What is fictional writing
Generally speaking, means fictionthat something is only present in the imagination, that is, thought up. In the context of literature means fiction Fiction.
Let's talk about literary texts, let's talk about fiction at the same time. Because fiction means nothing else than Fiction, invention or Educated. And literary texts are precisely fictitious.
In literary studies, therefore, fiction is understood as a basic element of the types of poetry. And the ability to fictionalize, so to be able to invent anything at all, as the basic condition of being able to tell stories.
Fictional texts stand in contrast to non-fictional texts, which relate directly to reality and do not add anything poetically to it. Examples of non-fictional literature are, for example, guides, non-fiction books, scientific texts, newspaper articles, factual reports, but also letters.
Fictional literature, on the other hand, includes all genres of the genres epic, lyric and drama.
Incidentally, precisely because fiction is something conceived or fictitious, it has long been equated with a lie. The great Greek philosopher Plato directly accused poetry of lying. Many people held this opinion for many centuries.
Illustration: Katja Spitzer
It was not until the Renaissance and modern times that people gradually changed their judgment of fictional literature. It was now found that made up stories did not lie because they did not claim that what they were telling was really true. A liar, on the other hand, wants his story to be held true. In order to emphasize this difference between what is imagined and what is lying, one speaks today of fictitious and faked Texts.
Fictitious are texts when the author clearly shows that he invented it. In doing so, he does not claim that the story is really true or that it happened that way, he just pretends that the story could have happened that way.
Faked texts are on the other hand when the author invents something, but still claims that what he is telling really happened that way. For example, if a reporter makes up the facts of his report but claims that the facts are real, he is fabricating his report.
An author of literary texts sometimes claims in the foreword that the story really happened as he describes it. But basically everyone knows that this is not true and that the story is ultimately just a product of their imagination.
Incidentally, fictitious texts are rare. Because either an author really wants to report on things he has seen, as in the report. Or he wants to invent something and not lie, so he wants to tell a fictional story.
But why does an author want to invent stories at all? And why do readers want to read fictional stories at all?
We very likely like invented stories because they can develop things that do not (yet) exist or no longer exist, but still relate to our lives in some way. Fictional stories can use new images to explain life or give it a deeper meaning. And they can bring you closer to alien forms of life and let you play through countless worlds.
The possibility of fiction opens up a free space through which we can perceive our life from a different perspective. As a result, we can not only take a detached, critical or even more sympathetic look at our and other lives. But we can also develop utopias and alternatives to our current life.
For this reason, by the way, in philosophy fiction is also a scientific means of thinking the impossible. The idea of empty space, for example, is a fiction. And although the completely empty space cannot exist in reality, with this fiction the vacuum was discovered and such useful things as the vacuum cleaner or vacuum packaging were invented.
Features of fiction
How does an author of a literary text actually indicate that it is fictional? Or to put it another way: How does the reader know that a text does not really describe what actually happened, but only pretends to?
Most fictional texts differ from non-fictional texts simply by their literary language. What is literary about it is, for example, that their rhythm, sentence order and their terms stand out from normal everyday language. Or that they experiment with different narrative techniques such as inner monologue, changing the narrative perspective or narrative attitude.
You can also recognize a fictitious text by its content.
This is particularly clear with fantastic stories or fairy tales. Neither the narrator nor the listener nor the reader really believe that the story corresponds to reality. Nobody will believe that the protagonist can turn into a donkey, for example, or marry a werewolf or vampire. Not even if it is claimed at the beginning of the book that the story really happened that way. So these stories don't lie either, they fantasize or fabricate a lot more.
In the case of realistic stories that only describe things that could actually have happened that way or that may have happened in a similar way in the past, this is, however, more difficult. Because how can the reader recognize from the content here that the story doesn't really happen that way, but is just an invention?
Actually, mainly because the author identifies the invention or fiction as fiction. He makes this most noticeable (besides the literary language) by assigning his story to a fictional, i.e. made-up genre such as novel, narrative, detective story at the beginning of the text. Or he notices before the story that possible matches between plot and person are purely coincidental.
In addition, the fictional quality of a story can also be recognized by its dramaturgy and staging. Fictional stories are more self-contained or coherent, less fragile than real life. The plot mostly has a red thread, a tension course with highs and lows, the characters move towards a narrative end point according to an internal logic, and the individual motifs and elements of the story mostly make sense overall. In real life, on the other hand, many things happen to you every day that neither influence your own résumé or mean anything to you, nor are exciting enough for a good story.
The most difficult distinction between fictional and non-fictional texts is, however, with realistic stories that want to be believed to be true. This is especially the case with (auto) biographies and diaries. Because here the author does not pretend that this story happened that way, but rather states that it really happened that way. Nevertheless, one can be of the opinion that these stories also belong to fictional rather than non-fictional literature. Because it is very unlikely that the life story of the person described actually happened exactly like that. For example, has the author of a diary or autobiography always been honest with himself? Did he see the situation correctly? And doesn't his memory fool him? You can also ask an author of a biography: Has he researched everything extensively? Did he correctly assess and classify the respective situation? Or was it not perhaps that everything was completely different? Didn't he construct a legible story that didn't even exist?
At this point the literary problem suddenly turns into a philosophical problem. Because now the question arises as to what we can actually recognize or really perceive? Doesn't everything somehow become fiction as soon as we describe it? Or to put it another way: Can we tell something at all without somehow meaningfully connecting the individual events? Isn't this established connection always a bit of an invention? And against that background, aren't all non-fictional texts in reality fictions?
However, these philosophical questions lead too far away from the questions of a literary lexicon. And that's why we leave it to the reader to decide to what extent he considers a text to be fictional, fictitious or real. So to what extent he believes that a story really happened or just pretended to happen.
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