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Life Is Not A Story Book: Why Realistic Fiction Is Hard For Me To Write
January 11th, 2015 by Coral

Life is not a story book. I have recently identified this as one of the reasons I struggle so much writing realistic fiction.

Here’s where I’m coming from, okay, in a story you set things up. You foreshadow, you hint, you mislead, and you tie up loose ends at the end of the book. Happily ever afters don’t have to be expanded on, you can leave the blank page. Writing a story, you can change it. You can manipulate every aspect of the story, and you understand it, too.

Life isn’t like that. First off, life doesn’t always foreshadow. Sometimes things happen and they had no warning. There was no ominous music in the background, nobody was acting strange. Bad things happen. People get hurt, people betray you, people weren’t who you thought they were. Accidents happen with no warning. Some tragedies do have warning signs, yeah, but not all, and it’s so much harder to see it in real life.

Life doesn’t give hints, not always, though it will mislead you. You will think you have something figured out, and end up completely wrong. About other people, about relationships, even about yourself. You don’t get to be in control in real  life.

Real life also leaves loose ends. There isn’t always an explanation for things, there isn’t always an answer, and there isn’t always a happy ending. Life doesn’t make sense. That’s just how it is.

So, when I write realistic fiction, it feels like I’m cheating. I can’t think of interesting things that don’t seem too….preconceived?  Things that don’t seem to good to be true, I suppose. Real life can be funny, or compelling to hear about, cool things do happen. Sad things happen, funny things happen. But making them up?

It doesn’t feel real to me. I don’t know, this realization might eventually help me be able to write better realistic fiction, but for now it’s just a thought. Comments or response thoughts to this would be greatly appreciated. Until next time!


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