Fiction

Last updated
An illustration from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, depicting the fictional protagonist, Alice, playing a fantastical game of croquet. Alice par John Tenniel 30.png
An illustration from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland , depicting the fictional protagonist, Alice, playing a fantastical game of croquet.

Fiction broadly refers to any narrative that is derived from the imagination—in other words, not based strictly on history or fact. [1] [2] [3] It can also refer, more narrowly, to narratives written only in prose (the novel and short story), and is often used as a synonym for the novel. [4]

A narrative is a report of connected events, real or imaginary, presented in a sequence of written or spoken words, or still or moving images, or both. The word derives from the Latin verb narrare, "to tell", which is derived from the adjective gnarus, "knowing" or "skilled".

Imagination creative ability

Imagination is the ability to produce and simulate novel objects, peoples and ideas in the mind without any immediate input of the senses. It is also described as the forming of experiences in the mind, which can be recreations of past experiences such as vivid memories with imagined changes or that they are completely invented. Imagination helps make knowledge applicable in solving problems and is fundamental to integrating experience and the learning process. A basic training for imagination is listening to storytelling (narrative), in which the exactness of the chosen words is the fundamental factor to "evoke worlds".

A fact is a thing that is known to be consistent with objective reality and can be proven to be true with evidence. For example, "this sentence contains words" is a linguistic fact, and "the sun is a star" is a cosmological fact. Further, "Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States" and "Abraham Lincoln was assassinated" are also both facts, of the historical type. All of these statements have the epistemic quality of being "ontologically superior" to opinion or interpretation — they are either categorically necessary or supported by adequate historical documentation.

Contents

Overview

In its most narrow usage fiction refers to novels, but it may also denote any "literary narrative" (see literary fiction), [5] [6] including novels, novellas, and short stories. More broadly, fiction has come to encompass imaginative storytelling in any format, including writings, theatrical performances, comics, films, television programs, animations, games (most notably, video games and role-playing games), and so on.

Literature written work of art

Literature, most generically, is any body of written works. More restrictively, literature refers to writing considered to be an art form or any single writing deemed to have artistic or intellectual value, often due to deploying language in ways that differ from ordinary usage.

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. All the same, a number of major literary figures have also written genre fiction, for example, John Banville publishes crime novels as Benjamin Black, and both Doris Lessing and Margaret Atwood have written science fiction. Furthermore, Nobel laureate André Gide stated that Georges Simenon, best known as the creator of the fictional detective Jules Maigret, was "the most novelistic of novelists in French literature".

Novel narrative text, normally of a substantial length and in the form of prose describing a fictional and sequential story

A novel is a relatively long work of narrative fiction, normally written in prose form, and which is typically published as a book.

A work of fiction implies the inventive act of constructing an imaginary world, so its audience does not typically expect it to be totally faithful to the real world in presenting only characters who are actual people or descriptions that are factually true. [7] Instead, the context of fiction, generally understood as not adhering precisely to the real world, is more open to interpretation. [8] Characters and events within a fictional work may even be set in their own context entirely separate from the known universe: an independent fictional universe.

Worldbuilding the process of constructing an imaginary world

Worldbuilding is the process of constructing an imaginary world, sometimes associated with a whole fictional universe. The resulting world may be called a constructed world. Developing an imaginary setting with coherent qualities such as a history, geography, and ecology is a key task for many science fiction or fantasy writers. Worldbuilding often involves the creation of maps, a backstory, and people for the world. Constructed worlds can enrich the backstory and history of fictional works, and it is not uncommon for authors to revise their constructed worlds while completing its associated work. Constructed worlds can be created for personal amusement and mental exercise, or for specific creative endeavors such as novels, video games, or role-playing games.

A character is a person or other being in a narrative. The character may be entirely fictional or based on a real-life person, in which case the distinction of a "fictional" versus "real" character may be made. Derived from the ancient Greek word χαρακτήρ, the English word dates from the Restoration, although it became widely used after its appearance in Tom Jones in 1749. From this, the sense of "a part played by an actor" developed. Character, particularly when enacted by an actor in the theatre or cinema, involves "the illusion of being a human person". In literature, characters guide readers through their stories, helping them to understand plots and ponder themes. Since the end of the 18th century, the phrase "in character" has been used to describe an effective impersonation by an actor. Since the 19th century, the art of creating characters, as practiced by actors or writers, has been called characterisation.

Fictional universe self-consistent fictional setting with elements that may differ from the real world

A fictional universe is a self-consistent setting with events, and often other elements, that differ from the real world. It may also be called an imagined, constructed or fictional realm. Fictional universes may appear in novels, comics, films, television shows, video games, and other creative works.

Fiction's traditional opposite is non-fiction, a narrative work whose creator assumes responsibility for presenting only the historical and factual truth. The distinction between fiction and non-fiction however can be unclear in some recent artistic and literary movements, such as postmodern literature. [9]

Non-fiction or nonfiction is content whose creator, in good faith, assumes responsibility for the truth or accuracy of the events, people, or information presented. In contrast, a story whose creator explicitly leaves open if and how the work refers to reality is usually classified as fiction. Nonfiction, which may be presented either objectively or subjectively, is traditionally one of the two main divisions of narratives, the other traditional division being fiction, which contrasts with nonfiction by dealing in information, events, and characters expected to be partly or largely imaginary.

Postmodern literature is literature characterized by reliance on narrative techniques such as fragmentation, paradox, and the unreliable narrator; and is often defined as a style or a trend which emerged in the post–World War II era. Postmodern works are seen as a response against dogmatic following of Enlightenment thinking and Modernist approaches to literature.

Formats

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.

Short story Brief work of literature, usually written in narrative prose

A short story is a piece of prose fiction that typically can be read in one sitting and focuses on a self-contained incident or series of linked incidents, with the intent of evoking a "single effect" or mood, however there are many exceptions to this.

Legend traditional story of heroic humans. (Use Mythology - Q9134 - for stories of Gods and fantastic creatures)

Legend is a genre of folklore that consists of a narrative featuring human actions perceived or believed both by teller and listeners to have taken place within human history. Narratives in this genre may demonstrate human values, and possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude. Legend, for its active and passive participants, includes no happenings that are outside the realm of "possibility," but may include miracles. Legends may be transformed over time, in order to keep them fresh, vital, and realistic. Many legends operate within the realm of uncertainty, never being entirely believed by the participants, but also never being resolutely doubted.

Epic poetry lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily detailing heroic deeds

An epic poem, epic, epos, or epopee is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily involving a time beyond living memory in which occurred the extraordinary doings of the extraordinary men and women who, in dealings with the gods or other superhuman forces, gave shape to the moral universe that their descendants, the poet and his audience, must understand to understand themselves as a people or nation.

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. [10] 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.

Internet Global system of connected computer networks

The Internet is the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link devices worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents and applications of the World Wide Web (WWW), electronic mail, telephony, and file sharing. Some publications no longer capitalize "internet".

Copyright is a legal right, existing in many countries, that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to determine whether, and under what conditions, this original work may be used by others. This is usually only for a limited time. Copyright is one of two types of intellectual property rights, the other is industrial property rights. The exclusive rights are not absolute but limited by limitations and exceptions to copyright law, including fair use. A major limitation on copyright on ideas is that copyright protects only the original expression of ideas, and not the underlying ideas themselves.

Project Gutenberg volunteer effort to digitize and archive books

Project Gutenberg (PG) is a volunteer effort to digitize and archive cultural works, to "encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks". It was founded in 1971 by American writer Michael S. Hart and is the oldest digital library. Most of the items in its collection are the full texts of public domain books. The project tries to make these as free as possible, in long-lasting, open formats that can be used on almost any computer. As of 23 June 2018, Project Gutenberg reached 57,000 items in its collection of free eBooks.

Types of literary fiction in prose include: [11]

Genre fiction

Fiction is commonly broken down into a variety of genres: subsets of fiction, each differentiated by a particular unifying tone or style, narrative technique, media content, or 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 and only in 1969 did astronaut Neil Armstrong first land on the moon.

Historical fiction places imaginary characters into real historical events. In the early 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. [14] 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 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 Alice 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. [3]

Literary fiction

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. [15] 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". [16] 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". [17]

Literary fiction often involves social commentary, political criticism, or reflection on the human condition. [18] In general it focuses on "introspective, in-depth character studies" of "interesting, complex and developed" characters. [18] [19] This contrasts with genre fiction where plot is the central concern. [20] 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. [21] [22] The style of literary fiction is often described as "elegantly written, lyrical, and ... layered". [23] The tone of literary fiction can be darker than genre fiction, [24] while the pacing of literary fiction may be slower than popular fiction. [24] 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". [25]

Realism

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; non-realistic fiction 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 a 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. [note 1] [note 2]

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 invention as well as some acceptable degree of believability, [28] 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. [29]

See also

Notes

  1. As philosopher Stacie Friend explains, "in reading we take works of fiction, like works of non-fiction, to be about the real world—even if they invite us to imagine the world to be different from how it actually is. [Thus], imagining a storyworld does not mean directing one's imagining toward something other than the real world; it is instead a mental activity that involves constructing a complex representation of what a story portrays". [26]
  2. The research of Weisberg and Goodstein (2009) revealed that, despite not being specifically informed that, say, the fictional character Sherlock Holmes, had two legs, their subjects "consistently assumed that some real-world facts obtained in fiction, although they were sensitive to the kind of fact and the realism of the story." [27]

Related Research Articles


Philip José Farmer was an American author known for his science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories.

Novella written, fictional, prose narrative normally longer than a short story but shorter than a novel

A novella is a text of written, fictional, narrative prose normally longer than a short story but shorter than a novel, somewhere between 17,500 and 40,000 words.

Literary genre category of literary composition

A literary genre is a category of literary composition. Genres may be determined by literary technique, tone, content, or even length. The distinctions between genres and categories are flexible and loosely defined, often with subgroups.

Philosophy and literature

Philosophy and literature involves the literary treatment of philosophers and philosophical themes, and the philosophical treatment of issues raised by literature.

Konangi is the pen name of the Tamil writer Ilangovan. He is the maternal grandson of the Tamil playwright, lyricist, writer and Freedom fighter Madurakavi Baskaradoss. His father is the Tamil writer Shanmugam and his mother is Saraswathi. His elder brother is the Tamil short-story writer Tamilselvan and his younger brother is Murugaboopathy a contemporary Tamil playwright. He grew up in Naagalapuram, bodinayakanur and Nenmeni Mettupatti and he currently lives in Kovilpatti, Tamil Nadu.

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.

The setting is both the time and geographic location within a narrative, either nonfiction or fiction. A literary element, the setting helps initiate the main backdrop and mood for a story. Setting has been referred to as story world or milieu to include a context beyond the immediate surroundings of the story. Elements of setting may include culture, historical period, geography, and hour. Along with the plot, character, theme, and style, setting is considered one of the fundamental components of fiction.

An object of the mind is an object that exists in the imagination, but which, in the real world, can only be represented or modeled. Some such objects are abstractions, literary concepts, or fictional scenarios.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to fiction:

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.

Outline of fantasy Overview of and topical guide to fantasy

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:

References

  1. "fiction." Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. 2015.
  2. Sageng, Fossheim, & Larsen (eds.) (2012). The Philosophy of Computer Games . Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 186–87.
  3. 1 2 William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman A Handbook to Literature (7th edition). New York: Prentice Hall, 1990, p. 212.
  4. M. h. Abrams, A Glossary of Literary Terms (7th edition), Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace, 1999, p. 94.
  5. M. H. Abrams, A Glossary of Literary Terms (7th edition). Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace, 1999, p. 94.
  6. "Definition of 'fiction'." Oxford English Dictionaries (online). Oxford University Press. 2015.
  7. Farner, Geir (2014). "Chapter 2: What is Literary Fiction?". Literary Fiction: The Ways We Read Narrative Literature. Bloomsbury Publishing USA.
  8. Culler, Jonathan (2000). Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. p. 31. 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.
  9. Iftekharuddin, Frahat (ed.). (2003). The Postmodern Short Story: Forms and Issues . Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 23.
  10. Jones, Oliver. (2015). "Why Fan Fiction is the Future of Publishing." The Daily Beast. The Daily Beast Company LLC.
  11. Milhorn, H. Thomas. (2006). Writing Genre Fiction: A Guide to the Craft . Universal Publishers: Boca Raton. pp. 3–4.
  12. J. A. Cuddon, The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms (1992). London: Penguin Books, 1999, p. 600.
  13. Heart of Darkness Novella by ConradEncyclopædia Britannica,
  14. Whiteman, G.; Phillips, N. (13 December 2006). "The Role of Narrative Fiction and Semi-Fiction in Organizational Studies". ERIM Report Series Research in Management. ISSN   1566-5283. SSRN   981296 .
  15. Slashdot Interview from 20 October 2004 with Neal Stephenson
  16. Grossman 2006.
  17. The Charlie Rose Show from 14 June 2006 with John Updike Archived 3 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  18. 1 2 Saricks 2009, p. 180.
  19. Coles 2009, p. 7.
  20. Saricks 2009, pp. 181–82.
  21. Coles 2007, p. 26.
  22. Coles 2009, p. 8.
  23. Saricks 2009, p. 179.
  24. 1 2 Saricks 2009, p. 182.
  25. Rafferty 2011.
  26. Friend, Stacie (2017). "The Real Foundation of Fictional Worlds" (PDF). Australasian Journal of Philosophy. 95: 29–42. doi:10.1080/00048402.2016.1149736.
  27. Weisberg, D.S. & Goodstein, J., "What Belongs in a Fictional World?", Journal of Cognition and Culture, Vol. 9, No. 1, (March 2009), pp. 69–78.
  28. Wood, James. 2008. How Fiction Works. New York. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. p. xiii.
  29. George W. Young: Subversive Symmetry. Exploring the Fantastic in Mark 6:45–56. Brill, Leiden 1999, p. 98, 106–09. ISBN   90-04-11428-9

Bibliography