape for me too--it gives me a chance to see the world from another POV, maybe travel and learn foreign cultures, and just have fun. I've given up TV (with the exception of the nightly/morning news so I can stay in the current and now the Olympics) so I can read more.

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    1. I do not watch too much TV (trust issues, they keep cancelling any shows I like), but interestingly enough, you brought up instances where I would want the author to lean more towards reality. If the author is showcasing a foreign culture or a particular point of interest, I think they should not embellish too much, because you need to represent real things in a responsible way, but plot lines can be out there and I would be fine with that.

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  10. Any post with a Peeta gif is a win, so there's that! Here's my thing: I don't expect fiction to be like reality, but I expect it to be believable in context, if that makes sense? Like- if you're going to have magic or dragons or whatever, fine, just do it in a way that feels authentic- like this world *could* make sense, even if it doesn't exist? I don't think I am saying what I want to say in the right way hahah. Because I have read books with some pretty out-there worlds and plots that seem totally legit. Like- I just reviewed Honor Among Thieves, and it's about a sentient spaceship, so obviously NOT realistic. But it all just worked. But some books that are more on the realistic side SEEM less believable. I think it all comes down to the writing, how the story is told? I hope that made sense, even a little :)

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    1. I agree that it really depends on the context and the way the author approaches the subject matter, but I guess my problem is, I have seen reviewers rip apart books that didn't really claim to be "realistic fiction", and I kind of wonder what they thought they were getting themselves into. And fantasy is no hold-barred, all the way out there, can do whatever it wants as far as I'm concerned.

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  11. I like fictional fiction, but I also want my characters to feel realistic. I hope that makes sense, lol. I'm trying to put my thoughts into words, but this one is tough... Okay, so recently in a book I read (fiction) the main character was a teenager in high school, but the way she spoke and acted didn't feel very authentic to me. So, if I say I wanted something more realistic in fiction, I'm usually talking about how a character is behaving (or not behaving).

    Do You Dog-ear?

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    1. I think that is why we love flawed characters so much, because being too perfect is not realistic. I have to say, I have seen a lot of people comment on teen characters speaking in a certain way and not feeling real. I have seen it a lot with John Green books, but I worked in a high school for 12 years, and my kids were all over the place as far as intelligence and experience, and I had conversations with teens that made me want to look at their driver's license. I think that is why I never feel that way when I encounter teens in books.

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  12. Reading is a great escape! But I think I understand what those people are saying. I only read sci-fi and fantasy, but I still like the characters to act realistically, the world-building to make sense, etc. So I also like my fantasy to be realistic in that sense. If something is too unrealistic, it ends up on being an escape for me cuz then I'm distracted and taken out of the story lol.

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    1. Don't you feel like people complain about the realism in books, but let it slide more in movies and TV shows? I get you want people to be realistic, and I would think an author would try to accomplish this, because they want people to be able to relate on some level, but I give them a little wiggle room, because I don't want the character to be too common or boring.

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  13. I'm probably one of those people who wants fiction to be more "realistic". For me that goes more into setting up characters with realistic personalities and logical reasoning behind key decisions. It can also go into the world the author built in the sense of establishing certain boundaries and rules for the fictional universe they created and sticking to that. What I don't want to happen is a character all of a sudden having the ability to read minds when it has already been stated that *in that specific world* it's impossible. Did that make any sense? :)

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    1. I can totally understand that. I like that you mention an author establishing boundaries. I know you read a lot of paranormals and I can see that being really important in PNR. I think I would be scratching my head if the author was breaking their own rules too.

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  14. 99% of what I read if fiction! I can't believe people are upset about it being too fictional. I think things need to make sense and the story needs to flow, but fiction I can handle. I think fiction needs to follow the parameters set in the story. Great topic!

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    1. I guess everyone looks for something different in their fiction. I am very open minded, and as long as it does not offend me, I have no problem with out there elements. Another person talked about following your own rules when writing a story, and that is a big yes. If the author already established that something could never happen, they better have a really, really good explanation for how it did.

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  15. OMG!! I can't believe that someone actually said that a piece of fiction they were reading was "too fictional"! That sounds crazy, lol. Maybe what they meant was that something in the work they were reading did not seem plausible enough. That would probably be a better way to put it. In other words, if it's been established that a character has certain powers, and they suddenly can't use them, for example, the author should have established why they suddenly couldn't use them. What Karen said above is perfectly true: "I think fiction needs to follow the parameters set in the story/" That's exactly what I'm trying to say. Well stated, Karen!! :)

    People who say they don't enjoy reading any type of fantasy or science fiction because these genres are "not realistic", simply have NO imagination. We ALL know that, no matter how many times you say "Wingardium Leviosa!!" and wave a wand around, IN THE 'REAL' WORLD, nothing is going to levitate, but heck, if you're INSIDE the world of Harry Potter as you're reading, if your mind has been taken there, objects DO levitate whenever a character says these words, and waves their wand around. It's called "suspension of disbelief", and I HEARTILY enjoy it!! Take me out of MUNDANE, BORING reality anytime!! LOL.

    As you can see, I'm a HUGE lover of fiction!! (And nonfiction, too, for that matter. It all depends on my mood.)

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic!! <3 <3 :) :)

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    1. I read mostly contemporaries, and I really like crawling into a world that allows things to be different from the one I live in. Karen and Mikky both talk about following the ways of the pre-established world, which if I apply to contemporaries, it would really take a lot of the fun out of these books. Unless that out of norm thing offends me, I usually just roll my eyes and move it. It's not a deal breaker for me.

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  16. Interesting discussion. I'm not sure I even understand the idea of realistic fantasy. I read fantasy specifically because I love going to other worlds that are nothing like the reality we live in.

    As far as the fiction I read, I guess it depends on whether or not it's a contemporary or something like historical fiction. I read a lot of WWII based historical fiction and it would bother me if that weren't as realistic as possible as least as it pertains to details of the war itself. Contemporaries on other hand, I'm usually good with whatever direction they go in plotwise because I'm reading those for entertainment. I like for the storyline to be believable but beyond that, I'm good.

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    1. Right? Being realistic seems to defy the whole purpose of fantasy. I guess Urban Fantasy may be more rooted in reality or magical realism? But legit fantasy and high fantasy are just that - out there and other worldly. I think if you are going to take on a historic event, you need to do so responsibly, even if the characters are fictional and maybe some of the side events. Unless you are doing an alternate history (which I personally find fascinating). I think as far as contemporaries go, I need to be able to believe in some part of the story, but it doesn't all have to be super realistic. I also take it with a grain, that my reality is not necessarily someone else's reality.

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  17. I think the call for "realistic fantasy" is more about a story making sense within its own fantastical world. That doesn't mean that there can't be elements of the story that are completely out there, but if I find myself rolling my eyes and wondering how in the heck such-and-such would work within the worldbuilding that's been set forth, that can sometimes be a problem. For the most part, I don't have a problem suspending disbelief, though.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. That I can understand, but I think for me, fantasy is supposed to be out there, beyond my imagination. I love fiction for the all the ways it does not resemble real life, so I am so open to things when I read or watch a movie/TV show.

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