So, what IS fiction?

Every time I have to read a story for my extremely tedious fiction II class, I get frustrated when writing commentary at the end of the story. My professor always asks us to explain what makes the story fiction. I’m always sitting there thinking, “well it’s not true, so that makes it fiction.” Fiction=not real.

Fiction’s online definition basically says the same thing, but a lot fancier. It is defined as, “literature in the form of prose, especially short stories and novels, that described imaginary events and people.”

So it isn’t real and also requires the use of the imagination. Dictionary.com defines fiction as a “made-up story.” But then again, parts of nonfiction can also be made up. My professors called this “heavy embellishing.” So if parts of nonfiction can be made up, then therefore, the whole entire fiction story must be made up.

So we’re now at “a story where everything is made up and you have to use your imagination” as our definition.

But how can you relate this definition of fiction back to every single story you read in class? Well if a story has a dragon in it, the answer would be “dragons don’t exist, so that makes it fiction.” But what if the story is actually very realistic? Let’s say it’s a couple going to the coffee shop and they break up while they’re there. This has happened to millions of people. What makes that specific story fiction? In order to answer this question, just like fiction, you will have to make something up.

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