Realistic fiction is writing that, although invented, depicts a completely realistic scenario. Realistic fiction contains believable characters, plot, and settings, and highlights relatable issues for the contemporary reader.

What is Realistic Fiction?

Realistic fiction is writing that, although invented, depicts a completely realistic scenario. Realistic fiction contains believable characters, settings, conflicts, and resolutions. These stories tend to take place in the present or recent past, making it easy for readers to connect to them. Their themes highlight relatable issues for the modern reader. As a result, realistic fiction is usually tied to its contemporary time period by its setting, dialect, technology, and themes.

Realistic fiction has its roots in the Realist movement of the 19th century. Prior to this movement, authors expected a certain dramatic arc to their writing, often forcing a Romantic, unrealistic, or predictable outcome. Language was expected to be literary in quality, having a certain formality and high level of diction. Realism altered literary style by bringing everyday events into the narrative and allowing for realistic characters and plot outcomes, at the expense of dramatic effect. Realist literature also stressed the use of regional dialect and realistic dialogue. Together, these changes formed a basis for the realistic fiction that exists today.

Today’s realistic fiction covers a broad swathe of topics. It contains believable characters who act within our own world, often in specific and identifiable locations. The characters speak using contemporary dialogue, including slang and sentence fragments as most of their readers would. Realistic stories and novels address themes relevant to their readers; these may include stories of self-discovery, coming of age, triumphing against the odds, or fighting for justice regarding a hot-button social issue. The tone of these novels ranges widely. Readers can select humorous, gritty, or romantic stories, for example, based on their own preferences. Such options make realistic fiction an accessible genre of literature and a popular option for readers of all ages and backgrounds.

Realistic Fiction Examples

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