PDA

View Full Version : Unreal in Real Life (why do writers write fantasy?)



DwayneA
03-25-2010, 01:45 AM
Let me put it this way, I'm a fact-guy. That is, I don't believe in anything that isn't real: ghosts and spirits,, alternate dimensions, aliens, magic, mythical creatures and beings, talking animals, angels and demons, heaven and hell, souls, landmarks and cities on Earth that don't exist, or even reincarnation.

Yet I see a lot of this in fiction, television, videogames, and music videos. I even see fictional books, videogames, movies, and tv shows in fiction, television, videogames, and music videos.

Why do the producers and authors of fiction incorporate this stuff into their works if it isn't real in real life? What's the point?

jana13k
03-25-2010, 01:55 AM
Because some believe all of it's real. And some are just interested in reading about the possibility. It's fiction. It's escape. It's supposed to entertain.

Kitty Pryde
03-25-2010, 02:12 AM
Don't you write fantasy? And don't you enjoy reading fantasy? Why don't you tell us why you like to read and write about things that aren't real?

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 02:29 AM
I can't think of a single young adult or adult novel genre that had any of that stuff I mentioned above. If it did, it wouldn't be young adult or adult genre.

Perks
03-25-2010, 02:31 AM
What's adult genre?

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 02:36 AM
in the library I work, there are racks for children's books, juvenile books, young adult books, and adult books. I think adult books feature adults as the protaonists while young adult as young adults, juveniles have juveniles, and children's...well you get the idea.

Like I said, to me, if a book in one of those genres has any of those things above that I mentioned, it's not that genre at all.

Kitty Pryde
03-25-2010, 02:40 AM
ghosts and spirits,, alternate dimensions, aliens, magic, mythical creatures and beings, talking animals, angels and demons, heaven and hell, souls, landmarks and cities on Earth that don't exist, or even reincarnation.


You're saying you don't know of any adult or YA novels about any of these subjects? How about the entire fantasy section of the bookstore? You aren't making any sense.

Perks
03-25-2010, 02:41 AM
Stephen King, Anne Rice, Alice Sebold, Elizabeth Kostova... there are hundreds of authors out there working these elements into fiction for adults. It's everywhere.

I'm certainly not suggesting you read it. They make all flavors.

Perks
03-25-2010, 02:43 AM
In fact, we have quite a few published authors here on AW who work with fantastical creatures and mythical themes. Cathy Clamp comes to mind but I know there are others.

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 02:43 AM
to me, pure young adult fiction doesn't involve any of that stuff. At least not what I've been reading at the library during spare time when I can't find anything to do.

Perks
03-25-2010, 02:45 AM
Your stamp of purity is a personal distinction, not an industry term. All we're telling you is that there are loads of books written for young adults and adults that feature these elements that don't appeal to you.

Kitty Pryde
03-25-2010, 02:48 AM
to me, pure young adult fiction doesn't involve any of that stuff. At least not what I've been reading at the library during spare time when I can't find anything to do.

So your question is, why doesn't non-fantasy fiction include fantasy elements? The easy answer is, because books with fantasy elements end up in the fantasy genre. The harder answer is, PLENTY OF THEM DO! Some non-fantasy YA recent releases with fantastic elements: If I Stay, Going Bovine, Be More Chill, and The Book Thief, just off the top of my head.

Some non-fantasy adult fiction books with loads of fantasy elements: Margaret Atwoods last three books, loads of Salman Rushdie's books, Audrey Niffeneger's books, and Alice Sebold's books.

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 02:49 AM
I didn't say they don't appeal to me. All I'm saying is that stuff like that doesn't exist! Period! It never has and never will.

Look, that's just the way my brain works.

Perks
03-25-2010, 02:50 AM
I didn't say they don't appeal to me. All I'm saying is that stuff like that doesn't exist! Period! It never has and never will.So?


Look, that's just the way my brain works.Okay.

They write plenty of books that don't have that stuff in it, too. You'll be fine. I promise.

Kateness
03-25-2010, 02:53 AM
landmarks and cities on Earth that don't exist

You'll see plenty of that in mainstream/contemporary non-fantasy/sci-fi because sometimes it's much easier to make up your own town or neighborhood than risk offending anyone who lives there because you screwed up the details and a lot of the time, the specific town doesn't actually matter all that much.

willietheshakes
03-25-2010, 02:56 AM
I'm sorry, but what the hell are you on about?

There are many, many YA novels which incorporate fantasy elements. Many, many adult novels which do so. You can ignore it, or belittle it, but you can't claim it doesn't exist, whether that's the way your mind works or not.

And the fact is, if you "don't believe in anything that isn't real", perhaps you'd be better off avoiding fiction altogether?

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 02:58 AM
have you ever seen a ghost or a unicorn or a vampire? Has anyone ever been to heaven and came back to talk about it? Can you cast magic spells?

No, you can't. Because it's impossible.

I rest my case.

Perks
03-25-2010, 03:00 AM
I don't think anyone challenged 'your case' except for the part that these elements don't appear in adult fiction.

And I think you know that.

I'm glad you feel like Matlock, though, chief.

Kateness
03-25-2010, 03:00 AM
so what if it's impossible?

I guide you in the general direction of the Harry Potter books. No matter what your opinion about the writer/books in crafting terms/etc...it's basically the bestselling fantasy series ever. Millions and millions of people (myself included) read these books. We're pretty clued in to the fact that Hogwarts doesn't exist.

Yet we like to think about those things.

It's called the imagination.

You might as well say, why do people make up characters who don't really exist?

waylander
03-25-2010, 03:00 AM
[QUOTE=DwayneA;4778569] I didn't say they don't appeal to me. All I'm saying is that stuff like that doesn't exist! Period! It never has and never will. [QUOTE]

Are you sure?

scarletpeaches
03-25-2010, 03:01 AM
Why do the producers and authors of fiction incorporate this stuff into their works if it isn't real in real life? What's the point?Because if they only wrote books about things which are real to you, Salman Rushdie's next Booker would come from a 1,000-page epic about someone whining all over the internet.

waylander
03-25-2010, 03:03 AM
have you ever seen a ghost or a unicorn or a vampire? Has anyone ever been to heaven and came back to talk about it? Can you cast magic spells?


Yes

willietheshakes
03-25-2010, 03:07 AM
no, I'm not trolling. I never have been! When will you people realize that?!

I'm simply discussing the fact that these things don't exist in real life, yet authors write about them anyway.

Here's a flash: the characters we write about (as fiction writers), they don't exist in real life either. The situations they're in? Ditto. The things they do? Hell no.

Have you familiarized yourself with the definition of "fiction"?

Kateness
03-25-2010, 03:08 AM
Because we've got imagination and can conceive of things that never have been. because it's fun to think about them. Because it's fun to step back from this screwed-up world we live in.

Kitty Pryde
03-25-2010, 03:08 AM
no, I'm not trolling. I never have been! When will you people realize that?!

I'm simply discussing the fact that these things don't exist in real life, yet authors write about them anyway.

AGAIN. DWAYNE. You like to read fantasy novels. You like to write fantasy novels. Do some self-reflection and tell us why fantastical things are good to read and write about. I don't know why you are so baffled.

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 03:09 AM
I've never written fantasy

Perks
03-25-2010, 03:09 AM
Here's a flash: the characters we write about (as fiction writers), they don't exist in real life either. The situations they're in? Ditto. The things they do? Hell no.

Have you familiarized yourself with the definition of "fiction"?And I've read your book, 'Before I Wake'. You're full of shit. That never happened. Those people aren't real.

And I enjoyed it anyway.

Perks
03-25-2010, 03:10 AM
I've never written fantasyReally? :e2thud:

scarletpeaches
03-25-2010, 03:13 AM
I wonder how much it would fuck with Dwayne's head if I said "Your book doesn't have to be real - it has to be true."

Perks
03-25-2010, 03:15 AM
I wonder how much it would fuck with Dwayne's head if I said "Your book doesn't have to be real - it has to be true."Well see, I do love that. And it mostly governs everything I enjoy in fiction.

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 03:15 AM
but what's the difference between "real" and "true"?

willietheshakes
03-25-2010, 03:16 AM
but what's the difference between "real" and "true"?

(Yoda voice/) And that is why you fail. (/Yoda voice)

bettielee
03-25-2010, 03:16 AM
but what's the difference between "real" and "true"?

one has fairy wings

one has a tail

Perks
03-25-2010, 03:16 AM
but what's the difference between "real" and "true"?
True means that, no matter the circumstance, you believe what the characters say and feel and do within their borders.

bettielee
03-25-2010, 03:17 AM
(Yoda voice/) And that is why you fail. (/Yoda voice)

dammit willie.... you stole what I wanted to say

Kateness
03-25-2010, 03:17 AM
I'm a real vampire.

True.

See? :D

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 03:18 AM
sure, the content doesn't have to be real, yet the characters have to feel real, and their dialogue and actions have to feel real.

I don't get it.

brainstorm77
03-25-2010, 03:19 AM
And you never will. You've asked this stuff so many times...

Bubastes
03-25-2010, 03:22 AM
sure, the content doesn't have to be real, yet the characters have to feel real, and their dialogue and actions have to feel real.

I don't get it.

What is there to get? It just is. That's how good fiction works.

Do you read any fiction? If so, did you find any stories that you thought could've really happened?

Jenifer
03-25-2010, 03:23 AM
I rest my case.

Better take things a step further and euthanize it. It's just not fair to make the poor, crippled old sod suffer like this.

Perks
03-25-2010, 03:24 AM
I guess I have to ask, with -- what is it 200,000 some titles each year? -- why does it bother you that a percentage are about things that you don't get?

Some are textbooks on Trigonometry. I don't get that either, but it doesn't bunch my drawers.

The bottom line is that some people will argue with you that there are ghosts and aliens and angels. I imagine you'd like that. But I don't see anyone doing that here. We also may "know" that there are no goblins under the stairs or clawed fiends waiting for a certain phase of the moon, but it doesn't matter. I've heard it said that where there are monsters, there are miracles. Fiction is the one place where love means never having to say you're sorry for being gullible.

scarletpeaches
03-25-2010, 03:26 AM
manners? You're one to talk for saying something about "f***ing up my head!"I'm sorry; I thought sarcasm was expected.

ANYHOO.

Why do people write about stuff that doesn't exist? BECAUSE IT'S FUN.

I've just started reading Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

Fun. Fun, fun, fun. It's so much fun I've started to have a nosebleed. And even the nosebleed is fun.

Kitty Pryde
03-25-2010, 03:26 AM
I've never written fantasy

Oh really?

A thread on the setting of your fantasy novel: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=76652

A thread you started about your magical fire elemental character: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=122769

And you wrote a novel about a guy who is part-alien. A thing which doesn't exist in the real world.

And you have a ton of posts about fantasy novels you enjoyed. SO. AGAIN. Why do you read and write fantasy?

brainstorm77
03-25-2010, 03:27 AM
Oh really?

A thread on the setting of your fantasy novel: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=76652

A thread you started about your magical fire elemental character: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=122769

And you wrote a novel about a guy who is part-alien. A thing which doesn't exist in the real world.

And you have a ton of posts about fantasy novels you enjoyed. SO. AGAIN. Why do you read and write fantasy?:ROFL:

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 03:28 AM
as Doctor Cranium from Quest for Glory 4 says, "There's no such thing as magic! There is only science!"

As for those things I wrote about that you mentioned, they were just ideas I had that I tried to bring to life.

scarletpeaches
03-25-2010, 03:29 AM
But why? Your ideas don't exist in real life!

brainstorm77
03-25-2010, 03:30 AM
How can you write it, if you don't get it?

Kateness
03-25-2010, 03:30 AM
But they weren't real! (as you're defining real)

And that seems to be at the heart of your question

Kitty Pryde
03-25-2010, 03:31 AM
as Doctor Cranium from Quest for Glory 4 says, "There's no such thing as magic! There is only science!"

As for those things I wrote about that you mentioned, they were just ideas I had that I tried to bring to life.

BUT WHY did you do it? Why do you continue to pick up fantasy novels and read them? Why? Seriously, why? Why are you acting like fantasy literature is something that afflicts other people, that you have no understanding of?

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 03:32 AM
I've never read Fantasy

Perks
03-25-2010, 03:34 AM
DwayneA, you are messing with us. I don't resent you for it, but I call bullshit.

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 03:36 AM
I'm not messing with anybody. I'm just asking a question to which I'm seeking an answer and I expect answers. Isn't it our nature to pursue knowledge?

brainstorm77
03-25-2010, 03:36 AM
http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=160626 <--- isn't this fantasy?

scarletpeaches
03-25-2010, 03:38 AM
I've never read FantasyThis whole post is fantasy meta-fiction, isn't it?

I think you might actually be a fucking genius. We've all been played. Kudos, DwayneA - I take my previous sarcasm back.

Kitty Pryde
03-25-2010, 03:39 AM
I've never read Fantasy

Oh really?

Your thread about reading Charlotte's Web and The Wednesday Witch: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=82011

Your thread about Stuart Little: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=115016

Your thread about Harry Potter #1: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116207

Your thread about Harry Potter #2: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116501

Your thread about reading Pinocchio: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=127517

Your thread about the last Harry Potter: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=126991

Your thread about the Jungle Book: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=127939

I hate to break the tragic news to you, but those are all fantasy novels.

SO. FOR THE FOURTH TIME. Why do YOU like reading and writing fantasy novels? I'm not trying to hassle you, but you aren't really being honest in this thread.

brainstorm77
03-25-2010, 03:40 AM
Oh really?

Your thread about reading Charlotte's Web and The Wednesday Witch: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=82011

Your thread about Stuart Little: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=115016

Your thread about Harry Potter #1: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116207

Your thread about Harry Potter #2: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116501

Your thread about reading Pinocchio: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=127517

Your thread about the last Harry Potter: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=126991

Your thread about the Jungle Book: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=127939

I hate to break the tragic news to you, but those are all fantasy novels.

SO. FOR THE FOURTH TIME. Why do YOU like reading and writing fantasy novels?

You are sooooooooooo wonderful :)

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 03:40 AM
Stuart Little, Charlotte's Web, Harry Potter, James and the Giant Peach, the Wednesday Witch, Pinnochio, and the Jungle Book are all children's books.

brainstorm77
03-25-2010, 03:41 AM
Stuart Little, James and the Giant Peach, the Wednesday Witch, Pinnochio, and the Jungle Book are all children's novels.

Yay! My 1000th post!

Still fantasy.

Kitty Pryde
03-25-2010, 03:42 AM
Stuart Little, James and the Giant Peach, the Wednesday Witch, Pinnochio, and the Jungle Book are all children's novels.

They are children's novels. They are also fantasy novels. If you missed the memo, the real world doesn't have talking farm and jungle animals, talking insects, or wooden puppets who come to life.

Kateness
03-25-2010, 03:42 AM
and Harry Potter?

Okay, the first couple are more young adult, but by the end, we've got pretty heavy subject matter and a helluva lot of adults read them

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 03:43 AM
define the "fantasy" genre

brainstorm77
03-25-2010, 03:43 AM
define the "fantasy" genre

Look it up.

Kateness
03-25-2010, 03:44 AM
Fantasy is a genre that uses magic and other supernatural forms as a primary element of plot, theme, and/or setting. Many works within the genre take place on fictional planes or planets where magic is common. Fantasy is generally distinguished from science fiction and horror by the expectation that it steers clear of scientific and macabre themes, respectively, though there is a great deal of overlap between the three (which are subgenres of speculative fiction).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fantasy

30 seconds, dude. It's called google

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 03:47 AM
what are you going to do? Ban me from Absolute Write? I'm not breaking any rules of the forum! Like I said, I'm just asking a question to which I don't understand the answer.

It's not my fault I'm a very slow learner.

Kitty Pryde
03-25-2010, 03:48 AM
But seriously, for the fifth time, why don't you take a stab at answering your own question? I'll accept any answer, including, I read and write this fantasy stuff but I just don't know whyyyyyyy!

brainstorm77
03-25-2010, 03:51 AM
It does not excuse the false statements you have made. You have read fantasy and you have written it, even if it's only been in the planning stages. Personally, I think you are looking for attention.

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 03:53 AM
what false statements?

brainstorm77
03-25-2010, 03:54 AM
what false statements?

See my last post. Anyhoo, I'm done here.

Kitty Pryde
03-25-2010, 03:58 AM
Define "the". But seriously Dwayne, still not trying to pick on you, but you were dishonest/lying/not telling the truth when you said you don't read or write fantasy. Because you do.

You've already gotten a handful of answers to your question. Let me ask you for a sixth time. Why do you like reading and writing fantasy? I'm really on the edge of my seat here.

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 03:59 AM
I think we have a difference of our definition of "fantasy"

Seriously, I've never written fantasy.

geardrops
03-25-2010, 04:06 AM
Seriously, I've never written fantasy.

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/search.php?searchid=18058536

Quoth:


My upcoming fantasy novel in the future has for one of it's main protagonists a young sorceress.

THE INTERNET NEVER FORGETS

Kitty Pryde
03-25-2010, 04:06 AM
I think we have a difference of our definition of "fantasy"

Seriously, I've never written fantasy.

I doubt it. To quote DwayneA (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=76652),


Let's use this thread to discuss the setting of our fantasy books. I'll start with mine.

================================================== =====

Destiny of Valor is set in the land of Daltoniph. Covering an area of over one thousand square miles, and having a total population of only about twelve thousand people, Daltoniph is the smallest nation in the world. Because of this, many kingdoms not allied to it don't bother to invade it. Well protected by its five bordering allies, Daltoniph had no need for an army, and thus had none. However, the hamlets, villages, towns, and the capitol themselves were protected by guards who kept the peace and maintained order. Daltoniph is a land consisting of lush valleys, forests, grasslands, several mountain ranges, and a barren wasteland.

One day however, a powerful wizard named Zortega arose to power. Setting his goals to using his power to conquer his homeland, Zortega possessed knowledge of many spells, including some that only he knew of, stolen from his mentor whom he killed just as he was about to destroy their scrolls as he was terrified that they might be used for evil. Using powerful magic, Zortega carved a gothic castle out of Mt. Hades, the highest point in the land in Daltoniph's wasteland. After devastating the armies and castles of Daltoniph's bordering allies, he invades the Daltoniph king's castle, killing him, then taking the crown for himself, Zortega became targeted by warriors and fighters from Daltoniph's allies, each of whom was killed and ressurrected as an undead minion for use as a bodyguard and soldier he would use in his army to conquer the surrounding lands, and eventually, the rest of the world. He was finally slain by a valiant hero who came to Daltoniph flying on the back of a dragon. The dragon, named Vehelitz, destroyed his army while the hero himself engaged the wizard in combat and emerged victorious. Zortega fell into a nearby fountain which he had created and used as a source of magic which was now his final resting place, and which over time, would be damned with the essence of his soul. Before dying he vowed that fate would raise another to take his place and resume his work.

The hero brought back Zortega's head to the kingdom. Because of their experience, the newly crowned prince ordered that the kingdom build an army to defend itself as well as taking possession of the lands of its fallen allies to strengthen them from future invasions and uprisings. Because he was feared in his homeland, Vehelitz accepted the offer of its grateful citizens to stay and he chose to become their guardian against evil. Vehelitz to fight by their side and the kingdom's magicians who offered their talents to the fighting force, Daltoniph's army became the most powerful in the world.

The main storyline begins one hundred years later with a cult consisting of the most blackhearted individuals from around the world, led by a direct descendant of Zortega bent on avenging his ancestor, banding together in Daltoniph for the purpose of raising the next incarnation of Zortega to use in their goal of world domination as there is no known spell to restore the dead to their previous life. History will soon repeat itself and another champion must arise to end the evil influence of Zortega once and for all.

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 04:07 AM
I haven't actually "written" the story in book form. So that doesn't count.

Having an idea and actually writing it into the story are two completely different things.

Perks
03-25-2010, 04:08 AM
okay you can stop nowNo she can't. You've done wound her up. Might as well let her go.

You don't have a question anymore. One pseudo-question was whether they put fantasy elements in adult novels. Easy-peasy: yes.

You said (not asked) they weren't real. Everyone said a version of, "So what?"

You asked several convoluted forms of, "Why dey do dat?"

We said, "'Cause some people thinks it's fun."

Beyond that, sir, (or likely well before it) you are full of stuff.

Birol
03-25-2010, 04:45 AM
what are you going to do? Ban me from Absolute Write? I'm not breaking any rules of the forum! Like I said, I'm just asking a question to which I don't understand the answer.

It's not my fault I'm a very slow learner.

Dwayne, an argument could be made for you not respecting others. You do have a tendency to ask a question, demand a response that meets your expectations and if it doesn't, you start claiming no one is giving you a serious response, and having a temper tantrum. You demand -- demanding, by the way, really isn't respectful at all -- that everyone answer your question, but you absolutely refuse to answer theirs, even when they're trying to help you. You whine. You complain. You twist things so you have a reason to whine and continue to be unhappy -- without ever accepting responsibility for your own actions or lack thereof. It's always someone else's fault. This, too, is not respectful.

Truthfully, Dwayne, you've been given pass after pass because of your statements that you have Asperger's Syndrome, but we do have our limits and you are about to reach them.

I'm not tempted to ban you but I am tempted to put you in limbo. This would mean you could read and PM, but could not post.



okay, now you people are being sarcastic. Just give me an answer already!

They have Dwayne. Multiple times. It's not the answer you want, so you're having a temper tantrum. And they get frustrated, too, just like you're frustrated. That's when they become sarcastic because you want a simple "do this" answer and we've told you, writing doesn't have a right and a wrong way. There's no clear cut answers. You need to learn to accept that. When you don't even stop to pause to process your fellow AWer's responses, that's disrespectful and the other posters find it as frustrating as you find their responses.



I haven't actually "written" the story in book form. So that doesn't count.

Having an idea and actually writing it into the story are two completely different things.

Yes and no. You're quibbling here, Dwayne. You're changing definitions to meet your needs at the moment. You're doing this in part so you don't have to engage with others; so they only have to engage with you on your terms. Again, this is not respectful behavior.


I'll tell you what, attempt to answer the question: Why have you read books with fantasy elements, regardless of whether they were for children, young adults, or adults, and why have you considered writing a book with fantasy elements?

If you respond with an answer to the above question, then I will keep this thread open and let the discussion continue. If you do not respond with an answer to the above question, then I will put you in Limbo for being disrespectful to your above posters.

Birol
03-25-2010, 04:47 AM
As for the rest of you, you know how these threads are going to go. You have the option not to respond. Sometimes, non-response helps people learn faster than anything else.

Fenika
03-25-2010, 04:55 AM
Can someone prove pain isn't real? No one can see it, you can't place it in a bowl, yet it's currently streaking down my arm, and I would like it to go away, even though I've written about pain and read about pain, there should not be pain. Truth.

jallenecs
03-25-2010, 05:13 AM
I don't know about anybody else here, but I don't believe in unicorns or vampires or the Great Cthulhu anymore than you do. But sometimes using them in a story is the best way to express the ideas I'm trying to convey.

they're a tool, same as your computer or your character or your ideas. Use them or don't, according to your needs. don't sweat the rest.

Birol
03-25-2010, 05:17 AM
Dwayne, if you choose not to post, that is not responding to my question and I will put you in Limbo. You have another 45 minutes to answer.

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 05:34 AM
The truth is I don't even have an answer to your question. I don't even know why I read certain books but not others and why I come up with ideas for books. Some books interest me, other's don't. I don't have a specific genre that I prefer.

Birol
03-25-2010, 05:36 AM
Very good, Dwayne. That is active participation. I will now cull this thread and send the most sarcastic posts to the Landfill so the discussion can continue. Please remember -- and this applies to everyone and includes you Dwayne -- I will be watching.

C.bronco
03-25-2010, 05:40 AM
Let me put it this way, I'm a fact-guy. That is, I don't believe in anything that isn't real: ghosts and spirits,, alternate dimensions, aliens, magic, mythical creatures and beings, talking animals, angels and demons, heaven and hell, souls, landmarks and cities on Earth that don't exist, or even reincarnation.

Yet I see a lot of this in fiction, television, videogames, and music videos. I even see fictional books, videogames, movies, and tv shows in fiction, television, videogames, and music videos.

Why do the producers and authors of fiction incorporate this stuff into their works if it isn't real in real life? What's the point?
Allegory.

For example, Watership Down reveals great insight into human nature and society. The main characters are bunnies, but the message comes through nonetheless.

Cyia
03-25-2010, 05:49 AM
Dwayne, if you want to understand why people write fantasy, then you have to understand that a lot of it deals with abstracts. I know you have trouble with that sometimes, but it's the basis of the genre.

You say you don't believe in aliens - a lot of people do, so whether or not they exist is up for debate. However, stories about aliens do exist and in the context of that story, so do the aliens. For science fiction, aliens have served as a stand in for social constructs that couldn't be spoken against publicly.

A pretty famous example is in Star Trek when there's a set of aliens who are half black and half white (their faces are painted this way, with a line down the middle). they come from the same place, but one is considered inferior by the other because the white was on the "wrong" side of his face. It's meant to highlight the idiocy of prejudice and racial stereotyping by using an outside example to illustrate the concept. Someone watching the show might wonder why the aliens feel the way they do, when it's obvious that they're the same species, so they're on even footing. yet, that same someone might have similar notions about people outside their own (human) race. The fictional story makes them look at those notions from a safe distance without someone pointing at them and screaming "You're wrong!"

Other times, the aliens have stood in for government agencies it wasn't safe to speak against.

Good and evil are abstract constructs. They don't have faces or bodies. By saying one character is an evil wizard, you put that abstract into something concrete. They're evil; they're bad. They do bad things and those who are good must oppose them.

Other fantasies are social commentaries. Animal Farm involves talking animals, but each character is a stand in for a component of the Russian Revolution.

The Wizard of Oz is the same way. It's not about a girl who goes to a magical place and fights a witch. It's about economy and social status, among other things. The characters represent something else.

That's what makes fantasy so popular. The themes are "timeless", and they make huge things like good vs. evil relateable because they condense them into something that can be seen and heard and felt.

(And don't assume that just because you've never seen something that others haven't, or that just because you don't believe in something means that others don't. Belief is a personal reality.)

Ken
03-25-2010, 05:52 AM
Cold hearted orb that rules the night,
Removes the colours from our sight.
Red is grey and yellow white.
But we decide which is right.
And which is an illusion?

- Moody Blues

Linda Adams
03-25-2010, 05:53 AM
This has actually been a question I've had to think about for a few hours, because I've known a writer who had problems with stories that veered from real life and facts. He was in my critique group a few years back. Not a big fiction reader--he literally would not read a novel unless it was recommended to him. Didn't matter what genre it was he. He didn't seem to have a preference. Yet, he wanted to write a novel. When he did read something like an action-adventure thriller, which can sometimes twist historical fact or have some element of magic, he'd arbitrarily dismiss them as being unbelievable because the facts were not 100% real. What it did for him is make it very difficult to write a novel because it was so limiting. He literally couldn't have fun playing with anything outside of the facts to see what he could come up with, and sometimes that's the best way to come up with the coolest ideas.

It's called suspension of disbelief. The reader knows that it really isn't possible that (fill in the blank) could exist, but the writer is able to transport the reader to a different place with the impossible exists. They don't have to convince the entire world aliens or vampires exist--only that it exists in the world of the book. The really good writers make you want to come back and read more because they've done such a believable job. That's the magic of reading any fiction book, because it can take you to places that live only in your imagination.

Real life? Facts? Yesterday, a man driving on the freeway fired thirteen shots at a truck in an act of road rage. His daughter was in the front seat. This morning, we had a murder a few blocks from where I work. Boyfriend fired a sawed off shotgun at his girlfriend as she got into the car to leave. I come home from work, and my street is closed off. Fire trucks, and a million police cars. The boyfriend committed suicide twelve miles from where he killed his girlfriend, in front of where I live. They had tents up to hide the body and news crews on the lawn. These are not the facts and real life I want to read about.

Lyra Jean
03-25-2010, 05:53 AM
Oh really?

Your thread about reading Charlotte's Web and The Wednesday Witch: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=82011

Your thread about Stuart Little: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=115016

Your thread about Harry Potter #1: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116207

Your thread about Harry Potter #2: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116501

Your thread about reading Pinocchio: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=127517

Your thread about the last Harry Potter: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=126991

Your thread about the Jungle Book: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=127939

I hate to break the tragic news to you, but those are all fantasy novels.

SO. FOR THE FOURTH TIME. Why do YOU like reading and writing fantasy novels? I'm not trying to hassle you, but you aren't really being honest in this thread.

You mean "The Jungle Book" didn't really happen?

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 05:56 AM
I've never written fantasy, only science fiction. I've only written ideas for a fantasy.

To me, fantasy is knights in shining armour, fire breathing dragons, castles, anything medieval. At least that's always been my definition of the genre.

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 05:58 AM
If the Jungle Book did happen, it would be non-fiction. The only thing I know about fiction is that it's not real, it's fake, it never happened.

veinglory
03-25-2010, 06:00 AM
Fictional things are not real, more news at eleven.

Cyia
03-25-2010, 06:01 AM
That's one component of fantasy - though there were knights in shining armor, castles, Medieval societies in real life. And at the time, they did believe in dragons and sea monsters. If you've ever seen a map from the era, some of them actually indicate where sea monsters live on the ocean and dangerous creatures live on land. Those things weren't fantasies to them.

Think of it this way. If you were the first man to see a brand new animal that no one had ever seen before (it can be an animal that's lived for years, but just gone undiscovered), and tried to describe it to others, the animal can get blown out of proportion.

The first man to see a clouded leopard could very well describe a dark and silent predatory who attacks from the shadows without a sound. The only sound is the scream of the victim, and all that's left is a mangled mess. It's eyes reflect the torchlight and the others flee in fear. To eyes and ears that believe in monsters, you've just given them the picture of a ghost or demon that strikes at men in the jungle.

maxmordon
03-25-2010, 07:12 AM
I've never written fantasy, only science fiction. I've only written ideas for a fantasy.

To me, fantasy is knights in shining armour, fire breathing dragons, castles, anything medieval. At least that's always been my definition of the genre.

Science Fiction is not that different from fantasy, Dwayne. Fantasy is far more than that, fantasy essentially is the literature that makes the impossible, probable by putting it in an escenario we can relate to (e.g. not completely alien). While science fiction tries to make the probable possible by giving it an explanation based on a clear scientific frame, generally the one at the time of writing. But in essence, Science Fiction is a type fantasy, just a more believable one.

In Star Wars you have the Midichloria mitochondrii which, with little to no logical explaination can pretty much whatever the plot finds conveinient, including creating ghosts.

In Dune, you have genetic breeding and fermented warm feces transforming you into a God.

In Robur The Conqueror, a man flies around the world in an airship and terrifies Europe defying psychics.

Tell me, how is science fiction so different from fantasy literature?

Perks
03-25-2010, 07:17 AM
As for the rest of you, you know how these threads are going to go. You have the option not to respond. Sometimes, non-response helps people learn faster than anything else.We're going to have a real discussion about why there are often fantasy elements in fiction when there aren't vampires, unicorns, and werewolves in real life? And we're going to have this discussion with a guy who writes fantasy and reads it, but claims not to when it's not pulling the nonsensical nose of his thread to its nonsensical tail?

That's gonna be hard to do, because even when we're not being sarcastic, we're being sarcastic.

Polenth
03-25-2010, 07:33 AM
If the Jungle Book did happen, it would be non-fiction. The only thing I know about fiction is that it's not real, it's fake, it never happened.

The majority of animals in 'The Jungle Book' are not capable of complex language in the real world. In the book, they talk using complex language as though they were human. This means the Jungle Book could never happen. Some elements could (like being raised by wolves), but the discussions the animals have couldn't exist.

You were happy to accept it because you believed it was possible. Now you know it isn't possible, does it change your view of the story?

Lyra Jean
03-25-2010, 07:37 AM
The majority of animals in 'The Jungle Book' are not capable of complex language in the real world. In the book, they talk using complex language as though they were human. This means the Jungle Book could never happen. Some elements could (like being raised by wolves), but the discussions the animals have couldn't exist.

You were happy to accept it because you believed it was possible. Now you know it isn't possible, does it change your view of the story?

Why are you continuing to destroy my dreams? Why? Why? :cry::tongue

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 07:38 AM
to me, Science Fiction is set in space, on planets, or anywhere else magic does not exist, and everything can be explained scientifically, but that's just my definition of Science Fiction

Lyra Jean
03-25-2010, 07:41 AM
to me, Science Fiction is set in space, on planets, or anywhere else magic does not exist, and everything can be explained scientifically, but that's just my definition of Science Fiction

Ah so you are just a traditionalist.

SF = outer space and planets that are not Earth.
Fantasy = Medieval Europe setting with magic and dragons, elves and orcs and other fearie type creatures.

I think I just contributed to conversation. I was trying to avoid that.

Perks
03-25-2010, 07:43 AM
Dwayne, it's been said before, it's okay for you to fine-tune your definitions of certain genres. There will be a point that you're just going to have to accept, beyond understanding, that the publishing industry categorizes things a bit differently and that much of the reading public is not bothered by the unrealities that trouble you.

That's just the way it is. There really is no why. We're not holding out on you.

maxmordon
03-25-2010, 07:48 AM
to me, Science Fiction is set in space, on planets, or anywhere else magic does not exist, and everything can be explained scientifically, but that's just my definition of Science Fiction

But unless science fiction is written based on actual scientific theories proven as proof, it's no different from fantasy. How different is the spice that fuels spaceships in Dune than the fairy dust in Peter Pan? None, because it's all fiction.

Cyia
03-25-2010, 07:52 AM
Peter Pan is fantasy.

Peter and the Starcatchers is science fiction.

They're both the same story.

:)

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 07:55 AM
spice fuels spaceships? That has got to be the dumbest thing I've ever heard. It's ridiculous!

Cyia
03-25-2010, 07:57 AM
Why? Corn can fuel cars.

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 07:59 AM
it can?!

Lyra Jean
03-25-2010, 08:00 AM
spice fuels spaceships? That has got to be the dumbest thing I've ever heard. It's ridiculous!

It's not really spice it's worm poop. But people want something exotic and worm poop just doesn't sound quite as fascinating.

Gasoline is just really dead plants. Sorta.

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 08:02 AM
by spice, I assume something like salt and pepper

Cyia
03-25-2010, 08:02 AM
Corn can be refined into ethanol, which can be used as fuel. There's no reason that you can't establish a world where a certain spice can be refined into rocket fuel. (Though, in the case of Dune, it's more an animal by-product.)

Do some checking on how many inventions have been brought about as a result of concepts designed for science fiction. Things like cloaking devices sound like pure fiction, but you can make something similar with LCD screens that project what's behind a solid object in front of it, rendering it invisible.

Polenth
03-25-2010, 08:03 AM
Why are you continuing to destroy my dreams? Why? Why? :cry::tongue

...and then we move on to the rabbits in Watership Down.

;)

Cyia
03-25-2010, 08:04 AM
...and then we move on to the rabbits in Watership Down.

;)

Those you can destroy and cook in a stew. I hate those waskily wabbits.

Lyra Jean
03-25-2010, 08:05 AM
by spice, I assume something like salt and pepper

To get real technical salt is a rock and pepper is a spice.

Lyra Jean
03-25-2010, 08:07 AM
Those you can destroy and cook in a stew. I hate those waskily wabbits.

I have a cookbook with rabbit recipes in it.

Birol
03-25-2010, 08:18 AM
by spice, I assume something like salt and pepper

I take it you've never read Dune?

On one hand, it meets your definition of science fiction. It's set on other planets and has spaceships. On the other hand, it meets your definition of fantasy. It has a lot of things in it that aren't real -- giant worms, space travel, planets that don't really exist, governments that never were and never will be. But because it is true, it endures, even beyond the life of its author.

Slushie
03-25-2010, 08:20 AM
by spice, I assume something like salt and pepper

See, and I assumed spice meant this kind of salt and pepper (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sdr92NTUqf0).

There is not truth, only our perception of reality.

The world is a dark and chaotic place, a place where fiction brings truth and order.

Real life follows no plot structure.

Conflict never resolves, only morphs continuously from one life to the next.

There are no answers, only more questions.

God is a woman.



Mind = blown

whoa. . .

Dawnstorm
03-25-2010, 11:11 AM
How different is the spice that fuels spaceships in Dune than the fairy dust in Peter Pan? None, because it's all fiction.

Off topic, I know, and it's been decades since I read Dune, but isn't the Spice a psychoactive drug that allows the navigators (a prestige class) to navigate the space ships (among other - mostly religious - uses)? It's not fuel, is it?


It can?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_fuel for a quick overview.

I once saw a documentary about a taxi driver in Berlin who collects fast food grease from various chains and sausage stands, processes it, and runs his Taxi on it (with an adapted motor). He said his customers often notice a rather unusual smell...

dpaterso
03-25-2010, 11:44 AM
Off topic, I know, and it's been decades since I read Dune, but isn't the Spice a psychoactive drug that allows the navigators (a prestige class) to navigate the space ships (among other - mostly religious - uses)? It's not fuel, is it?
Methinks you're right. Taking high doses of melange allowed Spacing Guild navigators to see the future so they could steer ships safely through hyperspace (or whatever dangerous FTL medium their ships traveled in). DUNE the movie gave some BS exposition about "folding space." I don't remember fuel being a by-product of the spice either, but the Fremen used it in all kinds of ways integral to their lifestyle, e.g. fabrics, food additives, explosives (I think), alcohol.

-Derek

Birol
03-25-2010, 03:53 PM
Off topic, I know, and it's been decades since I read Dune, but isn't the Spice a psychoactive drug that allows the navigators (a prestige class) to navigate the space ships (among other - mostly religious - uses)? It's not fuel, is it?

Correct.


Methinks you're right. Taking high doses of melange allowed Spacing Guild navigators to see the future so they could steer ships safely through hyperspace (or whatever dangerous FTL medium their ships traveled in). DUNE the movie gave some BS exposition about "folding space." I don't remember fuel being a by-product of the spice either, but the Fremen used it in all kinds of ways integral to their lifestyle, e.g. fabrics, food additives, explosives (I think), alcohol.

-Derek

Fremen used it most for religious practices like others and as food additives. When it came to explosives and spice, the explosives weren't made from spice but the spice patches were rigged with explosives because "he who can destroy a thing, controls it." [IIRC, anyway, it's been awhile since I read it, too.]

shaldna
03-25-2010, 04:13 PM
Let me put it this way, I'm a fact-guy. That is, I don't believe in anything that isn't real: ghosts and spirits,, alternate dimensions, aliens, magic, mythical creatures and beings, talking animals, angels and demons, heaven and hell, souls, landmarks and cities on Earth that don't exist, or even reincarnation.

Yet I see a lot of this in fiction, television, videogames, and music videos. I even see fictional books, videogames, movies, and tv shows in fiction, television, videogames, and music videos.

Why do the producers and authors of fiction incorporate this stuff into their works if it isn't real in real life? What's the point?


I live in Ireland where the vast majority of the population believes in at least half of what you mentioned.

shaldna
03-25-2010, 04:23 PM
DwayneA, you are messing with us. I don't resent you for it, but I call bullshit.


I think he may be drunk.

shaldna
03-25-2010, 04:24 PM
Stuart Little, Charlotte's Web, Harry Potter, James and the Giant Peach, the Wednesday Witch, Pinnochio, and the Jungle Book are all children's books.


And they were all fantasy

seun
03-25-2010, 04:41 PM
As a Fantasy writer, I'm staying right the fuck out of this thread before my brain explodes out of my ears.

Phaeal
03-25-2010, 05:41 PM
No, no, please! Don't stop! I can get $50.00 a pound for troll poop, and this thread is making me RICH!!!

(Damn, where's my shovel? Freakin' leprechauns...)

dpaterso
03-25-2010, 05:50 PM
IF YOU HAVEN'T NOTICED, Birol has been moving the most sarcastic and the most irrelevant posts out of this thread and into the Landfill (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=122742&page=95). Don't waste your breath (or wear down your typing fingers) with witticisms. Or make more work for your poor overworked moderators.

-Derek

Mr Flibble
03-25-2010, 06:04 PM
*puts on serious hat*

I read and write fantasy because....I like it? Okay well it's more than that. As someone said upthread, fantasy allows us to safely explore an issue that may be very contentious if we were to set it here.

Even if I did set it here, it would still be fiction ( made up). If it wasn't made up it wouldn't be fiction and that goes for all genres even ones with no fantastical elements. Fictional characters don't exist in real life either, but you find them in pretty much every work of fiction. So if the people don't exist in real life, why the problem with everything else?

Plus the mind can and does conceive of more things than actually exist, and I love to see what weird and wonderful stuff lives in the authors head. Should we stifle our imagination just because 'it doesn't exist'?


But the main reason I write fantasy is cos I like to blow people up with fireballs and if I did that in real life I'd get arrested. ( sorry, the seriousness potion only lasts for five minutes)

Terie
03-25-2010, 06:44 PM
See my avatar? That's the cover of the first book in my YA FANTASY SERIES.

I think the problem, Dwayne, is that you're confusing 'age groups' with 'genres'. 'Children's' is an age group. 'Young adult' is an age group. 'Adult' is an age group.

'Fantasy' is a genre. There are fantasy books for children, YA, and adults.

'Western' is a genre. There are westerns for children, YA, and adults.

'Sports' is a genre. There are sports books for children, YA, and adults.

And so on.

Most libraries group children's books of all genres in one place, divided by 'fiction' and 'nonfiction', and maybe also by age...that is, picture books in one place, early readers in another, and middle grade in yet another.

Most libraries group YA books of all genres in one place, again divided only by 'fiction' and 'nonfiction'.

Some libraries group all adult fiction in one place, some divide out the major genres, such as SF/F ('science fiction and fantasy'), westerns, crime, and so on.

I hope this helps. But please don't try to tell me that there's no such thing as YA fantasy. Because I've got four published books of it to my name. :)

BenPanced
03-25-2010, 06:52 PM
It's not really spice it's worm poop. But people want something exotic and worm poop just doesn't sound quite as fascinating.

Gasoline is just really dead plants. Sorta.

And dead dinosaurs.

amergina
03-25-2010, 07:08 PM
Fantasy tends to be stories that include the impossible or improbable, set in the past up to the present.

Science Fiction tends to be stories that include the impossible or improbable, set in the present and into the future.

The impossible and improbable in fantasy tends to magical or religious in nature.

The impossible and improbably in science fiction tends to be pseudo-scientific in nature. It is often based off actual science, but there's some hand-waving and leaps in logic between the actual science and the projected future science. (i.e., the author makes stuff up).

But to throw some confusion into the mix, there are fantasy novels that contain no magic. But they're fantasy because they don't take place on Earth, but on some other Earth-like world.

And there are science fiction novels that don't have any future high-tech but are science fiction novels because they take place on Earth in the future.

And then there are science-fantasy novels that straddle the fuzzy gap between the two genres and blow raspberries at anyone trying to concretely define either genre.

willietheshakes
03-25-2010, 07:42 PM
And there are science fiction novels that don't have any future high-tech but are science fiction novels because they take place on Earth in the future.


Or in an imagined, alternative past. *cough*steampunk*cough*

RemusShepherd
03-25-2010, 07:54 PM
Why do the producers and authors of fiction incorporate this stuff into their works if it isn't real in real life? What's the point?

Because the human brain works via symbolism, so symbolic narratives often elicit a stronger emotional response than realism.

Write a story about a man who goes mad every night and kills people. Okay, ho hum. Now make that man a werewolf. Then you bring in our innate fear of nature and our own animal instincts, and make his madness more believable because the man has undergone a physical transformation to match his mental one. The story becomes much more vivid and compelling.

Now, some symbols have been overused to the point that it's no longer clear what emotional connotations they are meant to communicate. Vampires are an example. The original vampire symbology was that of decadence, evil, and a chaste, frustrated sensuality. Most of that symbolism has been lost by writers who are using vampires any way they please. A good writer might warp the symbol to mean something else and make the reader understand the new symbolism. A bad writer will just coop the symbolic trappings with no appreciation for their actual power.

It's all about symbols, myth, and how the human mind works. Writing is hacking the human linguistic system, in order to rewire the brain. Symbols form a pre-compiled library, shared throughout the species, that makes that job easier.

maxmordon
03-25-2010, 07:59 PM
About Dune, I read it a while ago as well and I never completely understood what the spice did for the spaceships, excuse me for that.

Sevvy
03-25-2010, 08:35 PM
As a Fantasy writer, I'm staying right the fuck out of this thread before my brain explodes out of my ears.

At least he didn't post it in the Sci-fi/Fantasy forum.

But because I love thinking about this kind of stuff, I'm gonna actually take a stab at answering the question in a serious manner. I think that most authors have their own reasons, but mine is wonder and imagination. I mean, the stuff that human beings dream of, the things we've accomplished, our ability to believe is absolutely astounding. We can fly to the freaking moon, people, and we were even born with wings. I think the speculative fiction genre is, in a way, an acknowledgment and celebration of humanity's better virtues. That's not all it is, but I think it's a part of it.

Another reason I love writing about stuff that isn't real is because, for me, it's so much more interesting. I love the what-if scenario (comes from being a biologist, I imagine). That's what real science is all about, after all. What if we could build a ship that would fly us to the moon? And then we did.

And yeah, maybe unicorns aren't real. But I think there's a part of us that hopes they are, because it makes our world just that much more fantastic. I mean, people must want to believe there is something out there, given how many of us affiliate ourselves with a belief system of some kind.

Some people find their truth through realistic fiction. Other people touch that thing we call True through dragons and magic.

Cyia
03-25-2010, 08:47 PM
And for some people it's therapy. Look at something like Lord of the Rings - Tolkein put a lot of his experiences from WWII into that story. Horrors like a sea of dead bodies drowned beneath a hard rain became the bog full of undead soldiers, staring up with open/lifeless eyes.

That's a real horror, turned into an illustration of something horrifying. It doesn't matter that the characters may not be human, their pain is real to the reader.

Sheryl Nantus
03-25-2010, 08:50 PM
I write cotton candy for the mind.

And darn it, I like it!

:D

Jamesaritchie
03-25-2010, 09:02 PM
Let me put it this way, I'm a fact-guy. That is, I don't believe in anything that isn't real: ghosts and spirits,, alternate dimensions, aliens, magic, mythical creatures and beings, talking animals, angels and demons, heaven and hell, souls, landmarks and cities on Earth that don't exist, or even reincarnation.

Yet I see a lot of this in fiction, television, videogames, and music videos. I even see fictional books, videogames, movies, and tv shows in fiction, television, videogames, and music videos.

Why do the producers and authors of fiction incorporate this stuff into their works if it isn't real in real life? What's the point?

You do realize that with your belief, you must also believe that you know everything that is real, and everything that isn't. This would make you both the wisest and most intelligent person who ever lived.

And, or course, whether all the other things your mention are real or not is open for debate, but alternate dimensions are real, if you believe the best scientists we have.

But metaphor is without doubt real, so surely you believe in it?

Phaeal
03-25-2010, 09:04 PM
On a more serious note, people love to believe in what they cannot see or otherwise prove to exist. This trait keeps not only SFF writers in business, but organized religions, politicians and lots of "reality" shows.

The difference is in how long and how tenaciously people suspend disbelief. You will cling most strongly to what you want to believe, or to those beliefs that best serve your purpose. A reader can happily suspend disbelief in zombies for the length of a short story or novel but resume disbelief when he puts the book down. Others who believe the world is only 10,000 years old can retain that belief in the face of overwhelming evidence.

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 10:04 PM
so what you're saying is that people prefer to read about stuff that isn't real than things that are real? People prefer the imaginary over reality? People would rather read fantasy and science fiction over pure young adult fiction?

Cyia
03-25-2010, 10:08 PM
People have different preferences, Dwayne. And right now, the most popular genre of YA is fantasy.

Yes, a lot of people prefer to read something that's not real. It makes them forget about their real problems.

Terie
03-25-2010, 10:09 PM
so what you're saying is that people prefer to read about stuff that isn't real than things that are real? People prefer the imaginary over reality? People would rather read fantasy and science fiction over pure young adult fiction?

If people didn't want to read it, it wouldn't get published. Who do you think buys the stuff, if not people who want to read it? :) There are all the different genres because people like different things.

There are people who read only nonfiction. There are people who read only fiction. There are people who read both.

It takes all kinds to make the world go around.

Marian Perera
03-25-2010, 10:24 PM
People prefer the imaginary over reality?

People prefer dessert over steak?

Different people like different things, Dwayne.

Mr Flibble
03-25-2010, 10:26 PM
When I want something imaginary I read fiction ( with or without fantasy elements)

When I want cold hard facts I read non-fiction.

And yes some people prefer fantasy as a genre to mainstream. It's all still imaginary, though any fiction book incorporates some things that can / have happened or things that can / might exist.

Bubastes
03-25-2010, 10:31 PM
so what you're saying is that people prefer to read about stuff that isn't real than things that are real? People prefer the imaginary over reality? People would rather read fantasy and science fiction over pure young adult fiction?

How is "pure young adult fiction" (whatever that means) any less real than fantasy and science fiction? They're all imaginary.

SaraP
03-25-2010, 10:44 PM
so what you're saying is that people prefer to read about stuff that isn't real than things that are real? People prefer the imaginary over reality? People would rather read fantasy and science fiction over pure young adult fiction?

Fantasy is everywhere and people have always reacted to it in a positive way. If reality is all they wanted there would be no paintings, only photographs; no movies, only documentaries; no magicians, only reporters.

I enjoy fantasy because of all the places I can go to inside my head. If I want reality I just go outside.
I write fantasy because I want to take others to the places I've been inside my head. Whether they want to go there is up to them, but at least I've given them the ticket.

DwayneA
03-25-2010, 10:49 PM
pure young adult fiction could have "actually happened" in real life.

Stew21
03-25-2010, 10:51 PM
so what you're saying is that people prefer to read about stuff that isn't real than things that are real? People prefer the imaginary over reality? People would rather read fantasy and science fiction over pure young adult fiction?


you're using too broad a brush to paint this, Dwayne.

SOME people prefer to read fantasy and sci-fi. SOME peope like to explore speculative ideas in their writing either because it is a way from them to escape reality or the fantastical elements can make societal commentary more palatable.

Making the characters and their world or situation feel real is the craft of writing fiction at it's finest. Having something unreal speak to people in a very personal way is an art.

SOME people, perhaps you, don't like reading books with those elements. They prefer reality based fiction (court room drama for example). These genres are no more impure a YA or adult commercial fiction book than To Kill A Mockingbird is pure reality driven fiction.

If you don't like to read it, you don't have to. But it is a legitimate and popular kind of fiction.

veinglory
03-25-2010, 10:51 PM
Dwayne. You have had your answer, expressed various different ways. If you don't want to accept it, hearing it expressed a dozen more ways won't help.

Stew21
03-25-2010, 10:51 PM
pure young adult fiction could have "actually happened" in real life.


You need to stop referring to "actually have happened in real life" fiction and PURE fiction.

It's all fiction. There is no PURITY about it.

Perks
03-25-2010, 10:54 PM
pure young adult fiction could have "actually happened" in real life.
So what? Why is this better than ghosts? Why? What difference does it make?

It doesn't matter that one could have been a real life scenario and one couldn't. It makes not one whit of difference. The fact is, they both didn't happen and the reader will take away what interest, analogy, metaphor, humor, tragedy, etc. was depicted in the fiction - if it was well told.

Stew21
03-25-2010, 10:57 PM
^^^^


that.

Wiskel
03-25-2010, 10:57 PM
Hi Dwayne,

Here's a serious attempt to answer your questions. I'll keep it personal to me but this might generalise to a lot of people who enjoy fantasy books.

I read factual books because a lot of them help me learn things that make me better at my job. This is a good thing but i don't always enjoy reading these books.

I read fiction in my spare time because I enjoy reading.
I enjoy reading because it makes me think.

Now, the complicated bit. Some of the theories of Asperger's syndrome suggest that people with it prefer things that are logical and make sense. Often, they prefer things that are comfortable and that they've encountered before over new things.

A lot of people prefer things that are new and different to things they've encountered before. I do. For pleasure, I'd rather think about something fantastic and new than something mundane. I can't explain this to you. I doubt anyone can. This is something you'll just have to accept as a fact. Daydreaming about things that aren't real is enjoyable to many of us.

I write fiction, especially "fantasy" because I find the time spent imagining what I could write to be much more enjoyable than researching facts to write about. I would rather sit and daydream than research. If you're different then I won't be able to explain why.

As some people have already said, fantasy books are often about real things but use unreal characters and situations to tell the story. Some people with Asperger's syndrome might struggle to see why Animal Farm is really a story about human nature because it has talking animals in it instead of humans. If you can't see this yourself then trust us, Animal Farm is a book about greed and corruption, and those are very real even if talking animals aren't.

One of your errors in this thread is using very narrow definitions of genres and age groups. The purpose of classifications is often to provide people with a quick way of communicating something. It's much easier for me to tell someone "I like fantasy books" than to have to list books I've liked. Usually that's enough information for them to understand what I mean.

If you work in a library, the purpose of the classification system there is to help people. It helps them know where to find a book they're looking for, and it also helps people find books that are similar to ones they've liked before. It's not an exact science. It's a flawed system. It's probably the best way though. That's why Harry potter, for example, can be put in a lot of different catagories. People who like fantasy books might like it. People who are looking for young adult books might like it.

Unfortuately, Dwayne, sometimes the answer to a question will be that "We're all different." Not everything can be explained.

Craig

Sheryl Nantus
03-25-2010, 10:57 PM
pure young adult fiction could have "actually happened" in real life.

dude, you're not getting it.

I think it's time for you to sit back and either read the responses, or walk away.

dissing fantasy authors to make yourself feel better isn't the way to go.

;)

SaraP
03-25-2010, 10:57 PM
pure young adult fiction could have "actually happened" in real life.

Dragons and unicorns could have "actually happened" in real life too.

Perks
03-25-2010, 11:01 PM
And Stew, dpaterson, Birol, and company,

Please do not lock this ridiculous thread until Dwayne makes an attempt to answer my questions. He's demanded answer after answer, twisting us into further convolutions of his own unique and extremely specific logic. We tried it his way. Let him try to accommodate us. I'd be fascinated.

Please.

Lyra Jean
03-25-2010, 11:01 PM
so what you're saying is that people prefer to read about stuff that isn't real than things that are real? People prefer the imaginary over reality? People would rather read fantasy and science fiction over pure young adult fiction?

I do yes. I can't speak for anyone else.

Bubastes
03-25-2010, 11:03 PM
You need to stop referring to "actually have happened in real life" fiction and PURE fiction.

It's all fiction. There is no PURITY about it.

This. It's ALL made up.

Stew21
03-25-2010, 11:04 PM
so what you're saying is that people prefer to read about stuff that isn't real than things that are real? People prefer the imaginary over reality? People would rather read fantasy and science fiction over pure young adult fiction?


One more point, Dwayne.

It doesn't have to be a "PREFER it over" thing. I read many kinds of books. Many people include these kinds of books in a much broader scope of reading material on their bookshelves. We can do both, can't we?

mscelina
03-25-2010, 11:05 PM
Does it matter? Why do you care why people read fantasy? Seriously--what difference could it possibly make to you?

Write your story--write any damn story PLEASE JUST GO WRITE YOUR STORY. Don't worry about the readers. Don't worry about why this works and that doesn't. You'll never learn the answers to ANY of your questions, Dwayne, if you DON'T JUST SIT DOWN AND WRITE THE STORY. Until you have a story, all you are doing is wasting your time and energy sitting around this forum, posting threads that all add up to a big excuse for why Dwayne can't write his story.

You can write a story. I promise. But until you stop looking for the magic potion that will make your story appear like magic on the computer screen, you're not going to make a darn bit of progress on it.

Cyia
03-25-2010, 11:05 PM
Dwayne,

At some point, I think you're going to have to accept that your inability to grasp what people are saying here isn't a matter of preference, but a component of your Aspberger's. You've mentioned it several times, and this seems to be one of the particular hang-ups in its expression where you're concerned.

RemusShepherd
03-25-2010, 11:13 PM
so what you're saying is that people prefer to read about stuff that isn't real than things that are real? People prefer the imaginary over reality? People would rather read fantasy and science fiction over pure young adult fiction?

No. I am not saying that.

I am saying that people want stories that compel them, that trigger subconscious realizations and evoke conscious emotion.

The symbology of fantasy is one tool that can be used to create those effects. And those tools are often more powerful than the literary tools wielded by real life stories or realistic fiction.

tjwriter
03-25-2010, 11:29 PM
Dewayne read and reread this!


...I think the problem, Dwayne, is that you're confusing 'age groups' with 'genres'.

'Children's' is an age group.
'Young adult' is an age group.
'Adult' is an age group.

'Fantasy' is a genre. There are fantasy books for children, YA, and adults.
'Western' is a genre. There are westerns for children, YA, and adults.
'Sports' is a genre. There are sports books for children, YA, and adults.
(As is contemporary, mainstream, literary, suspense, thriller, mystery.)

And so on.

Most libraries group children's books of all genres in one place, divided by 'fiction' and 'nonfiction', and maybe also by age...that is, picture books in one place, early readers in another, and middle grade in yet another.

Most libraries group YA books of all genres in one place, again divided only by 'fiction' and 'nonfiction'.

Some libraries group all adult fiction in one place, some divide out the major genres, such as SF/F ('science fiction and fantasy'), westerns, crime, and so on.

I hope this helps. But please don't try to tell me that there's no such thing as YA fantasy. Because I've got four published books of it to my name. :)

Minor editing by me.

DeleyanLee
03-25-2010, 11:37 PM
Speaking as someone else with Asperger's (undiagnosed, but that's a formality at this point), I totally understand not being able to grasp why someone would be interested in something that I just can't figure out the attraction to. These types of things confound me on a daily basis. I honestly cannot comprehend how someone could possibly want to waste time and effort and money on something so utterly stupid to me.

What saves me from being a complete social outcast is that I've just accepted that people don't like the same things as I do, that people are more than willing to waste their time and effort and money on things so utterly stupid to me. Just like they accept that I waste my time and effort and money on this writing thing, which is so utterly stupid to them.

Accepting that I'll just never understand, that it will always be a puzzle, something to observe and not comment on, has made life easier. And, frankly, more interesting.

dpaterso
03-25-2010, 11:39 PM
And Stew, dpaterson, Birol, and company,

Please do not lock this ridiculous thread until Dwayne makes an attempt to answer my questions. He's demanded answer after answer, twisting us into further convolutions of his own unique and extremely specific logic. We tried it his way. Let him try to accommodate us. I'd be fascinated.

Please.
Heh. This isn't a battle, there is no victory to be won, here (tho' you could be fooled into thinking otherwise, going by the tone of some of the replies). Dwayne isn't obliged to respond to all questions or arguments. All we can really wish for is an appreciation that different readers like different things, literary, genre, factual, fantasy, whatever.

-Derek

Perks
03-25-2010, 11:41 PM
What saves me from being a complete social outcast is that I've just accepted that people don't like the same things as I do, that people are more than willing to waste their time and effort and money on things so utterly stupid to me. Just like they accept that I waste my time and effort and money on this writing thing, which is so utterly stupid to them.



Exactly, DeleyanLee. My sister also has Asperger's and very often the bottom line is that she doesn't have to understand it, she just has to accept that this is way things are. It stops the merry-go-round sometimes.

tjwriter
03-25-2010, 11:42 PM
Accepting that I'll just never understand, that it will always be a puzzle, something to observe and not comment on, has made life easier. And, frankly, more interesting.

Just like I have trouble understanding the amount of money people invest in clothes, shoes, purses, makeup and all sorts of things. It baffles my practical side to no end.

I just shrug my shoulders, say, "Whatever floats your boat," and get on with my life.

Shadow_Ferret
03-25-2010, 11:44 PM
Let me put it this way, I'm a fact-guy. That is, I don't believe in anything that isn't real: ghosts and spirits,, alternate dimensions, aliens, magic, mythical creatures and beings, talking animals, angels and demons, heaven and hell, souls, landmarks and cities on Earth that don't exist, or even reincarnation.

Yet I see a lot of this in fiction, television, videogames, and music videos. I even see fictional books, videogames, movies, and tv shows in fiction, television, videogames, and music videos.

Why do the producers and authors of fiction incorporate this stuff into their works if it isn't real in real life? What's the point?

You know, I've been avoiding this thread. Personally, I think it's a troll comment and nothing more.

But, I have known some people who don't read ANY fiction because it isn't real. I simply can't get my head around that. I have no problem with people who only want facts and truths, but a little escapism never hurt anyone. And it's insulting to keep asking why do we read and write it like we're idiots for liking something that "isn't real."

But if you think about it, ALL fiction is lies. So does Dwayne ONLY read "Scientific American" and "Popular Mechanics?" Does he not read ANY fiction?

Because fiction ISN'T real life. It's made up. None of it is real.

And if the point is that ghosts, werewolves, and vampires should not be written about because they aren't real, well, they WERE real at one time. Mankind believed in the supernatural, in gods, in ghosts, and such. Some still believe in ghosts (ever watch Ghost Hunters on Sci-Fi?).

But all our myths and legends come from people BELIEVING these things. They believed that the sun rotated because of the gods. They believed thunder and lightning came from the gods. They feared the boogie man. Every culture has a vampire legend.

So if you personally don't believe in any of this, that is fine. Don't READ the stories. But don't insult those of us who do write these stories.

I guess it all comes down to imagination. Some of us have one. It's obvious to me that one of us in this thread doesn't.

Perks
03-25-2010, 11:44 PM
Dwayne isn't obliged to respond to all questions or arguments. All we can really wish for is an appreciation that different readers like different things, literary, genre, factual, fantasy, whatever.

-DerekFair enough. Probably a good idea to clue Dwayne in on it, too, then.



I'm not messing with anybody. I'm just asking a question to which I'm seeking an answer and I expect answers.

kuwisdelu
03-25-2010, 11:54 PM
Speaking as someone else with Asperger's (undiagnosed, but that's a formality at this point), I totally understand not being able to grasp why someone would be interested in something that I just can't figure out the attraction to. These types of things confound me on a daily basis. I honestly cannot comprehend how someone could possibly want to waste time and effort and money on something so utterly stupid to me.

What saves me from being a complete social outcast is that I've just accepted that people don't like the same things as I do, that people are more than willing to waste their time and effort and money on things so utterly stupid to me. Just like they accept that I waste my time and effort and money on this writing thing, which is so utterly stupid to them.

Accepting that I'll just never understand, that it will always be a puzzle, something to observe and not comment on, has made life easier. And, frankly, more interesting.


Exactly, DeleyanLee. My sister also has Asperger's and very often the bottom line is that she doesn't have to understand it, she just has to accept that this is way things are. It stops the merry-go-round sometimes.

Another one with Asperger's here. Dwayne, don't try to figure it out. Don't think about it. Just accept it.

I think most people are equally puzzled by people who have utterly esoteric tastes that makes no sense to them. It's just with Asperger's, this seems to happen a lot with pretty common things, and being as stubborn as we are, we seem to expend much more energy in trying to make sense of something that other people would just shrug off and not give a second thought.

roseangel
03-26-2010, 12:18 AM
Just like I have trouble understanding the amount of money people invest in clothes, shoes, purses, makeup and all sorts of things. It baffles my practical side to no end.

I just shrug my shoulders, say, "Whatever floats your boat," and get on with my life.

I don't get it either, it always seems so wasteful to me, why spend money on those things when you don't need them, when you could be spending it on more important things.
Like bills, savings accounts, food, books, etc...

dpaterso
03-26-2010, 12:19 AM
Fair enough. Probably a good idea to clue Dwayne in on it, too, then.
Oh it works both ways, you're not obliged to keep answering. Stepping away (knowing that you already gave it your best shot) is also an option.

-Derek

SaraP
03-26-2010, 12:21 AM
Let me put it this way, I'm a fact-guy. That is, I don't believe in anything that isn't real: ghosts and spirits,, alternate dimensions, aliens, magic, mythical creatures and beings, talking animals, angels and demons, heaven and hell, souls, landmarks and cities on Earth that don't exist, or even reincarnation.

I believe this has been addressed already, but it's still bugging me. Who are you to define what is real? Is real what can be proved with hard evidence? That's plain stupid.

Imagine little beings that travel from people to people and make them sick or a way to make fruit change color or even a power that makes new mountains. A few decades ago this would be fantasy. Now we call it bacteria, the chemical process behind oxidation or the movement of the tectonic plates. They didn't stop being real just because we didn't have a scientific way of explaining them.

Just because we can't measure it, quantify it or even look at it doesn't make it unreal. The world is a changing place, what is real today may not be real tomorrow. We are still creating new countries, discovering new biological species, inventing new ways to measure and and look at the world around us.

Fantasy is simply a way of exploring what if's. Some of them actually do become true.

Shadow_Ferret
03-26-2010, 12:31 AM
Fantasy is simply a way of exploring what if's. Some of them actually do become true.

or Science Fiction becoming Fact! Look at all the stories Isaac Asimov or Arthur C. Clarke wrote that have since become true... some of those stories inspired people to create the technologies based on those stoires. Clarke first postulated about satellites in geosynchronous orbits. Look at the old pulp stories about rockets to the moon. Pure Make-Believe at the time. Now it's a fact, Man has reached the moon.

Phaeal
03-26-2010, 01:00 AM
And if the point is that ghosts, werewolves, and vampires should not be written about because they aren't real, well, they WERE real at one time. Mankind believed in the supernatural, in gods, in ghosts, and such. Some still believe in ghosts (ever watch Ghost Hunters on Sci-Fi?).

That's SYFY these days, because, you know, that makes all the difference. ;)

HOWEVER, ghosts are real!!! You should see how my EMF detector's going off right now! Not to mention all those EVPs I collected the other night. If a spectral "Where's my socks?" doesn't convince you, well, you're just beyond hope.

DwayneA
03-26-2010, 01:13 AM
when I was a kid, I used to believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. I actually used to leave out milk and cookies for santa and a big fat carrot for the Easter Bunny.

Of course, I don't anymore. Why? Because it turns out that mom and dad were the ones leaving the presents in stockings and under the tree, and leaving candy in the baskets and hiding the eggs.

Yet they encourage the lies upon their grandchildren. Just a few years ago, everyone got mad at me because I told my two neices there was no Santa Claus. Better for them to find out from me than from their parents years from now and realizing they've been lied to.

Cranky
03-26-2010, 01:16 AM
Not everyone prefers 100% factual accuracy all of the time, Dwayne. I lie to my kids about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Worse still, my older two collaborate with me on it. They found out it was bogus and couldn't have cared less. It was FUN. Which is what fiction does. It entertains people. Some folks prefer non-fiction for their fun, which is a-okay with me. Others prefer tales of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Or vampires, werewolves, and faster-than-light travel.

Shadow_Ferret
03-26-2010, 01:18 AM
Sorry, but Santa Claus exists.


That's SYFY these days, because, you know, that makes all the difference. ;)

I refuse to ever type SyFy, except right then.

Cyia
03-26-2010, 01:19 AM
Most kids who believe in Santa figure out the "secret" on their own. (And Santa was based on a real guy)

Not all kids believe in Santa Claus - I never did because my dad didn't believe in lying about it, either. It didn't set well with my grandparents, but it didn't scar me for life... and now I write fantasy.

Most people consider Santa a harmless tradition.

Either way, writing fiction isn't the same thing. People pick up a fictional story KNOWING that what's written isn't true. It's not a lie, it's "make believe", like acting.

Shadow_Ferret
03-26-2010, 01:25 AM
It's called "a willing suspension of belief."

If you can't do that, if you aren't willing, then you probably can't read or watch most fiction.

But don't berate those of us who can and who enjoy fiction, either reading it or writing it.

willietheshakes
03-26-2010, 01:31 AM
But if you think about it, ALL fiction is lies. So does Dwayne ONLY read "Scientific American" and "Popular Mechanics?" Does he not read ANY fiction?

Because fiction ISN'T real life. It's made up. None of it is real.


I made exactly this point 23 hours and 6 pages ago.

Shadow_Ferret
03-26-2010, 01:33 AM
I made exactly this point 23 hours and 6 pages ago.

It needed reiteration.

And I never claimed to have read the entire thread. In fact, as I stated, I had tried to AVOID it.

But no, now I got sucked in.

dpaterso
03-26-2010, 01:34 AM
Yet they encourage the lies upon their grandchildren. Just a few years ago, everyone got mad at me because I told my two neices there was no Santa Claus. Better for them to find out from me than from their parents years from now and realizing they've been lied to.
If your nieces were under 18, it's really up to their parents to decide what to tell them. Parents have a God-given right to screw with their kids' heads.

-Derek

willietheshakes
03-26-2010, 01:36 AM
If your nieces were under 18, it's really up to their parents to decide what to tell them. Parents have a God-given right to screw with their kids' heads.

-Derek

Dammit, mod or not, keep your God out of this "belief in things that aren't real" thread!!!

;)

SaraP
03-26-2010, 01:40 AM
Just a few years ago, everyone got mad at me because I told my two neices there was no Santa Claus. Better for them to find out from me than from their parents years from now and realizing they've been lied to.

Better for who? Your nieces? How do you know what is better for them?

I agree with the point that people buy into fiction knowing it is a lie, which is part of what makes it so much fun. Reality can be fun as well, of course, but people have always enjoyed the imaginary. Story-telling, tales, acting, myth, these are as old as the human race.

Tepelus
03-26-2010, 01:45 AM
And round and round we go!

dpaterso
03-26-2010, 02:01 AM
Dammit, mod or not, keep your God out of this "belief in things that aren't real" thread!!!
Believe it or not I saw the irony as I typed that line! I just didn't know how else to phrase it.


And round and round we go!
I'm pretty much in agreement with this sentiment.

Time this thread got put to bed. Forum mods may decide to re-open later.

Dwayne, read it again from the beginning, all the answers have already been given. It all boils down to personal taste and preference.

-Derek