Monday, September 21, 2009

What is real fiction?

“When are you going to write some real fiction?” This is a question I often get from my mom. She’s been asking this since I first announced I was writing a SF novel at the tender age of thirteen.

This question is also, usually, closely followed by the question, “When are you going to start reading some real fiction?” Both my husband and my mom regularly ask that one and, frankly, I’m tired of hearing it but realise these well-meaning people whom I love very much truly do believe they have my best interests at heart.

First off, I’m going to answer the first question by asking another question. “What is real fiction?” If we’re going to play word games, we may as well refer to the Pocket Oxford Dictionary, which states that fiction is: Invention, invented statement or narrative; conventionally accepted falsehood.

So, in my mind, vampires, blood-crazed serial killers and shape-shifters are just as false as reading about emotional, angst-ridden women trying to make it in world that doesn’t care. It’s a matter of opinion as to which I’d prefer to read about and, to be brutally honest, I far prefer reading or writing about the former. I have my fill of a realistic setting every day when I catch the train to work to deal with bolshy ad sales reps or stroppy clients. When I read, or write, I want to be transported somewhere else magical, where the supernatural is the order of the day. I guess that answers the second question, as well.

This being said, it doesn’t mean I won’t ever touch so-called “serious” or “literary” fiction with the soggy end of a barge pole. Since I’m serious about my career as a writer and editor, I will, from time to time, look at reading material outside of my chosen genres. I feel there’s so much that I can learn from great authors such as John Fowles, Salman Rushdie, AS Byatt and the like. It’s just that I’m not going to pick their books up nearly as often as others would like me to. Hell, I’m even considering to further my studies and look at a bachelor of arts focusing on literature. One day.

The big “but” is that mostly, when I look to entertain myself, I am unashamed of my love for fantasy, the paranormal and things that go bump in the night. And I’m not going to apologise, either. I’ll write my tales about black magicians, vampirates, drakaina and gods know what else I can dream up and if you’re looking to be immersed in my world, you’re more than welcome to step over the threshold.


s.w. vaughn said...

Oh, man. I've never understood what people are thinking when they insist literary fiction is the only "real" fiction, and genre is a waste of time.

Personally, I've found a heck of a lot more deep meaning and life observations in genre fic than I've ever seen in literary fic - and I've read a lot of both.

Good on you for sticking to your guns, Nerine!

Nerine Dorman said...

Thanks... and I totally agree with you. Life's too short to force oneself into artificial strictures.

Cassie Exline said...

Great post. I love paranormal. Write what's your passion. The genre that drives you. I'm a reporter at a small newspaper -- can we all say BORING! It's all facts, no fun, which is why I write erotic stories. The mysteries is so when I have a bad day at work, I can legally bump somebody off. lol Nice meeting you too.


Anonymous said...

Well said!

Nerine Dorman said...

Oh, I invariably find my mind wandering at work (at the newspapers). And sometimes the frustration pours out and I write some truly ghastly stuff. Good writing, just seriously twisted subject matter. I scare myself daily.

Other times it's like I tap into some vast subconscious, and it's just magic.

Sandra Sookoo said...

While I agree writing paranormal is so much fun, I have to say that the truth is oftentimes strange than fiction, which is why I like writing both paranormal and contemporary. Give me a chance; I'll make you believe :-)