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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An illustration from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, depicting the fictional protagonist, Alice, playing a fantastical game of croquet.

Fiction (Latin: fictum, "created") is a branch of literature which deals, in part or in whole, with temporally contrafactual events (events that are not true at the time of writing). In contrast to this is non-fiction, which deals exclusively in factual events (e.g.: biographies, histories). Semi-fiction is fiction implementing a great deal of non-fiction,[1] e.g. a fictional description based on a true story.


History of fiction

The history of fiction coincides with much of the history of literature, with each genre of fiction having its own origins and development.

Elements of fiction


A character is any person, persona, identity, or entity that exists in a work of art. Characters may be entirely fictional or based upon real, historical entities (see Historical fiction). Characters may be human, supernatural, mythical, divine, animal, or personifications of an abstraction. Characterisation is the process of creating an image of a person in fiction, complete with that person's traits, features, and motivation.[2]


Plot is a sequence of interrelated events arranged to form a causal pattern and achieve an intended effect. It is often designed with a narrative structure or storyline, that includes conflict, rising action, and climax, followed by a falling action and a resolution or dénouement.[3]


Setting, the location and time of a story, is sometimes referred to as story world or to include a context (such as society) beyond the immediate surroundings of the story...[4] In some cases, setting becomes a character itself and can set the tone of a story.[5]


The theme of a story is the point the writer wishes to make, a moral or conceptual distillation of the story often posed as a question or human problem.[6]


Style is not so much what is written, but how it is written. In fiction, style refers to language conventions and literary techniques used to construct a story. The communicative effect created by an author's style is sometimes referred to as the story's voice. Each writer has his or her own unique style, or voice.[7]


Fiction may be classified by various means.

Age group

Fiction may by classified by the age of the intended audience:


Traditionally, fiction includes novels, short stories, fables, fairy tales, plays, poetry, but it now also encompasses films, comic books, and video games.


Fiction may be classified by length:

  • Flash fiction: a work of fewer than 2,000 words (1,000 by some definitions) (around 5 pages)
  • Short story: a work of at least 2,000 words but under 7,500 words (5–25 pages)
  • Novelette: a work of at least 7,500 words but under 17,500 words (25–60 pages)
  • Novella: a work of at least 17,500 words but under 50,000 words (60–170 pages)
  • Novel: a work of 50,000 words or more (more than 170 pages), also see Length of a novel


Uses of fiction

Although fiction may be viewed as a form of entertainment, it has other uses:

Recent issues and trends

  • The Internet has had a major impact on the distribution of fiction, calling into question the feasibility of copyright as a means of ensuring that royalties are paid to copyright holders.
  • Digital libraries such as Project Gutenberg make public domain texts more readily available.
  • The combination of inexpensive home computers and the Internet has led to new forms of fiction, such as interactive computer games or computer-generated comics.
  • Countless forums for fan fiction can be found online, where followers of specific fictional realms create and distribute derivative stories.
  • The Internet is also used for the development of blog fiction, where a story is delivered through a blog either as flash fiction or serialblog, and collaborative fiction, where a story is written sequentially by different authors, or the entire text can be revised by anyone using a wiki.

See also


  1. ^ Whiteman, G.; Phillips, N. (13 December 2006). "The Role of Narrative Fiction and Semi-Fiction in Organizational Studies". ERIM Report Series Research in Management. ISSN 1566-5283. Retrieved 23 Ocotober 2009.  
  2. ^ Polking, 1990, p. 68–9.
  3. ^ Polking, 1990, p. 328–9.
  4. ^ Polking, 1990, p. 420.
  5. ^ Rozelle, 2005, p. 2.
  6. ^ Polking, 1990, p. 482.
  7. ^ Provost, 1988, p. 8



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Quotes about fiction, the type of literature using invented or imaginative writing instead of real facts.


  • Fiction is fact distilled into truth.
  • We live in a world ruled by fictions of every kind - mass merchandising, advertising, politics conducted as a branch of advertising, the instant translation of science and technology into popular imagery, the increasing blurring and intermingling of identities within the realm of consumer goods, the preempting of any free or original imaginative response to experience by the television screen. We live inside an enormous novel. For the writer in particular it is less and less necessary for him to invent the fictional content of his novel. The fiction is already there. The writer's task is to invent the reality.
    • J. G. Ballard, "Introduction" to the French edition (1974) of Crash (1973), reprinted in Re/Search no. 8/9 (1984)
  • Fiction is not imagination. It is what anticipates imagination by giving it the form of reality. This is quite opposite to our own natural tendency which is to anticipate reality by imagining it, or to flee from it by idealizing it. That is why we [Europeans] shall never inhabit true fiction; we are condemned to the imaginary and nostalgia for the future. The American way of life is spontaneously fictional, since it is a transcending of the imaginary in reality.
    • Jean Baudrillard, "Utopia Achieved" in America (1986), trans. Chris Turner, (1988) , ISBN 0860919781, p. 95
  • Every novel is an ideal plane inserted into the realm of reality.
  • Reality is not always probable, or likely. But if you're writing a story, you have to make it as plausible as you can, because if not, the reader's imagination will reject it.
    • Jorge Luis Borges, discussion published in the Columbia Forum and later quoted in Worldwide Laws of Life : 200 Eternal Spiritual Principles (1998) by John Templeton
  • Truth is always strange;
    Stranger than fiction.
  • The truth of art keeps science from becoming inhuman, and the truth of science keeps art from becoming ridiculous.
  • As regards plots I find real life no help at all. Real life seems to have no plots.
    • Ivy Compton-Burnett, "A Conversation Between I. Compton-Burnett and M. Jourdain", in R. Lehmann et al. (eds.) Orion (London: Nicholson & Watson, 1945) vol. 1, p. 2.
  • Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really mere commonplaces of existence. If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the roofs, and peep in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the plannings, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chains of events, working through generations, and leading to the most outre results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable.
  • A plot is about things that happen. A story is about people who behave. To admire a story you must be willing to listen to the people and observe them.
  • To read fiction means to play a game by which we give sense to the immensity of things that happened, are happening, or will happen in the actual world. By reading narrative, we escape the anxiety that attacks us when we try to say something true about the world. This is the consoling function of narrative — the reason people tell stories, and have told stories from the beginning of time.
    • Umberto Eco, Six Walks in the Fictional Woods (1994) Chapter Four: "Possible Woods"
  • The central function of imaginative literature is to make you realize that other people act on moral convictions different from your own.
    • William Empson, Milton's God (1961; repr. London: Chatto & Windus, 1965) p. 261
  • A story with a moral appended is like the bill of a mosquito. It bores you, and then injects a stinging drop to irritate your conscience.
    • O. Henry, "The Gold that Glittered" in Strictly Business (1910)
  • A man once said: Why such reluctance? If you only followed the parables you yourselves would become parables and with that rid of all your daily cares.
    Another said: I bet that is also a parable.
    The first said: You have won.
    The second said: But unfortunately only in parable.
    The first said: No, in reality: in parable you have lost.
    • Franz Kafka, translation by Willa and Edwin Muir reprinted in The Complete Stories, Schocken Books, 1971, ISBN 0805210555
  • True myth may serve for thousands of years as an inexhaustible source of intellectual speculation, religious joy, ethical inquiry, and artistic renewal. The real mystery is not destroyed by reason. The fake one is. You look at it and it vanishes. You look at the Blond Hero — really look — and he turns into a gerbil. But you look at Apollo, and he looks back at you. The poet Rilke looked at a statue of Apollo about fifty years ago, and Apollo spoke to him. "You must change your life," he said. When true myth rises into consciousness, that is always its message. You must change your life.
    • Ursula K. Le Guin, "Myth and Archetype in Science Fiction", Parabola I (4), Fall 1976
  • The artist deals in what cannot be said in words. The artist whose medium is fiction does this in words. The novelist says in words what cannot be said in words.
  • Good books tell the truth, even when they're about things that never have been and never will be. They're truthful in a different way.
    • Stanisław Lem, "Pirx's Tale" in More Tales of Pirx The Pilot (1983)
  • For if the proper study of mankind is man, it is evidently more sensible to occupy yourself with the coherent, substantial and significant creatures of fiction than with the irrational and shadowy figures of real life.
  • Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't.
  • Fiction is like a spider's web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners. Often the attachment is scarcely perceptible.
  • Novels so often provide an anodyne and not an antidote, glide one into torpid slumbers instead of rousing one with a burning brand.

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Up to date as of January 14, 2010

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Bold text FICTION- work maybe based on real people,real events but still fake


See also


Up to date as of January 15, 2010
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Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia has an article on:






From Latin fictionem, accusative of fictio (a making, fashioning, a feigning, a rhetorical or legal fiction) < fingere (to form, mold, shape, devise, feign).




fiction (plural fictions)

  1. Literary type using invented or imaginative writing, instead of real facts, usually written as prose.
    The company’s accounts contained a number of blatant fictions.
    I am a great reader of fiction.
  2. (uncountable) Invention.
    The butler’s account of the crime was pure fiction.



Derived terms

Related terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

External links

  • fiction in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
  • fiction in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911
  • fiction at OneLook® Dictionary Search



From Latin fictionem (nominative of fictio).



fiction f. (plural fictions)

  1. fiction

Related terms

Simple English

Fiction is any literature that is not completely true. It is made up by the author. The opposite of fiction is non-fiction, writing that deals with only true events. Often in a library, part of the library is for fiction books and another part of the library is for non-fiction.

The word fiction comes from the Latin word fictum, which means "created". This is a good way to remember what fiction is- if it has been created or made up by somebody, it is fiction. Fiction can be written or told, or acted on stage, in a movie, on television or radio. Usually the purpose of fiction is to entertain.

However, fiction does not need to be totally made up; often, it has real places or people in it. This is to make it seem real to the reader. Fiction with real people or events in it is sometimes called historical fiction, because it is based on things that happened in history. This type of fiction is written so that we can imagine and understand what it was like when those people were alive.


Parts of fiction


In fiction, there are always characters. There is usually a protagonist, or hero. Sometimes this is a group of people, not one person. You usually support the hero (or heros.) The protagonist has to face some kind of enemy, usually another character called the antagonist. The fight between the protagonist and their enemy is called the conflict.


The story of how the hero faces this enemy is called the plot. There is usually a beginning, climax and ending to the plot.


The climax is the most dangerous and exciting part of the plot. For example, if you were on a rollercoaster, the highest part would be the climax. The climax usually near to the end of the story, because the whole story has been building up to it (rising action). It is the point when the hero looks like they are about to lose, and they are in the greatest danger. After the climax, something usually happens to help the hero win. This is often very hard to predict, so it is a big surprise.


Conflict is very important in fiction. Every work of fiction needs a conflict, or problem. There are five basic types of conflict. In modern times, a new one, "Person vs. Technology", has been used.[1]

Person vs. Self

Person vs. Self is when a character is facing his own fears, confusion or philosophy. Sometimes the character tries to find out who he or she is, and comes to realize it or change it. Sometimes the character struggles to find out what is right or wrong. Although the enemy is inside the character, they can be influenced by outside forces. The struggle of the human being to come to a decision is the base of this type of conflict.

Person vs. person

Person vs. Person is when the hero is fighting another person. There is usually more than one time that the hero meets the enemy. For example, if a child is being bullied, that is person vs. person conflict. An example is the conflict between Judah and Messala in Ben-Hur.

Person vs. Society

Person vs. Society is when the hero's main source of conflict is traditions or ideas. The protagonist is basically fighting what is wrong with the world he lives in. Society itself is often treated as a single character, just as another person is in person vs. person conflict. An example in literature would be Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.

Person vs. Nature

Person vs. Nature is when a character is fighting against forces of nature. Many films focus on this theme. It is also found in stories about trying to survive in places far away from humans, like Jack London's short story "To Build a Fire".

Person vs. Supernatural

Person vs. Supernatural is when a character is battling supernatural forces. Sometimes, this force is inside themselves, it is internal. Such stories are sometimes used to represent or criticize Freud's theory of id vs. superego. Bram Stoker's Dracula is a good example of this, as well as Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and "Christabel" by Samuel Coleridge. It is also very common in comic books.

Person vs. Machine/Technology

Person vs. Machine/Technology places a character against robot forces with "artificial intelligence". I, Robot and the Terminator series are good examples of this conflict.


  1. Bokesch, Laura. "Literary elements" (in English). Retrieved 2008-08-22. 

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