It has come to my attention recently that some people who read fiction are expecting reality. Now I have to ponder that a moment. I have never considered reality as a definition of fiction. So maybe it's time to check with Webster's.
Webster's says of fiction: "to shape, fashion, feign," "something invented by the imagination or feigned," "an invented story," "fictitious literature (as novels or short stories)," "an assumption of a possibility as a fact irrespective of the question of its truth," "a useful illusion or pretense," "the action of feigning or of creating with the imagination."
Well, I think that pretty much covers the definition of fiction. Now what about reality?
Webster's says of reality: "the quality or state of being real," "a real event, entity, or state of affairs," "the totality of real things and events."
So this is what I think/believe. Fiction is not meant to be reality. Fiction may be close to reality, a kind of embellishment of reality, it may even mimic some of reality. Some fiction touches on the darker side of reality, or the sadness and turmoil of reality. Other fiction is imagination, make-believe, fantasy, escapism, romanticism, I could go on and on. Basically, fiction is a story. It may contain bits and pieces that are close to reality, but it is still a story.
For those readers who demand that fiction be reality, perhaps they should read non-fiction instead? Or perhaps they should be more selective of what they read? Some fiction is closer to reality than others. Mainsteam and literary fiction is definitely closer to reality than say, paranormal fiction, sci-fi or fantasy.
I write fiction, because that's what I enjoy writing. I don't claim that my stories are "true stories," though you may find some truths in what I write. That is true of most authors of fiction.
When I sit down to read a piece of fiction, I'm looking for a story I enjoy reading. I want to hear an interesting voice telling an interesting story. It may be contemporary, historical, fantasy, suspense, but I want it to be a story that catches me.
I read a lot of books of all kinds. I don't stick to one genre or another. I like to be surprised when I read. I'm not talking about a bunch of action or surprise endings. I'm talking about a new way of viewing things in general, or a new view of an old story, or just a darn good read.
I'm usually reading because I want to escape. If I want reality, all I have to do is turn on the TV and listen to the news. That's about as much reality as I care to deal with, thank you very much. In reality, the ordinary girl doesn't always get to marry the prince. In reality, the prince doesn't always win the girl.
I like feel-good stories when I want to feel good. I like scary stories when I want to be scared, which I have to say isn't all that often. I like to read about the good guys winning over the bad guys. I like my characters to find the love of their life and to have a fairytale ending. This is just me. Others read for other reasons.
It's just, as far as I'm concerned, if you're wanting to read reality, you probably won't find what you're looking for in fiction.
Since all of us have a different definition of fiction, I'd love to hear yours.