Fiction is any creative work (chiefly, any narrative work) consisting of people, events, or places that are imaginary—in other words, not based strictly on history or fact.In its most narrow usage, fiction refers to written narratives in prose and often specifically novels, though also novellas and short stories. More broadly, fiction has come to encompass imaginary narratives expressed in any medium, including not just writings but also live theatrical performances, films, television programs, radio dramas, comics, role-playing games, and video games.
A work of fiction implies the inventive construction of an imaginary world and, most commonly, its fictionality is publicly acknowledged, so its audience typically expects it to deviate in some ways from the real world rather than presenting only characters who are actual people or portrayals that are factually accurate.Since fiction is generally understood as not fully adhering to the real world, its themes and its context, such as if and how it relates to true issues or events, are open to various interpretations. Characters and events within some fictional works may even exist in their own context entirely separate from the known physical universe: an independent fictional universe.
In contrast to fiction is its traditional opposite: non-fiction, in which the creator assumes responsibility for presenting only the historical and factual truth. Despite the usual distinction between fiction and non-fiction, some modern works blur the boundary, particularly ones that fall under certain experimental storytelling genres—including some postmodern fiction, autofiction,or creative nonfiction like non-fiction novels and docudramas—as well as deliberate literary frauds, which are falsely marketed as nonfiction.
Traditionally, fiction includes novels, short stories, fables, legends, myths, fairy tales, epic and narrative poetry, plays (including operas, musicals, dramas, puppet plays, and various kinds of theatrical dances). However, fiction may also encompass comic books, and many animated cartoons, stop motions, anime, manga, films, video games, radio programs, television programs (comedies and dramas), etc.
The Internet has had a major impact on the creation and distribution of fiction, calling into question the feasibility of copyright as a means to ensure royalties are paid to copyright holders.Also, digital libraries such as Project Gutenberg make public domain texts more readily available. The combination of inexpensive home computers, the Internet, and the creativity of its users has also led to new forms of fiction, such as interactive computer games or computer-generated comics. Countless forums for fan fiction can be found online, where loyal followers of specific fictional realms create and distribute derivative stories. The Internet is also used for the development of blog fiction, where a story is delivered through a blog either as flash fiction or serial blog, and collaborative fiction, where a story is written sequentially by different authors, or the entire text can be revised by anyone using a wiki.
Types of literary fiction in prose are distinguished by relative length and include:
Fiction is commonly broken down into a variety of genres: subsets of fiction, each differentiated by a particular unifying tone or style; set of narrative techniques, archetypes, or other tropes; media content; or other popularly defined criterion. Science fiction, for example, predicts or supposes technologies that are not realities at the time of the work's creation: Jules Verne's novel From the Earth to the Moon was published in 1865 while in 1969 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first persons to land on the Moon.
Historical fiction places imaginary characters into real historical events. In the 1814 historical novel Waverley , Sir Walter Scott's fictional character Edward Waverley meets a figure from history, Bonnie Prince Charlie, and takes part in the Battle of Prestonpans. Some works of fiction are slightly or greatly re-imagined based on some originally true story, or a reconstructed biography.Often, even when the fictional story is based on fact, there may be additions and subtractions from the true story to make it more interesting. An example is Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried , a 1990 series of short stories about the Vietnam War.
Fictional works that explicitly involve supernatural, magical, or scientifically impossible elements are often classified under the genre of fantasy, including Lewis Carroll's 1865 novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland , J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, and J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings . Creators of fantasy sometimes introduce imaginary creatures and beings such as dragons and fairies.
Literary fiction is a term used in the book-trade to distinguish novels that are regarded as having literary merit, from most commercial or "genre" fiction.
Neal Stephenson has suggested that while any definition will be simplistic there is today a general cultural difference between literary and genre fiction. On the one hand literary authors nowadays are frequently supported by patronage, with employment at a university or a similar institution, and with the continuation of such positions determined not by book sales but by critical acclaim by other established literary authors and critics. On the other hand, he suggests, genre fiction writers tend to support themselves by book sales.However, in an interview, John Updike lamented that "the category of 'literary fiction' has sprung up recently to torment people like me who just set out to write books, and if anybody wanted to read them, terrific, the more the merrier. ... I'm a genre writer of a sort. I write literary fiction, which is like spy fiction or chick lit". Likewise, on The Charlie Rose Show , he argued that this term, when applied to his work, greatly limited him and his expectations of what might come of his writing, so he does not really like it. He suggested that all his works are literary, simply because "they are written in words".
Literary fiction often involves social commentary, political criticism, or reflection on the human condition.In general it focuses on "introspective, in-depth character studies" of "interesting, complex and developed" characters. This contrasts with genre fiction where plot is the central concern. Usually in literary fiction the focus is on the "inner story" of the characters who drive the plot, with detailed motivations to elicit "emotional involvement" in the reader. The style of literary fiction is often described as "elegantly written, lyrical, and ... layered". The tone of literary fiction can be darker than genre fiction, while the pacing of literary fiction may be slower than popular fiction. As Terrence Rafferty notes, "literary fiction, by its nature, allows itself to dawdle, to linger on stray beauties even at the risk of losing its way".
Realistic fiction typically involves a story whose basic setting (time and location in the world) is real and whose events could feasibly happen in a real-world setting; in contrast, speculative fiction typically involves a story where the opposite is the case, often being set in an entirely imaginary universe, an alternative history of the world other than that currently understood as true, or some other non-existent location or time-period, sometimes even presenting impossible technology or defiance of the currently understood laws of nature. However, all types of fiction arguably invite their audience to explore real ideas, issues, or possibilities in an otherwise imaginary setting or using what is understood about reality to mentally construct something similar to reality, though still distinct from it.
In terms of the traditional separation between fiction and non-fiction, the lines are now commonly understood as blurred, showing more overlap than mutual exclusion. Even fiction usually has elements of or grounding in, truth. The distinction between the two may be best defined from the perspective of the audience, according to whom a work is regarded as non-fiction if its people, places, and events are all historically or factually real, while a work is regarded as fiction if it deviates from reality in any of those areas. The distinction between fiction and non-fiction is further obscured by an understanding, on the one hand, that the truth can be presented through imaginary channels and constructions, while, on the other hand, imagination can just as well bring about significant conclusions about truth and reality. [ citation needed ]
Literary critic James Wood, argues that "fiction is both artifice and verisimilitude", meaning that it requires both creative inventions as well as some acceptable degree of believability,a notion often encapsulated in poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge's term: willing suspension of disbelief. Also, infinite fictional possibilities themselves signal the impossibility of fully knowing reality, provocatively demonstrating that there is no criterion to measure constructs of reality.
Nonfiction is any document or media content that intends, in good faith, to present only truth and accuracy regarding information, events, or people. Nonfictional content may be presented either objectively or subjectively. Sometimes taking the form of a story, nonfiction is one of the fundamental divisions of narrative writing — in contrast to fiction, which offers information, events, or characters expected to be partly or largely imaginary, or else leaves open if and how the work refers to reality.
A novella is a short novel, that is, a narrative prose fiction whose length is shorter than that of most novels, but longer than most short stories. No official definition exists regarding the number of pages or words necessary for a story to be considered a novella or a novel. US-based Writers of America defines a novella's word count to be between 17,500 and 40,000 words.
Shirley Hardie Jackson was an American writer, known primarily for her works of horror and mystery. Over the duration of her writing career, which spanned over two decades, she composed six novels, two memoirs, and more than 200 short stories.
A metafiction is a form of fiction which emphasizes its own constructedness in a way that continually reminds readers to be aware that they are reading or viewing a fictional work. Metafiction is self-conscious about language, literary form, and story-telling, and works of metafiction directly or indirectly draw attention to their status as artifacts. Metafiction is frequently used as a form of parody or a tool to undermine literary conventions and explore the relationship between literature and reality, life, and art.
A literary genre is a category of literary composition. Genres may be determined by literary technique, tone, content, or even length. They generally move from more abstract, encompassing classes, which are then further sub-divided into more concrete distinctions. The distinctions between genres and categories are flexible and loosely defined, and even the rules designating genres change over time and are fairly unstable.
A fictional book is a text created specifically for a work in an imaginary narrative that is referred to, depicted, or excerpted in a story, book, film, or other fictional work, and which exists only in one or more fictional works. A fictional book may be created to add realism or depth to a larger fictional work. For example, George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four has excerpts from a book by Emmanuel Goldstein entitled The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism which provides background on concepts explored in the novel.
The Things They Carried (1990) is a collection of linked short stories by American novelist Tim O'Brien, about a platoon of American soldiers fighting on the ground in the Vietnam War. His third book about the war, it is based upon his experiences as a soldier in the 23rd Infantry Division.
Literary fiction is a term used in the book-trade to distinguish novels that are regarded as having literary merit, from most commercial or "genre" fiction. However, the boundaries are not fixed, and major literary figures have employed the genres of science fiction, crime fiction, romance, etc, to create works of literature. Furthermore, the study of genre fiction has developed within academia in recent decades.
Fiction writing is the composition of non-factual prose texts. Fictional writing often is produced as a story meant to entertain or convey an author's point of view. The result of this may be a short story, novel, novella, screenplay, or drama, which are all types of fictional writing styles. Different types of authors practice fictional writing, including novelists, playwrights, short story writers, radio dramatists and screenwriters.
Suspense is a state of mental uncertainty, anxiety, being undecided, or being doubtful. In a dramatic work, suspense is the anticipation of the outcome of a plot or of the solution to an uncertainty, puzzle, or mystery, particularly as it affects a character for whom one has sympathy. However, suspense is not exclusive to fiction.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to fiction:
Literature broadly is any collection of written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expanded to include oral literature, much of which has been transcribed. Literature is a method of recording, preserving, and transmitting knowledge and entertainment, and can also have a social, psychological, spiritual, or political role.
Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction set in a fictional universe, often inspired by real world myth and folklore. Its roots are in oral traditions, which then became fantasy literature and drama. From the twentieth century it has expanded further into various media, including film, television, graphic novels, manga, animated movies and video games.
A novel is a relatively long work of narrative fiction, typically written in prose and published as a book. The present English word for a long work of prose fiction derives from the Italian: novella for "new", "news", or "short story of something new", itself from the Latin: novella, a singular noun use of the neuter plural of novellus, diminutive of novus, meaning "new".
Quantum fiction is a literary genre that reflects modern experience of the material world and reality as influenced by quantum theory and new principles in quantum physics. The genre is not necessarily science-themed and blurs the line separating science fiction and fantasy into a broad scope of mainstream literature that transcends the mechanical model of science and involves the fantasy of human perception or imagination as realistic components affecting the every day physical world. Quantum fiction is characterized by the use of an element in quantum mechanics as a storytelling device. In quantum fiction, everyday life hinges on some aspect of the quantum nature of reality.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to fantasy:
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire media franchise:
Non-fictional discourse is usually embedded in a context that tells you how to take it: an instruction manual, a newspaper report, a letter from a charity. The context of fiction, though, explicitly leaves open the question of what the fiction is really about. Reference to the world is not so much a property of literary [i.e. fictional] works as a function they are given by interpretation.
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