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Reality in Fiction

Realty isn’t so simple.  A lot of time is spent on making decisions, neither of which is clearly the “right” one.  Most of the time when someone opens one door, they close another, and there is a certain amount of regret when that door is closed.  Sometimes fiction makes choices far too easy.  There is always a right choice, and once it is made, the characters can live happily ever after.  This lack of reality can sometimes frustrate me.  But at the same time, if I wanted to read something realistic, I would simply read non-fiction.  The question of how much reality to incorporate in fiction is still very important though.  Fiction can’t be completely unrealistic; it needs elements of reality for us to connect with it.  I just feel fiction allows us to touch upon reality without having it banged over our heads.

I write mostly fantasy.  One of things I like best about fantasy is that characters are often placed against nearly impossible odds, but are given tools to fight those odds.  A skinny, little boy can hold incredible power, enough to combat even the most frightening enemy.  Whereas sometimes in our world, no matter how big or small someone is, impossible odds are often crushing.  This means, I guess, that I love happy endings.  I wish they happened more in real life, but I certainly happily anticipate them in the books I read.  I would feel really disappointed to read a book without a happy ending, but I also don’t want the happy ending to come too easily.

So how do you find the right balance between a fantasy world with a happy ending and reality?  In truth, I’m still not entirely sure.  I guess I just feel that if I read the book and believe the characters struggles, the book has enough reality for me.  What about for you?  How do you know when you’ve found the right balance?

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