Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Implausible Truth

The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction is one that has stuck around because it often proves itself to be correct. All of us experience events where the circumstances and solutions that befall us would be categorically rejected if we were presented with the same situation in a story. Yet, we all seem so quick to judge the work of some one's imagination with a dismissive oh that could never happen.

The funny thing about that reaction is that those who say it are not actually seeking a truthful ending. What they really want is a something unexpected and dramatic at the same time. If we were concerned with ending stories with a what would most likely happen in real life, all books would end with the character sitting in front of the television, debating whether or not to pack it in for night or watch one more rerun.
There's a been a steady movement away from reality in most teen fiction these days. Even the so-called contemporary realistic fiction steers away from actuality by imbuing either the characters or setting with a sense of whimsy that is never found in real life. There's nothing wrong with that. I've been guilty of it myself. We want fantasy in our stories because we enjoy the escapism offered in books. The only thing that worries me is when there is a bit of actual reality that seeps in, it's written off as implausible or anti-climatic. But sometimes that's how life goes, and sometimes that's the way a story should end. 

In my opinion, if your dealing with tough situations that real people face, it does everyone a disservice to dress it up too much.

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